The Polar Re-start Centre

Whitstable

Polar is a multiple resource re-start centre designed to prepare young people for the transition they face when moving to a new school after a change of placement or when moving into the area from another local authority. We also support young people to transition back to their school during and following exclusion or long term absence.

POLAR

PROVIDING OPPORTUNITIES TO LEARN, ACHIEVE AND PREPARE TO RE-START

SUPPORTING CHILDREN IN CARE WHO ARE OUT OF EDUCATION

For multiple reasons, far too many young people in Kent and Medway are out of school for too long. Some young people may have moved to a foster placement in the area and need to change schools, however, there may not be a school place available at the time, or a school may be unwilling to offer
a place.

Negotiations and directions take time, and in the meantime our young people are left “out in the cold”, adding to already long gaps in their education.

Often many weeks may pass before the young person is allocated a school place. This can be a very worrying time for both them and their parent/foster parent. Coupled with moving to a new placement, new people caring for them and living in a strange area, this can put huge additional pressure on a new placement. The foster parents and young person should just be concentrating on settling into their new life together and getting to know each other. This is where the Polar Re-start Centre is able to offer a proactive solution.

HELPING VULNERABLE CHILDREN TRANSITION INTO A NEW SCHOOL

The centre will work with the foster parents, the local authority, social workers, virtual schools and local schools to ensure a timely offer of placement. This will further ensure that the transition is supported in order to offer the best possible chance of success.

A young person starting at the centre will be aware that the Polar Re-start Centre is a stepping stone to their new school and that the centre will fully support them during their transition.

During the time the young person attends the centre, they will complete a learning to learn programme which will fully equip them and their new school staff for their transition to the new school. This will be an individualised programme based on past experiences of education, learning style, personality, strengths and preferences. The young person will be encouraged to share their educational experiences and any concerns they may have about starting at a new school. Where possible, staff will address these concerns directly with the school or through discussion and action plans with the young person.

A learning to learn programme will be offered to the young person where they can start to familiarise themselves again with the expectations of a school day, such as time management, responsibility and the need for organisation and preparation.

When a school place is identified and agreed, the centre will meet with the school and hand over all the information and details of the programmes up to the point they have been completed, including any assessments, an up-to-date profile of the young person, their expectations, aspirations, strengths, preferences, plus any difficulties they may have experienced in the past.

BRIDGING THE GAP IN EDUCATION

  • Personalised programmes to help prepare young people for school

    The re-start programme uses assessment, strategy and support mechanisms to work through the issues that resulted in the exclusion. It will prepare the young person for a fresh start when they return to school.


    The programme uses the exclusion time proactively to work through alternative strategies in order to refocus the young person. Specific individualised programmes will work on areas essential for the young person to master before they are able to fully focus on their education, such as responsibility, expectations, time management, attendance, routine, preparation, organisation, accepting and asking for support when needed and the mastering of alternative strategies to use when needed in order to reduce the risk of issues reoccurring.

    Short term interventions with agreed outcomes are delivered so the young person understands and is in agreement with what they need to do to move forward. Using strategic learning to learn programmes with achievable opportunities to succeed, will help to raise self-esteem and build confidence, therefore placing the young person in a much better position to start to think about long term goals and aspirations.


    It is not possible in most schools for young people to be given the time to truly think about how they feel about a particular experience or issue they have been having, and the behaviour or disengagement that has resulted from it.

  • Giving young people a voice

    The Polar Re-start Centre encourages the young person to have a voice and for that voice to be heard. Parents, carers and all professionals involved with the young person have a part to play in this process and the centre will further support the parent/ carers through signposting or referral to other appropriate services if needed. The network around the young person will be fully supportive and involved in the action plans and the young person will be encouraged to feedback positive aspects of their programme to the school and the network throughout their time at the centre.

HOW DO WE DIFFER FROM A TRADITIONAL PRU?

A PRU by nature is a Pupil Referral Unit and therefore implies that the young person has been referred there to be assessed.

Our Polar Re-start Centre has much more proactive qualities. We are a learning to learn centre, we are teaching young people how to be in the school environment and preparing them for their transition to either their new school or a return to their old school. We do not teach the National Curriculum and each child/young person will have their own individualised programme delivered by experienced staff not only in education but also in many areas of childrens services.

We have mentors who are highly experienced not only in the education system but also in the care system and behaviour management. This is unique because so many young people are sent to schools who do not have the skills or the first idea about the additional pressures and concerns that a looked after child experiences.

With the opening of the new centre, not only will we be trail-blazing a completely new way of supporting young people but we will be in the best possible place to support the looked after child before, during and after their transition. We will be able to forge relationships with virtual schools, local authorities and our local schools based on the information and support we are able to offer them. This in turn will ensure that the young person has the best possible chance of a successful transition.

Director of Education

Toni Reedman
ISP School, Castlewood Farm, 3 Conyer Road, Teynham, ME9 9EA
01795 523900

Chair of Governors

Jacqui Ward
ISP School, Castlewood Farm, 3 Conyer Road, Teynham, ME9 9EA

Proprietor

Jo August - Polaris Community CEO 
Tunstall Court, Gore Court Road, Sittingbourne, ME10 1GL
01795 428097

Tackling the sexual abuse and exploitation of children and young people

CEOP is a command of the National Crime Agency and is dedicated to tackling the sexual abuse and exploitation of children and young people. CEOP helps children and young people under the age of 18 who have been forced or manipulated into taking part, or are being pressured to take part, in sexual activity of any kind. This can be both online and offline. The CEOP Safety Centre offers information and advice for children and young people, parents and carers and professionals. You can visit the CEOP Safety Centre and make a report directly to CEOP by clicking the Click CEOP button.

Online bullying or other online concerns should not be reported to CEOP and children and young people should be directed to speak to an adult they trust, and/or referred to Childline, if they would like to speak to someone about how they are feeling.