After all the blogs by the newbies, I realised I am actually celebrating my one year anniversary at Running Deer this week. Whilst it doesn’t seem on the outside to be a long time, the sheer amount of positive changes in the last year have been staggering.
One year later
We have gone from a teaching team of two to four, our number of case workers has nearly doubled, and the energy and enthusiasm in the staff team is growing and growing. We also have new, permanent students who were with us part time in the summer.
We even have a new classroom dog who has joined Wulf, Willow and Herbie! The school curriculum is also growing, with Level 1 and 2 qualifications from Gateway and ASDAN alongside more traditional GCSEs for the older students, and ASDAN courses and greater opportunity for project-based learning for our younger ones.
We have students in Key Stage 4 studying GCSE History and Psychology along with the core subjects, Level 1 Land-based Studies including Animal Care, Level 2 Applied Science and Technology and ASDAN Certificate of Personal Effectiveness. These optional qualifications give the students a bespoke pathway to follow their interests and pursue their goals.
In PSHE, all students are currently studying a block of work on Positive Relationships developed by the NSPCC, and we are also continuing our No Outsiders work as part of our commitment to diversity and inclusion. We also have some students regularly going climbing, horse riding, or swimming as well!
We have other therapeutic and health and wellbeing interventions too, such as Equine Assisted Learning, with our amazing team of horses now expanded to six. Some students engage in regular Lego Club sessions, and of course we have acres of woodland for mindful reflection as well as practical bushcraft and green woodworking.
Through promoting an individualised curriculum, we see our students shine.
Amongst all of this change is one constant – the dedication that the staff team have to giving the best to our students in order to get the best from them. They nurture and support our young people, giving them the time and space to feel settled and safe, before starting the journey to academic development as well as personal and social successes.
Running Deer feels like a family, and our students respond in the way that any family would.
Yes, they push boundaries and test us, but they also rise to the challenges, make us smile every day, and reward us in ways that can’t be measured. I could not be prouder of what is being achieved at Running Deer.
Here’s to another amazing year!