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Magical approach to education empowers young person

Engaging with young people who have been remanded in secure care can be both rewarding and challenging. Most of the young people have had negative experiences of school and education. Many have missed significant chunks of schooling, are behind their peers in educational attainment and have lost confidence in their abilities.

Ann, who manages St Christopher’s Education service, developed a bespoke education package for 17 year-old Peter, a young man who had been in custody. They worried that he had little incentive to engage in training.

She said: “We were confident we could find a way to excite, motivate and challenge Peter. We spent time getting to know him and understanding his interests, skills and aspirations. With his input we built a creative learning programme for him focusing on music, art – and magic! Amongst many directions we took, we tried to imaginatively develop Peter’s interest in card tricks by arranging for a local Magic Circle magician to come in and give him lessons.”

This very unusual direction really boosted Peter’s self-esteem and made him realise that he was able to learn new things. With the team’s support and commitment, Peter has gained a Level 2 qualification in Sports Leadership and is now working towards his Level 3 qualification. And his self-esteem is sky high!

It was the diversity of the learning opportunities and Peter's willingness to try new things that has made this such a success. What started as a challenge to think of ways t engage a young man for 25 hours has led to all sorts of developments and his self-esteem has been raised to new levels He has really settled in, helping in the garden and learning all sorts of new skills. His life is not without challenges, but the sessions have helped him overcome many of them and he has maintained at least an 85% attendance level, something that few believed was possible.
Ann, Education team