Launch Adult Learning was started in September 2012 at Monkton CP School after ending its successful contract with Springboard Adult Learning. Springboard offered hook courses such as knitting, beauty and basic skills but did not offer adults the progression opportunities for future career development. Launch was founded to empower adults with the skills needed to start and progress their career journey.
Launch’s mission statement is ‘Community learning in the community for the community’ – providing courses that are relevant for the community.
Building a relationship
38% of children within Monkton CP School are from a Gypsy Traveller community. Monkton School has a unique Gypsy Traveller unit for secondary age pupils based within the primary school; this unit is accessed by young people who would not attend secondary school and therefore their educational journey would normally end.
It’s crucial to build up links with other organisations. Monkton CP School has historically had an excellent relationship with families from this community and it was important that our adult learning project built on this relationship to provide the skills required relevant to what the community wanted.
What does the community want?
As an educator you’ve got to be able to say, ‘What do you want?’ to involve all the generations and families to get the best support possible.
At Launch, we engaged with people – we researched with parents, we looked to see what people needed and we provided venues. We worked with partners to move from the “safe” courses of old to try to evolve a new and relevant curriculum that focused on the learners’ future employment. We think about job potential and family learning and build on successes.
Launch offers CCNSG & CSCS courses which give site safety passports to enable participants to work on refineries – Valero oil refinery is our biggest local employer. We provide literacy support to participants in order to break down any barriers to learning. This course has resulted in over 70% of participants finding employment.
Launch also offers a Foundation Degree in Education and Social Inclusion at Monkton School in the evenings. This is delivered and coordinated by an amazing team headed by Cindy Hunt from the University of Wales, Trinity St David’s. The Foundation degree is a part time course and learners now have the option of completing a further year in order to gain a BA (hons) degree in Education and Inclusion.
Due to the huge success of our Inclusive education degree which has seen over 60 students graduate with a BA hons degree, Launch now offers a second degree course at Monkton School in Youth & Community work. Bellow are photos from Launch's learner awards ceremony.
Kevin’s success story
We have a number of success stories. Kevin, a father of two girls, never learned to read and his ambition was to be able to read a bedtime story to his daughters. His employer approached us as he was an excellent worker but they were worried they may have to let him go as he could not carry out his duties fully due to his literacy problems.
After working with Kevin one hour per week, within 6 months he is able to read to a very good standard and was delighted that he was now able to read to his children. His employer has also reported that his work has also improved and due to his confidence increasing they were looking to promote him.
Rose’s success story
Rose is of gypsy/traveller ethnicity and states, “I did have education from age 2 -16 years, but due to lack of family support because of my mum being a lone parent with three children, one being disabled, one on one support wasn't always possible. While at Monkton School I was fortunate to have had fantastic Teachers, who moulded and nurtured me into the person I am today.”
Rose left school in 1993 without any grade c and above GCSEs which unfortunately is statistically common for this minority group in the UK. Rose decided that in order to pursue her dream of becoming a Special Needs teacher, she would need GCSEs at grade C and above. Launch offers these and Rose has so far gained her English and Maths GCSEs.
Through Launch’s Foundation Degree in Education and Social Inclusion at Monkton School, Rose qualified with a BA FIRST CLASS honours in 2015 and completed a Post Grad in ALN in 2016.
“If it was not for the trust I have in you (Kellie Bellmaine), Claire and Shelley, as well as the fact that you offer these courses in a local venue, I would not be studying, as I wouldn’t have had the confidence to start.”
Rose was also nominated by Launch for the Learning and Work Institute’s 2016 Inspire! Adult Learner Awards and won, which was a very proud moment for Rose and Launch.
Claire’s success story
We also have another L&W Institute award winner – Claire Arnold not only won the Learning Progression Award but was the Overall Adult Learner of the Year Award winner in 2015.
Claire had also left school without any qualifications and through her adult education work, decided that she would gain qualifications in order to pursue her dream as a teacher. Claire was one of the first students to study Launch’s inclusive education degree in Monkton School, re-sat GCSEs, and has now completed her PGCE.
Claire ran the first adult education project in Monkton CP School, Springboard and was instrumental in setting up the first degree course. She is currently the teacher in charge of the Gypsy Traveller unit within Monkton CP School.
Kellie Bellmaine originally worked for Citizens Advice Bureau and successfully launched the charity's first Financial Capability project within Pembrokeshire. After the project ended, Kellie took on the role of Coordinator for Launch Adult Learning when Launch began in 2012. Kellie has developed the project so that Launch now write their own accredited courses. The courses offered are based on what the community want and need in order to gain the skills to find employment.
In 2016 Kellie became a magistrate and sits in both criminal and family court, serving the local community.
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