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Leeds City College’s 14+ Academies’ plea for funding as it reaches its 10 year anniversary
Leeds City College’s life-changing alternative provision for school-aged children between the ages of 14 and 16, is urging the government for vital funds as it reaches a milestone anniversary.
The 14+ Academies, often described as a ‘lifeline’ for young people, is celebrating 10 years of supporting students who do not fit into mainstream school for a range of reasons, including mental health struggles, bullying or special educational needs (SEN).
From 13 students in 2013, the demand for places has grown annually and is now oversubscribed, with 240 learners enrolled this year from over 400 applications.
Students at the academies undertake key qualifications, including GCSE English and maths, alongside a technical courses such as engineering, hair and beauty, and hospitality.
Headteacher Niki McKenna said: “We are an outstanding provision and so proud of the work we do with young people. Last week, we celebrated our 10-year anniversary by bringing together past students and their families to celebrate how the 14+ Academies have helped them overcome barriers and achieve fantastic things.
“We’ve had over 1,500 young people come through our doors since 2013, all of whom came in with unique struggles and left with hope, determination and self-belief.
“Since the pandemic, applications to our provision have skyrocketed, and we are doing all we can to try and meet the needs of these young people. Unfortunately, we cannot progress all of our applications because we don’t have the funding to do so.
“We will continue to campaign on this issue so that we can transform the lives of many more young people because we believe each and every one of them deserves a second chance.”
Former student, Daisy Stenhouse, credits the 14+ Academies for ‘turning her life around’. She said: “Before coming to the academies, I was severely bullied and suffered from panic attacks. When I started here the staff supported me and really turned things around.
“I was given individual support from the teachers and went to therapy. Because of this, I was able to build my resilience. At my old school, I was told I wouldn’t pass my maths exam, and I ended up with a grade 5, thanks to the support here. I’ve now completed a T Level course in programming at Leeds City College and am hoping to become an officer in the RAF.”