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North Herts
Education Support Centre


North Herts Alternative Solutions has been providing a service/ educational programme for high needs students in Stevenage and North Herts since September 2012. These high needs students are those who are unable to access educational provision within a group situation either at NHESC or at Brandles.


The young people referred to NHAS have either had difficulty accessing education at NHESC/ Brandles or have been attending an out of county provision due to the extreme nature of their Social Emotional Mental Health Difficulties and are deemed too extreme to access a programme at either school.



The NHAS programme is a highly flexible programme that is designed to meet the needs of extremely complex young people and has the following objectives:

  • Re-engage young people with education. Some of the young people at NHAS have had lengthy periods of non-engagement with any educational process.
  • Provide a one to one education that minimises potential disruption and or provides an environment where anxiety levels can be controlled.
  • Provide a calm environment, which is staffed with adults who can readily relate to young people and provide strong guidance.
  • Design programmes of study that best meet the needs of the young people. These programmes of study address educational as well social issues.
  • Is targeted at key stage 4 young people in the North Herts and Stevenage area. Occasionally key stage 3 young people will be considered if all other options have been exhausted.
  • To prepare the young person for the next phase in their lives.

Initially the teacher and the support worker will visit the young person either in their home or invite them into the NHAS base. The initial aim is to building up a trusting relationship with them and offering a support to engage the young person in a positive educational programme. This may at first be based in the young person’s home and then in the local community, hopefully progressing on to their planned educational provision, be it at NHAS base or with an alternative provider or even into one of the programmes on site at NHESC.

The aim is always to offer the pupil a full timetable however these are young people in with the most complex needs who historically have been unable to access a full timetable. They are young people who cannot access education through a group situation. However our aim is always to work towards a full time timetable.

As this provision is part of NHESC there are direct links with all 6 of our programmes and young people could access any of our groups/curriculum facilities/staff expertise.


The Programme 

The programme helps young people to access education, staff from NHAS will travel to the young person’s home each day, build close relationships with them, bring them to the NHAS school building and support them with accessing as much of the curriculum as they can cope with.  Once they are confident and can be trusted with independent travel, they are given passes or sometimes a taxi to allow for the development of independence skills. If the student makes good progress and their behaviour stabilises they are then encouraged to access the groups onsite at NHESC, as appropriate. This way the young person can access more qualifications and experiences. The NHAS support is always there, if the young person’s behaviour deteriorates then we move them back into the NHAS sessions but the movement between the programmes is always an option.

The central facets of the work of the NHAS staff are centred on: the raising of young person’s self-esteem and developing independence; encouraging young people to work with others; and to develop understanding and tolerance of others’ needs and opinions.

NHAS is highly structured and tightly managed. Whilst the young people are encouraged to develop responsibility for their own actions, there are a range of resources that guide and develop positive behaviour.

Communication between NHAS and home is thorough and proactive. Behavioural and social issues can be addressed quickly and efficiently enabling NHAS and the family the ability to respond in the most productive manner. Information is always dealt with sensitively, by staff who have considerable skills in liaising with families and where necessary the appropriate agencies.

Curriculum planning is designed to meet the needs of the individual pupils, both socially, emotionally, behaviourally and academically.  There is a liaison with other agencies, for example police liaison workers, health care and careers, YOT workers, ARC workers, social workers, alternative providers, psychologists and most importantly of all, the carers and parents of our young people. Young people benefit from individualised teaching or small group work that facilitates strong working relationships that are essential for young people to develop trust and confidence. The experienced staff use a range of behaviour management systems that are tried and approved. All adults work hard to ensure a consistency of approach and a consistency of behaviour expectation.

Please see curriculum Policy for further details.

Young people’ placements at NHAS are often a time for them to relax a little and to take time out of the more structured educational system that is has not worked for them and to gather strength, skills and ideas to help them move forward. We are in a position to give young people the time and space to reflect on new ways of approaching problems and, if necessary, refer them to services that we feel will help them to make a success of their time in compulsory education.


 Monitoring of the Programme

The monitoring of this programme is through the commissioning group, which consists of two Local Authority representatives, the attached EP and the EP manager plus the head teacher of NHESC. These termly meetings there will be the following:

  • Head teachers termly report
  • Head teachers financial up date
  • Policies requiring ratification i.e. the NHAS specific policies
  • Overview of the on roll status of young people on the NHAS programme

An annual report of the programme, including financial information goes to the local authority.

There are also regular case management meetings to monitor the individual pupil programmes, progress and issues.


Referral to the Programme 

See curriculum policy/aims and objectives for ‘The Young Persons Journey’

Young people can be admitted onto the NHAS programme by one of three routes –

  1. Referral from the Independent and Alternative placements coordinator
  2. Referral from the Provision and Placement panels
  3. Referral from the Head Teacher of NHESC

Final decisions about the young people attending this programme will be made at a case management meeting to which the lead educational psychologist in the district and SEN are invited to attend. All referrals must live in Stevenage or North Herts. They must be key stage 4 unless there are exceptional circumstances for a key stage 3 pupil.