Special school post-16 hub opens for business

Exhall Grange Specialist School, Ash Green, Warwickshire has recently opened a new hub for its sixth-form students. 

A former disused building on the school site has been transformed into a bright, airy and modern space which will be used for a range of activities including vocational learning, life skills, work experience and enterprise training. There is also a chill-out area with a pool table for students to relax between lessons. 

To improve the chances of students securing jobs when they leave the school, a Skills for Employment grant from Warwickshire County Council has enabled the development of some new vocational courses to be run at the hub. The courses are certificated by national bodies including BTEC and recognised by employers.

The fifty-plus guests attending the opening were drawn from a range of partner organisations. Guests were welcomed by 18-year old student Lucy, who gave an articulate and passionate speech about how the hub will enable many more young people like herself to develop their confidence and skills and grow as individuals. She spoke about the great journey she had experienced in the past five years as she developed from a very shy year eight student, afraid of examinations, to become an assured young woman about to move onto a performing arts course at a local Further Education college, after she leaves Exhall Grange this summer.

After a tour of the new hub.  where guests saw students making products such as key rings which are sold by the school at markets, and preparing food in the hub kitchen, guests were treated to a buffet lunch prepared by students including quiche, scones, fresh cream strawberry and lemon drizzle cakes.

Warwickshire County Council’s portfolio holder for Education & Learning, Cllr. Colin Hayfield said: “This fantastic new hub will allow students at Exhall Grange to access more opportunities with local employers. I’m delighted the County Council has played a major role in the redevelopment of the building, which will provide support and opportunities for many more students in the coming years.”

Exhall Grange headteacher Christine Marshall said: “By providing opportunities for enrichment, enterprise and employment to supplement the high quality education provided by the school, this hub will play a vital role in enabling students to become well-rounded citizens, able to make a worthwhile contribution to society.”

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