PUPIL REFERRAL UNITS
Theatre ADAD has a long history of working with young people in Pupil Referral Units. Many of the issues covered in our standard programmes have proved to be very appropriate for those young people who are more 'at risk' and vulnerable.
ADAD works with actors / teachers who specialise in work with young people outside Mainstream Education (such as those who have been statemented, excluded, have educational and / or behavioural difficulties and school refusers). The flexibility of ADAD's programmes (the participatory elements), allow sessions to adapt and focus on the issues which are relevant, profound and sensitive for these vulnerable and volatile groups. Likewise, the length of the programmes can be adapted to fit in with a less rigid school timetable and allow for any necessary changes on the day or during the session.
During 2005 - 06, Theatre ADAD undertook 'Play It Straight' a scheme of specialist work in partnership with the Thames Valley Partnership and the Calouste Gulbenkain Foundation. Throughout the academic year, ADAD made four visits to thirteen different Pupil Referral Units across the Thames Valley, each time with a different issue based programme. If you would like to find out more about this scheme of work and the feedback that followed, please go to the Play it Straight evaluation.
Some quotes from the staff who co-ordinated and attended these sessions:
"I have to say that I was very sceptical. I have seen ADAD in the past in mainstream schools and it was brilliant, but I wasn't convinced it would work in this environment, and it does, it is better in fact. So I have been extremely impressed. A very professional group of people."
"The perfomance was extremely powerful, of excellent quality and perfect for our students. The effect on the group was profound, with honest and genuine reactions from all."
"I think the first workshop was probably the most interesting where the three LSU groups were coming together and they didn't know each other and there was a little bit of 'posturing' and 'peacocking' going on out there amongst certain of the children..... I was sort of on tenter hooks, ready to intervene.... but ADAD just handled it beautifully. I mean just the way you want to handle it always, non-confrontational, diffusing situations with humour and getting the kids back on board."
"The work that one young man did, certainly he is an incredibly challenging young man within the unit here, and I watched him be completely focused and completely concentrated for the whole of the session. That is certainly an example of the effect that that kind of work can have. He would have never focused like that for an hour and a half!"
"It encourages students to open up to you if they need to."
"All these people with money need to come here and see the impact it has on our young people, the way it makes them think and the confidence it gives them to say things that I suspect in other circumstances they wouldn't say, things that they would find personally embarrassing."
"I've been teaching for nearly 30 years in schools throughout Milton Keynes and Hertsfordshire, and two of us were discussing yesterday before you arrived, that we reckon that you are the best, by far, of any artistic group, of any sort that we have ever experienced in any school that we have been in... and the way that you engage with the children is just phenomenal, and when you think about the sort of children that we have here, that you keep them enthralled for a whole afternoon and wanting to take part in what you're doing, it's just incredible.""