The Switch Ambassador Programme works with secondary school students (known as switch ambassadors) who are at the highest risk of being excluded from school. We help students’ switch their behaviour, choices and attitudes towards learning by improving their self-esteem, resilience and well-being. We do this by:
- creating an environment where switch ambassadors feel listened to and safe
- providing opportunities for switch ambassadors to talk about about things that matter to them
The Switch Ambassador Programme takes place at the students’ school during the school day at pre-established times. Switch ambassadors attend weekly group workshops and 1:1 mentoring sessions for 12 weeks. We produce various outcomes as a result of our programme such as better behaviour, lower exclusion rates and improved attendance.
The group workshops cover various topics like the power of choices and growth mindset vs fixed mindset. Group discussions, team activities, games, videos and written activities are facilitated during the workshops.
The 1:1 mentoring sessions consist of activities which are relevant to the students’ lives, age, experience and interests. The 1:1 mentoring sessions always put the mentees preferences and needs at the centre of the sessions.
We work with students who are at the highest risk of being excluded because there are many negative outcomes that can happen as a result of being excluded from school. For example:
- Being excluded from school is a factor that will increase a young person’s risk of child criminal exploitation (National Crime Agency, 2018).
- Not engaging with school and being excluded are very strong indicators for those who are at risk of involvement in youth violence (Youth Safety Taskforce, 2018).
- An excluded student is four times more likely to be jailed as an adult (The University of Edinburgh, 2016).
- School exclusions make already vulnerable young people more vulnerable, as being excluded leads to a reduction in the number of hours that a student spends in a supervised environment (All-Party Parliamentary Groups, 2019).
See figure 1 which shows the route that an excluded student may go down