Ayla Estreich, works in our Love to Learn education team as a Learning Mentor support worker. She’s also just started working with our ESOL (English) team too, as a maths teacher (she’s an ex-school teacher). Following the GCSE results (luckily without the A-level debacle) Ayla sprung into action. She supported more than 40 young people to decide what to do next. She explains more:
“In our Love to Learn education team we have seen the impact Covid-19 has had on young people, especially the uncertainty they face on their educational journey. One aspect we have supported them with is their exam results and next steps. I asked the team for referrals for any young people who would require this support.
On GCSE results day I phoned the students of our GCSE Homework Club. I was able to speak to most of them to enquire how they felt about their results and whether they had the grades they needed to move on to the sixth form or college to which they had applied. Fortunately for many of them, this was a day of celebration. Many of them are going on to study A-levels at sixth form at Burntwood, Harris and Ashcroft, to name a few. They had been working hard all year at school and at Club, even when everything moved online. It was brilliant to hear the pride in the voices of their families, who were sharing this moment with them.
For others, this was not the case. They were disappointed with their results, heightened by the fact that they were not even able to sit their exams. They felt they had lost control over their own future. We spoke about their available options, whether it was appealing grades, changing subject choices, or applying to a different school or college altogether. We discussed what they wanted to do, how to do it, and what support they would need from me to succeed.
I also phoned our young people who have learning mentors and Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children (UASC) whom we work with, many of them already studying at college or wanting to start this year. I arranged Zoom meetings in which I assisted them with their college applications. For some, this led to enrolment days at colleges including Croydon, Southwark, and Merton, to which I accompanied them. They are now successfully attending college.
Some challenges were not so easy to resolve. I received casework support from the team to follow up with individuals with more complicated challenges. Together we were able to find a school or college place for these young people.”