We began with three staff, Dom, Liz and Jason, in September 2010. As the number of young people increased we expanded to include Denise, Vannessa, Joe, Paul, Rachael, Tobi and Josh. We are all involved in decision making and we share the same philosophy. We are members of Respect4us because firstly we are committed to the principle that every young person is entitled to an education appropriate to their needs. Secondly, we want to be in control of our own workplace and we want to enjoy what we do. Our rates of pay and hours of work are far less important than the achievement of those aims. Respect4us is a great place to work.
Dom is Chairman of Respect4us CIC. Formerly Assistant Principal at the Open Academy and Heartsease High School, he has been teaching since 1975 and has worked in special education for 20 years. As well as holding the National Professional Qualification for Head Teachers, he has an MA in special educational needs from the University of East Anglia and has co-ordinated a number of research projects with the Norwich Area Schools’ Consortium and the UEA resulting in published work on pupil disaffection. He has worked with Liz Easton and others at the Open Academy, Heartsease High School and the Kett Sixth Form College in creating life skills based KS4 and KS5 curricula. With many years experience as a leader in challenging schools, he has a history of success in engaging students at risk of falling out of the education system.
Liz is Managing Director of Respect4us in charge of day to day management. She
has run a Prince’s Trust XL Club at Heartsease High School and the Open Academy for ten years. Her outstanding work with young people in North-East Norwich has been recognised by the Prince's Trust and the students in her charge have won several national awards. (In 2004 Liz was presented with the East of England Coach of the Year award by HRH The Prince of Wales. Her students have won the National Crimebeat Award following nomination by the High Sheriff and won The Prince’s Trust Food Challenge on two occasions). Liz is qualified in youth work, running Prince’s Trust XL clubs, delivering key skills and has done training courses in child psychology. She is a qualified first aider, minibus driver, supervisor of work experience placements and co-ordinator of educational visits.
Vannessa is our Business Director and Company Secretary. She is the first point of contact at Respect for young people, parents and schools making enquiries. She joined us after working as Senior Administrator at The Open Academy in Norwich. She has worked in schools since 1999 and worked at some point in all the Heartsease Schools as they were. Vannessa has a variety of qualifications including Levels 2 and 3 NVQ and an Advanced Apprenticeship in Business and Administration. She is a qualified Educational Visits Coordinator and first aider.
Jason has day-to-day responsibility for all practical and craft based projects that we do with young people. He is a qualified instructor in Design and Technology and has worked in a number of schools. He loves working on practical projects that engage, interest and enthuse young people. Using his art school training as a means of opening lines of communication with young people who otherwise struggle with learning, his skill is in getting alongside them and winning their confidence and respect. Jason is trained to supervise bike riding, has a BCU 2star (canoeing) qualification and is working towards his instructor's certificate. He has also completed the Team Teach training.
Denise is our child protection officer and special educational needs co-ordinator. She makes sure key information about the needs of our young people is communicated to her co-workers. Her professional qualifications and background are in pre-school learning, SEN and child protection. For the last five years she has worked with challenging young people at secondary school level. During that time she has had training in Prince’s Trust xl club leadership and in delivering the wider key skills. She is also Team Teach trained. As an xl club leader she has been very successful in engaging and motivating young people who are switched off from conventional schooling. Among her achievements has been leading a group to the finals of the Prince’s Trust food challenge. Denise is also responsible for our healthy eating programme and the administration of our OCR qualifications.
As the Sports Co-ordinator at Respect4Us Joe is in charge of physical activities, with the aim of introducing the young people to a range of different outdoor activities, encouraging them to try everything and hopefully to find something they enjoy and will take up in their own time. He has a degree in sports, health and exercise science from the University of East Anglia. A qualified Junior Football Organiser (JFO), he has over the years played a number of sports. He believes passionately that taking part in sports helps to improve not only health but team and social skills giving the chance to meet new people from all walks of life. Sport opens minds as well as developing bodies and keeping them healthy. Joe is a trained swimming lifeguard, has a BCU 2 star (canoeing) qualification and is working towards his instructors certificate.
Rachael works with our young people in the Swaffham Unit. Her first love is the outdoors where as a child she spent many hours sailing on the Broads, watching wildlife and exploring the woods. This was all enhanced through her involvement with the scout and guide movement, as a member and leader. Her love of the outdoors was further encouraged during her 22 years in the Royal Navy. Although in administration she found every opportunity to move her desk outdoors into the mountains or onto the water. Rachael believes that anyone can be inspired and educated in the outdoors, learning new skills without realising they are learning and by having fun.
Rachael is first aid trained, a qualified canoe instructor, archery leader, wild swimmer and teaches bushcraft. Her best asset is her people skills, being able to connect and talk to any age group.
Tobi first came to the attention of Liz and Dom when he entered Year 11 at Heartsease High School and was put into its alternative education programme. When they took a group of young people away to Snowdonia Tobi came along as an extra member of staff and proved to be a major asset. It was then that Tobi says he discovered the work he wanted to do.
On leaving school Tobi got his National Pool Lifeguard Qualification and worked for five years at Norwich Riverside Leisure Centre. When we set up a new outreach provison in Swaffham Tobi became an instructor with Respect4us.
Tobi is a natural leader of young people. Always calm and patient, he has an easy manner with challenging youngsters, is never condescending and understands perfectly where they are coming from. He is expert on defusing confrontational situations. He provides strong leadership, is firm in insisting on high standards of behaviour and has earned the respect of all the young people and his colleagues.
Paul works at Respect4us on Wednesday and Thursday of each week. During the rest of his time he is doing a degree in English at City College Norwich. When he is fully qualified he wants to be a school teacher. He is taking the lead in delivering our literacy programme and is working with Year 11s on their OCR qualifications. Having worked as a night club doorman, Paul is extremely patient, tolerant and very skilled at defusing highly charged situations.
Josh is a professional carpenter working with us for a day a week as part of the Lottery funded "Ideas Factory" project. He is working alongside our young people to help them realise their own designs for products to take to the market place. We are trying to show them how it's possible to be self-employed and to run their own businesses.
The picture shows Josh with the first item produced by our young people - a garden bench.
Respect4us Learning without schooling