We began with three staff, Dom, Liz and Jason, in September 2010. As the number of young people increased we expanded to include Denise, Donna, Joe, Kayleigh and Vannessa. (Donna has since left us, moving on to work with families and young children for the local authority) 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. Respect 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 decision making. 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.
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 has taken charge of our new kitchen and ensures we have the best midday meals of any educational establishment in the county!
As the sports coach 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.
Vannessa is a director of the company as well as our business manager 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.
Respect4us Learning without schooling