Greenfield School and Community Arts College

The Communities for Learning Project

The Communities for Learning project works to strengthen and extend relationships between schools, students, and their surrounding community through a range of interventions including whole-family learning, communal gardening, mentoring, and workplace-based training.

As part of the project, Greenfield School and Community Arts College in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham developed a two-year programme designed to offer an alternative approach to education for young people at risk of failing in school. The ACTIVE programme has involved 18 Year 10 students in a wide range of challenging activities aimed at enhancing their sense of achievement and improving their school attendance.

Key Impacts

•Increased student confidence and motivation, supported by the school’s praise and awards system: some students were thrilled to receive awards for the first time

•Student diaries provide convincing evidence that the programme was enjoyable giving them increased self-esteem and confidence

•Initial evaluation shows that attendance and participation are improving

•Improved behaviour has resulted in 23 exclusions this year, compared to 75 in the same period last year for this student cohort

•Renewed focus and building aspirations for participants – some now plan to sign up for further education/training after leaving school

•Development of student mentoring programme

•Higher levels of parental interest in students learning and positive contributions to evaluation of the first phase and suggestions for improvement for the second phase

•Significant evidence of the school and community using each other as a resource to support learning


“I want to show people they were wrong about me, that I can be a success.”

Rachel, 14

“I started at the bottom but, because I received praise and awards, I started to want to do well and so I worked really hard.”

Jamie, 14