A Day in the Life - North Birmingham Education Centre

A Day in the Life - North Birmingham Education Centre

17th March 2022

Join Headteacher James and the Birmingham team as they take us through their day, from before the students arrive to after they have gone home!

This is our plan for today! Each morning we make sure the order of lessons from the timetable is on display, so our students know what will be coming that day. This is especially helpful for students who thrive on routine and predictability, and if there is any change in the lessons that day, we can simply swap the subject names around.

Before the students arrive, though, we always pray and read the Bible together as a staff team. Today we looked at Psalm 23, which was really helpful.

We get the laptops set up for each student with their independent reading ready for them. Sometimes they sit down and get on-task straight away; sometimes they prefer a softer start, with toast, tea, and a chat before starting their learning. For many students, challenging home lives or past experiences mean that it’s important that we take some time to connect emotionally with them when they arrive so that they know they are in a safe space. Our brains struggle to learn if we feel unsafe so this is vital for our students at TLG.

During Reset (TLG’s unique scheme of work helping students to develop strategies to help them succeed back in mainstream school) we began our new topic on conflict. Today, students learned the basics of what a conflict is and reflected on how well (or not) they currently use a range of strategies. However, we paused the lesson to address some specific issues happening during the lesson. We use our 4 “at TLG we...” statements which underpin our school culture, statements that were agreed with students and staff to remind students of our expectations in a positive, team-oriented way.

Earlier in the day, during Maths, some students were working on one-to-one interventions. One student was working on telling the time and others were working independently on tasks assigned by the online system based on gaps in their initial and diagnostic assessments from the start of the term. Sometimes the (ACE’s) Adverse Childhood Experiences that our students have faced mean that they have ‘learning gaps’. Their brains may have been so busy ’surviving’ challenging experiences at earlier ages that they were unable to process some of the learning that many of us take for granted.

During English, our students began writing their own short stories, a sequel to the class text we had been reading this term. A lot of our learning across the curriculum centres around a class text, to make the learning more meaningful and create a rich context for their new learning to situate within. It also helps develop a greater love of reading, something which is very important to help student to re-engage in mainstream education after their placement with us.

Throughout the day, students had one-to-one sessions in our breakout room with our fantastic Teaching Assistant. Therapeutic practice and bespoke nurturing support is a huge part of our offer for students at TLG!

Today has been a day of ups and downs. Two of our younger students had a verbal conflict which escalated and calmed at different points in the day, and we found it tough to support them both, and the rest of our students, to learn how to manage this well. It was a valuable learning opportunity though and they made progress towards understanding how to manage conflicts well, but it’s a tough road to travel, both for the students themselves and for the staff supporting them. As huge as these issues seem, we know there is always hope: we can keep making a difference in each young person’s life as we journey with them through their challenges towards a brighter future.


Millie-Rae was supported through one of our Education Centres after a desperate struggle with anxiety.

Read her story here!

James Birchenough

James Birchenough

James is the Headteacher at one of TLG's Education Centres. He is married with 2 young children. He began his teaching career as a primary school teacher in Stoke-on-Trent and has been at TLG since 2016!

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