A TRAILBLAZING mental health project to help excluded youngsters get back into full time main-stream education spearheaded by Britain's Ocean City social enterprise Beach Schools South West is being backed by the National Lottery.
Beach Schools South West's revolutionary Sea-ing Changes project was launched in Plymouth last year and helped nine children and their families overcome challenges that led to the pupils being excluded or on the verge of exclusion from school.
Every young person who took part in the project returned to full-time, main-stream, education.
The Sea-ing Changes project is an integrated approach through a collaboration between award-winning outdoor learning specialists Beach Schools South West and Artene CIC.
Eligible pupils take part in a six week project where they access learning in the marine environment with a Beach Schools practitioner and are supervised by a clinical mental health specialist lead from Artene.
Families are also involved in the six week project - with five weekly sessions spent on the beach and the final one with a feedback and conclusion session to end.
The Sea-ing Changes project has so far had a 100% success rate in getting excluded children or those on the verge of exclusion back into mainstream education.
It comes as figures show that half of all mental health illnesses start before young people are 14 years old (Public Health England, 2015) and also as a Natural England report for Government Department DEFRA revealed last month that one in 10 children do not regularly spend time outdoors.
Tess Stuber, Director of Beach Schools South West, said: "We are very excited about the success so far of the Sea-ing Changes project. It combines two proven positive outcomes for children - learning in the natural environment and one-on-one clinical support for not only the children themselves but their families too.
"This recent government report showed that huge numbers of children are still not getting into the natural environment let alone to the beach - 83% of children under 16 just don't go there according to these recent figures. Re-engaging with the environment revolutionises the way children see the world in which they live and their place in it.
"Where better to be showing how successful this approach can be to helping children re-engage with the environment and education whilst tacking mental health challenges but in Plymouth, Britain's Ocean City which has a world-class maritime heritage and is also in line to be the UK's first Marine Park."
The National Lottery funding can provide ten eligible families with fully-funded places on the scheme.
For more information or to apply please contact Beach Schools South West on firstname.lastname@example.org
Beach Schools South West has now been running for 6 years and is a local, national and international award-winning Community Interest Company, supported by South West Water, the National Lottery, The Tudor Trust, the Co-Op and The Northbrook Trust.
They are also International Green Apple Environmental Education Ambassadors and have successfully put more than 30,000 children in Devon through outdoor learning: curriculum-linked bespoke sessions on the beach and are at present working with at least six Plymouth schools with very high levels of pupil premium.