September - #InnovativeEducation

Throughout September we will be bringing you more info on the many ways that Cheltenham is helping young people get the most out of their education.

Restorative education 

In September more Cheltenham schools begun their journey of restorative practice.

What is restorative practice?

Restorative practice describes a core set of beliefs, principles and a way of being with people that builds and maintains healthy relationships, a sense of community and a shared sense of accountability.

It is about giving high levels of support and challenge to inspire people and communities to feel able to resolve their problems and shape their own futures.

When we work with and alongside people, there is a wealth of evidence that proves doing so can lead to significant and sustained positive change. Restorative practice is a way to be, not a process to follow or a thing to do.

Around Gloucestershire more and more schools are adopting this way of building relationships and resolving conflict.

We spoke to professionals from schools and Gloucestershire County Council to find out more about their journey. 


In 2017 a school contacted Cheltenham Borough Homes (CBH) looking for long term work experience for students who were struggling within the traditional classroom setting and at risk of exclusion. To meet this need CBH’s Employment Initiatives Service created ‘Thrive’, an innovative alternative provision programme aimed at young people providing support to stay in education.

This year the six month programme ran with pupils from All Saints Academy and Pittville School where they completed a range of activities and work placements specially designed for them to achieve their ASDAN Careers and Experiencing Work certificate. The young people attend ‘Thrive’ every Friday instead of their schools, with the first six weeks of the programme covering a variety of topics including first aid, employability skills, future planning and budgeting.

CBH used their relationships with local suppliers including Cheltenham Flooring, Liberty Gas, Ian Williams and Travis Perkins to provide work placements. Travis Perkins also provided funding to the course, enabling CBH to provide bus passes, breakfast and lunch at each session and personal protective equipment for each student to use on their placements. This fund enabled CBH to celebrate the students’ achievements by hosting a graduation event which was attended by their families and our partners.

The placements provide valuable experience and first hand insight into what jobs are available and what they involve – inspiring the young people to look at their career options when leaving school.

To date, the programme has supported 13 young people, with participants going on to further education, apprenticeship and full time employment. None of the young people at risk of exclusion at the beginning of the programme have gone on to be excluded from school.

CBH is now looking to build on the positive relationships they have created with partners to help young people to Thrive.