Hartlepool MP Mike Hill has praised the work of a town academy for people with special needs and disabilities as ‘unique’ and says the Government could learn from them.
Mr Hill paid a visit to Catcote Futures in Warren Road which supports students aged over 19 and lifelong learners who have severe and profound multiple learning difficulties.
It is part of Catcote Academy which also comprises its Catcote Road site for secondary and post-16 students with special educational needs, and a Sixth Form College on the former Brierton School Site.
The Member of Parliament said the Academy is setting standards that others should follow for the quality of its work including helping its students to bridge the gap between school and the world of work.
Mr Hill said: “Catcote Academy is a simply an amazing education provider for Students with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities, and one which is so unique that it truly is setting standards for the rest of the country to follow.
“CEO Alan Chapman and every single member of staff not only do a marvelous job of making sure that every student gets the quality education they deserve, but they all go the extra mile to make sure that experience goes well beyond normal school age and extends into the world of work and supported living.”
Catcote Academy also runs the Catcote Metro Shop in Middleton Grange shopping centre and the Vestry Cafe within Hartlepool Art Gallery where students get invaluable hands-on work experience.
Mr Hill added: “Having visited the main school on Catcote Road last month it was a real pleasure for me to follow that up with a visit to Catcote Futures.”
He hailed Mr Chapman as ‘a true champion and visionary’ saying: “His desire and ambition to provide the best of the best for people with Special Educational Needs (SEN) and challenging behaviour knows no bounds.
“His enthusiasm is reciprocated in the hard work of his staff and the interest academics and experts have rightly shown in the work of the Catcote Academy chain.
“In my opinion the Government would do well to take a close look at the groundbreaking work being carried out here in Hartlepool in SEN learning provision as Catcote truly is a centre of excellence.”