April 24, 2023

Apricot's Secret Sauce

Apricot is a unique school.  It is filled with passion, eagerness, and devotion.

We sat down with our teachers to talk about what makes Apricot special.  What is the Apricot special ingredient?

“I think they find good people to teach and they encourage and allow us to be innovative – and they trust us.

With Apricot it allows me to operate with my students, not so much the teacher-pupil power gradient, but more of a coach/athlete situation.

Our teaching allows us to operate over a broader emotional bandwidth. We're not just concerned about upping a percentage score. We are allowed to be concerned and work with the young person as a whole.

Some of our kids have pretty much had the short end of a stick.  In our lessons they are still hanging on, still turning up – they are trusting us to work with them.

Within a mainstream school, I remember having to stand up when someone comes into the classroom.  Who is that for? What purpose does that serve?

The kids that we work with we focus on the human-to-human interaction, teach them that it's okay to fail, we can talk about it. Teaching is that they're accepted, they are encouraged.  We are delighted to not see them and focus on their work and hopefully we will hold their confidence for them till they can develop more for themselves.

Teaching genuine education & learning is about healthy therapeutic relationships and helping these kids to relate to themselves and helping them change their view of themselves on where they fit in by the work that they do with us so although they doing different subjects, they are getting I think a fairly consistent approach of the EQ SQ content from different people.

The worry is they go from an environment like ours into the harsh reality of something else and that’s always the rub in that we’re not able to provide that kind of continuity. But we could help them become a bit more resilient – able to cope with change – able to be more secure about themselves. That for me is a far more valuable legacy of gift than getting someone from a grade D to a C or a B.

The thing is in school so much of what we do is because that's how they've always been done and no one no one seems to have the time to question it.  There have been so many times in schools where I'm like, “What and why are we doing this? What is this for? What are we training them for?”

With the pandemic there is an opportunity to really step back and rethink what’s delivered –  what is the purpose of school – what is the purpose of education & learning – and why shouldn't there be a greater variety of service delivery?

Why shouldn't some kids be able to go into a centre or school for DT or PE; but, when they have quite a journey in the morning, why can't they get up a little bit later and do some of the core subjects from the kitchen table?

The secret sauce to Apricot it that we can challenge the norm – provide a targeted education for each child – and bring to the table the best opportunities to provide an education for the benefit of the child and not to tick some boxes.

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