Author: neil

Deciding what path to take after leaving school can feel like a massive decision. At R.E.A.L. we pride ourselves in making sure our learners are armed with the knowledge and qualifications to comfortably make this next step.

February marked National Apprenticeship Week and no, that doesn’t mean seven days of Lord Alan Sugar. Learners at R.E.A.L. took part in many activities including watching The Big Assembly, a live broadcast explaining the benefits of an apprenticeship.

Did you know we offer staff apprenticeships at R.E.A.L. too? In September 2022 our latest cohort of Teaching Assistant apprentices enrolled at R.E.A.L. and they’ve had this to say about their journey so far;

Olivia: “I have gained a better knowledge and have more experience to help myself and the learners I work with.” 

Clare: “I am really enjoying improving my knowledge and actually enjoy doing maths!”

Aimelouise: “The Level 3 TA apprenticeship course has helped me to better support the learners and put my new skills learned into action.” 

Any staff at R.E.A.L. wanting to find out more about apprenticeships should email HR. Learners interested in apprenticeships elsewhere should talk to their Programme Manager.

This provision provides learners with the opportunity to learn and grow in the subject areas of Art, Drama, Fashion and Music. 

R.E.A.L. Creative Arts provides a supportive and inspiring environment for learners to develop their skills and passions in the creative industry. Located in the historic Grade II listed Old Library, in Mansfield, the unique venue may be old, but the facilities are of the highest standard and reflect current technological trends.

Our adaptive approach to learning allows each learner to have individual support, meaning every young person has a chance to succeed. 

Learners will have the chance to achieve both Level 1 and Level 2 qualifications, setting them up for further education opportunities after their time studying with us. 

We have strong connections with industry experts and employers, so our learners have the opportunity to network and gain relationships with relevant professionals. This, and the hands-on, practical experience delivered on the provision means learners are equipped to go into a career in the creative industry.

We also offer a more nurturing curriculum for younger learners and those who require a softer approach to education. Join us at R.E.A.L. Creative Arts and discover your potential!

The qualifications we offer are; 

  • RSL Level 1 & 2 Award in Music Technology and Performance
  • RSL Level 1 & 2 Award in Acting
  • BTEC Level 1 & 2 in Art and Design Skills
  • BTEC Level 1 & 2 in Fashion and Textiles

Check out this video to see for yourself what it’s like.

Did you know  the R.E.A.L. Foundation Trust has a new Coffee Lounge open to the public?

Roots opened in November ’22 at the Charity Hub, The Landmark at Pleasley, and runs as an independent subsidiary, staffed by local coffee gurus Phil, Toni and Klair.

Not only does Roots offer a local venue for residents to meet and socialise but it also offers training opportunities for young people who have a desire to enter the world of catering and hospitality.

As the coffee lounge has gathered momentum over the last couple of months (rated 2nd best coffee

shop in Mansfield by the Chad!) the demand to open in the evening has grown too.

On Thursday 26th January, Roots opened its doors in the evening and hosted local jazz duo, Tuesdays Child. To accompany the live music, Roots collaborated with a local pizza maker, ‘Shakin’ Off The Crust’ to offer incredible, fresh food. The night was an amazing success, with tables full right up until 9pm. 

Thursday nights will now be a regular late night event. Check out @rootscoffeelounge for updates.

Roots is open from 7am – 4pm for the rest of the week and 9am – 2pm Saturdays. R.E.A.L. staff can

flash their ID for a special discount but, as a not for profit their prices are always low. All surplus is donated to the R.E.A.L. Foundation Trust too so each coffee bought supports the charity’s activities.

There’s space for social and business events  with a dedicated space for free hire, just buy

a coffee when you’re there!

We all know the importance of first aid, but it’s not very often we get to put that into practice. A learner from the Nanpantan Hub definitely put their first aid knowledge to the test and incredibly saved a person’s life.

The learner came across a member of the public during the Christmas holidays who was choking. He made the brave decision to deal with the situation using his knowledge from first aid learnt at R.E.A.L. and his qualification at army cadets.

The patient began to fall in and out of consciousness, but the learner stayed calm and used his knowledge to deal with it. The whole time he engaged in an emergency service call where he was commended for remaining so calm.

The patient is very lucky this learner came across them and made the huge decision to help out. We’re all so proud of his heroic, life-saving actions.

Exploring the surface of the moon, travelling through time to ancient lands and sailing high above the earth in a hot air balloon, it’s all in a day’s work for our staff at R.E.A.L. Education. 

Using virtual reality headsets, staff explored immersive digital worlds using VR headsets as part of our ICT development group.

Staff are looking at how technology can engage and motivate students, as well as bring learning to life and teaching concepts that are hard or impossible to do in a science lab. 

In addition to enhancing learning now, we believe that this technology will be critical to our students’ working lives. We’ve already seen the new kitchen adverts over Christmas, where clients are treated to a virtual experience of their new kitchen in VR! Technology will continue to play a greater part in our working lives.

At R.E.A.L., staff are constantly exploring new creative ways to engage young people and expand their sometimes limited life experiences.

It wouldn’t be right to start a new year, without an Inset Day full of inspiring talks and team building activities.

This year was no different, as R.E.A.L’s staff attended a jam-packed day on ‘The Art of Being Brilliant’; a session filled with motivational advice and challenging ways of thinking.

94% of R.E.A.L. staff that attended felt the session was useful and stated they would be actively using the content in the future.

Staff said: “It’s given us a more positive atmosphere at work, which as stated in the session leads to others being more positive in general. I’m really pleased I got to experience it and get to share it with others in my life.”

“I found the talk very inspiring. I left there with a much more positive outlook on life and feeling more motivated to reach the goals that I have set myself, to benefit my work and personal life.”

“Since the presentation, I’ve felt as though I’m more positive in all aspects of my life and try to help others to think that way too, as it makes you feel so much better.  Monday mornings are now for my best pants!”

It’s that time of the year where tinsel is on any surface it can hang on to, and jumpers with reindeers on are acceptable to wear. 

Learners and staff across R.E.A.L. have embraced the Christmas spirit, which RIS Ilkeston started in November with a special visit from a gingerbread santa. 

Residents at Canal Vue care home in Ilkeston were delivered handmade Christmas cards by learners as a nice festive gesture and learners from RIS Mansfield, Blidworth and Ilkeston all got their skates on at Nottingham’s Winter Wonderland.

On 8 December learners at Woodhouse Road hosted their annual Christmas Fayre. Tables were stocked full of amazing Christas goodies, from handmade Christmas cards and cupcakes to hot chocolate and biscuits.

Ellen Longmate, Learning Manager said: “The learners had created lots of lovely Christmas crafts and food to sell! It was such a nice day as some parents came along too.”

Catering students and staff at Woodhouse Road also put on a three course Christmas meal this month for learners at nearby sites to attend. Ellen said: “The food was amazing! The staff and learners did an excellent job!”

It’s sadly not coming home for the England team but it has come home for R.E.A.L.!

R.E.A.L. Independent Schools won Education Today’s Independent School of the Year award. 

The national award ceremony took place on 1 December, Nikki Purcell, Head of Schools said: “Winning this award is a testament to the hard work of our learners, parents and staff. Together we have built something incredible that has a massive impact on the lives of our learners and their families.  

It’s wonderful that this has been recognised on a National level and gives our whole community something to be really proud of.”

It’s fair to say that 2022 will be a year that’ll go down in history. From the war in Ukraine to the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, it’s a year that’ll be poignantly remembered.

All staff and learners at R.E.A.L. have united together throughout the year in ways they can all be proud of.

Nikki Purcell, Head of Schools, kicked off the year by announcing she’d raised £700 for Rainbows Hospice for Children and Young People, by walking 5km a day every day for 50 weeks during 2021.

Two R.E.A.L. learners became published poets in February after their poems were chosen to be included in an anthology.

Throughout March and April, staff and learners rallied together to raise money for those in Ukraine, which included some being featured on BBC’s East Midlands Today.

In June, staff cycled 150 miles over three days to raise money for the R.E.A.L. Foundation Trust and in July a parent sent a heartwarming handwritten letter thanking R.E.A.L. for the progress their daughter made during their time here.

In September, all of our sites, staff and students took time to remember, reflect and give thanks for Queen Elizabeth’s life and dedicated service. 

Over the last few months we’ve announced ‘Good’ Ofsted results received for both RIS Ilkeston and Blidworth and we’re now proud winners of Education Today’s, Independent School of the Year award.

These are just some of the achievements at R.E.A.L. over the year and we look forward to how our staff and learners embrace 2023.

Based on the core values of humanistic counselling, R.E.A.L. Education Counselling Service offers children and young people high quality, professional support for a wide range of emotional needs. Significant research has shown that counselling can help young people’s confidence, resilience, sense of self-worth, their relationships, school attendance and academic achievement. With its holistic approach, R.E.A.L. Counselling Service welcomes the young people with non-judgemental, empathic support for anything the learner is finding difficult.

Learners who are referred to the R.E.A.L. Education Counselling Service are offered an initial assessment session and if it is mutually agreed that counselling would benefit them, weekly sessions are then offered. Through half-termly reviews, the counsellor and young person will regularly reflect on the therapy and decide together whether they continue to meet for further sessions or not.

Any R.E.A.L. student in Key Stage 3 or above (Year 7 upwards), or their parents/ carers, can now make a confidential self-referral directly to the counselling service using the following link:

R.E.A.L Counselling Referral Form

Alternatively, they could speak to a Tutor or their Learning Manager and ask for a referral to be made on their behalf.

For all enquiries about the R.E.A.L. Counselling Service please email the following address: