Author: neil

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:

Can you believe we’re almost at the half term holiday already?

We hope all learners have enjoyed getting stuck into learning new topics, expanding their knowledge and are excited for what the rest of the year brings.

To view this year’s term dates, you can click here.

At R.E.A.L., we’re always excited to watch our learners develop. If you’re a school or commissioner and looking to find out more about what we offer, you can start the conversation with us by emailing or calling 01158 220400.

Stop, look, listen!

Stop, look and listen! It’s an important safety message to learn from a young age, and one that certainly stays with you as an adult, even if it does make you think of hedgehogs!

Learners at RIS Ilkeston have been practising the well known phrase. Fiona Ryan, Specialist Teaching Assistant said: “This road safety message is something we do every day with the learners when venturing to the park.

As we reach the road, I ask the learners what comes next and they answer: we stop, we look and we listen. We cross when it is safe!”

Fiona added: “I always think real life experience is better than watching a video. As my learners are all under 13 and don’t venture out without parents, I’m working on those life skills with them to ensure they know how to stay safe in the community.”

We all know that realistically, table tennis consists of hitting the ball for around 10% of the time, and the other 90% is spent chasing said ball around the room, but that doesn’t mean to say it’s not great fun!

Learners at Sandhills were treated to a new table tennis set at the start of this term and it’s served up a treat so far.

Claire Colley, Learning Manager said: “The learners have really enjoyed it! We originally purchased it for their sports sessions, but they’ve been using it in break times too.

We hoped this would happen as for one, it means less screen time and two, it’s been encouraging them to interact with their peers.”

The set can be used for both standing and seated games and even staff have joined in too. Claire said: “Staff have found it fun too, there’s been several learners versus staff games!”

R.E.A.L Independent School Ilkeston has received its first ever Ofsted visit and achieved a brilliant overall rating of ‘Good’.

The visit took place in July this year and recognised the varied experiences the learners enjoy such as “celebrating Pride week, trips to the theatre, canoeing, and meeting Titus, the dinosaur.”

Nikki Purcell, Head of Schools said: “I’m delighted with the result we achieved. This was the third of our school inspections in just over a year and yet again our staff and learners showcased the work they do really well.”

It was noted that RIS Ilkeston “cares about each pupil as an individual” and the “relationships between staff and learners are extremely positive.”

Nikki said: “It was wonderful that the inspectors recognised how positive our relationships are with learners and their parents or carers.”

Ilkeston has helped “develop learners’ self-confidence and resilience, making them prepared for their next steps and gaining qualifications which will help them be successful in their lives.”

Nikki said: “I was lucky enough to hear parent and carer and learner feedback to inspectors during the inspection, which was at times overwhelming. Especially when one learner spoke about how his improved reading skills have impacted on his life.

I know that we make such a difference to our learners’ lives through creative re-engagement , which, as one of the parents reported, makes education a positive experience for them.”

The feedback from staff was also positive saying they’re proud to be part of the school and “leaders are supportive and considerate of their well-being and workload.”

Nikki said: “Reassuringly, the areas that inspectors identified for development were those we’d already identified and incorporated in our school improvement plan.

We’ll continue to work hard and further improve the quality of education we offer the learners who are in our care.”

R.E.A.L. staff and learners across all sites paid their respects to Queen Elizabeth II, as she sadly passed away this month.

RIS Blidworth learners visited Nottingham City Hall to lay flowers and sign the book of condolences. Andy Richmond, Learning Manager said: “The learners’ tributes were so heartfelt and touching. I’m so proud of all the learners who made the trip.”

RIS Mansfield, Woodhouse Road and more Blidworth learners also went to Mansfield Civic Centre to write in the book of condolences and lay flowers too.

At all of our sites, staff and students have taken time to remember, reflect and give thanks for the Queen’s life and dedicated service.

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