Trustee calls for two more years of funding for Norwich Future Education

Future Education needs two years of support from Norfolk County Council to help secure its long term existence, the chair of trustees at Future Projects said last night.

The warning came as County Hall bosses pledged to fund it for just another year.

But Ian Johnson said that in order to give them the time and the funds to find an alternative way of providing its successful services it needed its contract renewed for two years.

Future was encouraged to establish the school in 2008 by Norfolk County Council at great cost and effort.

Mr Johnson said the school wanted the planned new intake to start in September to ensure continuity and that it would take time to plan for their future.

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The one-year extension would mean only those currently half way through a two-year course could continue but that those planning to start in September would need to go elsewhere.

He confirmed that they were looking into the possibility of becoming a free school.

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'That is going to take time, but with time we could work towards it', he said.

He also warned that other projects at Future could be at risk if their Norfolk County Council contract is pulled.

The Future Education funds have helped with general costs at the complex on Motum Road.

'The money that comes in for education goes some way towards the general costs of the building', he said. 'Some of the staff work in other projects which means the loss of the contract is affecting everything.'

Many of the students who have left the school continue to return for support with college work and help with CVs and other support from staff they know.

The students at the school are also given much support from other parts of the project such as Baseline and some had gone on to do the Access to Music course.

'It has far reaching affects', he said. 'When they were tendering they were just looking at the contract. They did not look at the other implications and what that does with everything else.'

He said that the whole nature of the project had changed when they became a school in 2008.

'It has been brilliant. I know how hard they have worked.'

In its first Ofsted the project was award a good rating, which he said had been incredible in its first year.

'The main difference between Future and other projects like Include is that we know their background. We know their parents, their grandparents, their cousins. That goes a long way in our job of helping the students. In a way, to have that connection they are going to have to spend more money.

'It is almost like their community hall. If you are here after school around 3.30pm the kids come in and hang out.

Mr Johnson added: 'Dawn (Jackson - founder) will have time for everyone. These kids may not be scheduled to be here in terms of time, but they are still given the time.'

He said they would be having a meeting with Norfolk County Council this week.

He added that some of the young people at Future had already been excluded from the Include, which had won the contract.

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