At Ad Astra we support and offer programmes for Key Stage 3, Key Stage 4 and Post-16 students.

The Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4 programmes can be designed to meet need. We can accommodate single student referrals as well as small group and block bookings. Programmes can be provided for anywhere between one and four days and for the short term or long term. We offer engagement activities such as water sports, rock climbing, biking and swimming.


Activities like Forest Schools, bushcraft and practical conservation are on offer and we can also provide English, Maths, ICT and Science lessons.

The Ad Astra Post-16 programme is comprised of a core curriculum of English, Maths, ICT and Personal and Social Development (PSD) and Practical Conservation

alongside two vocational options from Construction, Mechanics, Land Based Studies and Sport and Fitness.

Students study Functional Skills for English, Maths and ICT. For PSD they follow an Asdan PSHE Short Course. Within Practical Conservation students can obtain the John Muir Award.

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Outdoor Learning and Forest School

We invest a great deal of time and effort into our young people with some of them benefiting from over 6 years of education and training with Ad Astra.

The skills they obtain are used to carry out practical tasks and enable them to gain employment, earn money and become independent young adults.

We currently contract for the Canal and River Trust, Natural England, York County Council and Doncaster Council amongst others.

We have been working on maintaining York’s "green spaces" by clearing ponds, coppicing woodland, removing litter, repairing boundaries, creating habitat for native species and building an array of bird boxes from Wren to Barn Owl.

By working with bigger organisations and carrying out contractual work we are helping young people break the cycle of unemployment and enabling them to become contributing members of society. 

Put simply, our work helps individuals, families and communities and saves money for the local government by helping to increase employability and reduce anti-social behaviour.

Natural England and Yorkshire Wildlife Trust

We have been working in partnership with Natural England since 2014, operating on over 2200 acres of the highest quality National Nature Reserve land.


This allows us to teach skills such as Wildlife Management, Habitat Creation, Wildlife Care and Monitoring, Construction, Mechanics, Waterways Management, Woodland Management and more.

Introduction to Mechanics

We are happy to introduce our new mechanics sessions, running on a Monday. With hands on learning, our students can enrol in our introductory mechanics sessions on both cars and motor bikes. 

Sessions include welding, vehicle maintenance,  spray painitng and many more. In these sessions, our students learn the basic theory and practical skills they need to start servicing vehicles under supervision. 

Woman Fixing a Motorcycle
Football Team

Sport and Fitness ASDAN Qualification

For those interested in careers in Sports and Fitness, we now provide ASDAN short courses. By learning the basics to all sports, with both theory and practical activities, students can improve their knowledge in the field of Sports and Fitness. 

AQA Unit Award Scheme Centre and ASDAN registered

We have recently become an AQA Unit Award Scheme Centre, meaning we can formally offer our students the opportunity to have their bespoke learning packages recognised in the form of a certified unit award scheme. (UAS)


Through our bespoke teaching, all our students can build a record of achievement, increasing their potential and confidence in their learning. We are also able to expand and customise units to our student's individual learning interests and needs.

Teacher and Student

Education and Skills 

Ad Astra understands how important education is, especially for those who struggle in a mainstream environment. Ad Astra prides itself on their individual learning plans for students which include Functional Skills and GCSE tuition in Maths and English. We enable students to gain accreditation and qualification for a range of core and vocational subjects.

Teacher and Student

Education and Skills 

Ad Astra understands how important education is, especially for those who struggle in a mainstream environment. Ad Astra prides itself on their individual learning plans for students which include Functional Skills and GCSE tuition in Maths and English. We enable students to gain accreditation and qualification for a range of core and vocational subjects.


A range of learning opportunities are presented within the workshop. Students follow the Asdan Vocational Taster course so will gain experience in a variety of construction related activities which include joinery, bricklaying and career pathways

Teen Psychologist

Personal and Social Development 

In addition to the formal progress and achievements we work with students on their aspirations and career pathways, we help to develop confidence, self-esteem and self-belief.

Previous students have returned successfully to mainstream schools; and some have gone on to apprenticeships and employment. Our support and guidance has helped them to make positive choices for themselves.


In addition to all the above, we also have the following in place;

· Mental Health First Aider

· Safeguarding Lead, and Deputy Safeguarding Leads

· Fully DBS checked staff

· All staff trained in Safeguarding

· Trauma Informed Staff

· Regular internal and external quality assurance reports

· Attendance rate of 90%

Theory and Driving Tests

We now offer theory and driving tests to our post 16 students. 

For more information please email

Learning Vehicle


I wish school was more like this. I get to work outside and help others in the community that need it

'Ad Astra is the only place that has ever helped me gain  life skills'


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York City Council Rawcliffe Park & Ride

The group have done a good job, It has opened up the pond area and the small woodland surround. They have definitely worked hard and achieved the agreed outcome.

Beki Johnson (York City Council)

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Scrub clearance at Clifton Backies

This is an amazing job done by the Ad Astra group!

Please pass on our thanks for such a thorough and worthwhile task. It really looks like a meadow again!


Kind regards 



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Danesgate School,   Fulford

Working with Natural England some of the written work they do has Maths and English tuition underpinning any portfolio/evidence work. Danesgate and Ad Astra staff have formed a strong professional working relationship over the past five years, where good communication is central.


They are driven to support and develop the well being of all the students' they work with from Danesgate. Ad Astra continues to support our learners and has recently expanded to include fishing and Health and Fitness to meet student’s needs and our requests. These new ventures have been extremely successful and, although in their infancy, have become embedded in their program offer for our students, and a huge success.

Jasmine Aziz

Sunset in the Woods
Natural England

You may remember that last year we dug out - thanks to Ad Astra, the vols, and a corporate group)  a new area of reedbed alongside the track between the windpump and pool hide – part-funded by some grants Nick had secured and part by a donation of the York bird club to the friends.  One of the things we said in the bid, as well as delivering climate change adaptation, water storage, and filtration and delivering a key habitat missing in the valley, was to provide habitat for colonizing species in response to climate is driven range changes – specifically mentioning Cetti’s Warbler within the bid. 


Well, I’m pleased to say, (delighted plus some!) that after record autumn for Cetti’s Warblers in the valley, we have one today in that reed bed mentioned above- a  brilliant result, especially as it’s in  just over 12 months and before the reed is really fully established.  Bodes well and once again shows that we really do just get on and deliver.

Craig Ralston (NE Reseve Manager)