Our Aim

Our aim is to engage young people by utilising our stunning countryside & facilities.

 

Ad Astra is leading the way in alternative education in and around the North of England.

We draw on the knowledge and experience of our staff who have created a unique learning environment that we can tailor to suit the needs of the most demanding young people.

We measure our impact using attendance and retention data, as well as student and carer surveys. Our success is best demonstrated by the fact that our pre 16 engagement programme has now developed into a post 16 provision, offering high-quality land-based activities alongside a strong education package. 

We prioritise positive behaviour and modelling good relationships and interaction with staff, Natural England employees and members of the public.

 

The nature of our setting means that students have the security and consistency of a key worker and a team of Ad Astra staff but also can interact with the wider community including groups whom they might not encounter in their everyday routines.

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How we do it

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.

AQA Unit Award Scheme Centre 

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.

WHAT OUR STUDENTS SAY

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'

WHAT OUR STAKEHOLDERS SAY

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)