Life at New Leaf

The Joshua Ribera Achievement Awards

An annual event celebrating the achievements of young people from alternative education provisions.

As a young man Joshua was excluded from main stream school but with support, guidance and love achieved great success in music. Since Joshua's death Alison has spoken to over 60,000 young people in alternative education.  When a child loses their main stream school place they are excluded from the experience of attending their school prom, awards evenings and some are not allowed to have work experience due to the stigma around alternative provisions  .A lot of these young people have a range of emotionally and mental health issues. Youth offender prisons are made up of 87% of people who were excluded from mainstream school so engaging them early and supporting their emotional and mental health is key for them to progress positively. The Joshua Ribera Achievement awards was set up by Alison to help incentivise and celebrate positive changes made by these young people as she felt it was crucial to formally recognise their achievements  and to offer additional support through various training providers.

We were delighted to have one of our pupils awarded at this event. Nominated by his alternative provision (JP Alternartive Education) it has been a pleasure to see him progress and mature in his time here at New Leaf. He has made us very proud and we know he will go on to achieve phenomenal things.

Ask the Speaker

On the 22nd November pupils had the opportunity for a live Q+A session with Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons, Dame Rosie Winterton. Pupils put a number of challenging questions to the Deputy Speaker.

The Speaker, and Deputy Speakers, chair debates in the Commons chamber. They are elected by other Members of Parliament. During debates they keep order and call MPs to speak.

The session was a unique and exciting opportunity for pupils to learn more about the role and function of the UK Parliament.

Some of the questions asked were:

How many MPs do you control?

What do you do when the MPs become unruly?

How long have you been doing your job?

How many hours do you work? How long are your days?

What party do you support?

How many MPs are there in the country?

What did you want to be when you were at school?

Is your job fun?

What is the most crucial decision you have ever made?

What is the hardest vote you have had to make?

How do you remain impartial during a debate when you feel passionately about something?

Do you want to swap jobs with me?

What do you wear every day for work?

What are some of the things you cannot say in the house of commons?

How many women work in the house of commons?

Who was the first women to work in the house of commons?

Do you bring your children to work?

Warstone Lane Cemetery Catacombs

As part of their Halloween project, pupils had the opportunity to visit the Warstone Lane Cemetery Catacombs in Birmingham.

Warstone Lane Cemetery is an impressive sight. It was established in 1848, and took on new burials until 1982. Deep among the cemetery’s vaults and gravestones lie a set of tiered catacombs.

Built in a tiered semicircle, the catacombs feel almost like a Roman amphitheater. Given the grandiose style of the tombs, you’d be forgiven for thinking it was perhaps a resting place for regal, Birmingham folk. Sadly, the truth is a little more gristly. Behind the tunnel doors were the remains of poor folk who had fallen victim to the 19th century overcrowding and sometimes squalid conditions faced by the working class. 

Though the catacombs were originally open to the public, they have since been sealed shut, meaning visitors can no longer poke their heads into the tunnels.

National War Arboretum
On Wednesday 10th November, pupils visited the National War Arboretum to lay a wreath they had created for Armistice Day. The pupils had been learning about the war, the sacrifices soldiers made and the importance of showing our respect to those who lost their lives fighting for the country. 
Pupils visited the various museums on site - being able to recall prior learning by handling equipment used by the soldiers. They met military personal on site, asking a wide variety of excellent questions. They also experienced the monument "At the eleventh hour" which is extremely impressive. 
Pupils were also able to see some of the media setting up in preparation for the remembrance ceremony on 11th November. They were then able to watch this in class via the live streaming, gaining an understanding of some of the production processes that sit behind the TV cameras.
All pupils enjoyed the visit and were inspired by the information that the visit provided. Thanks to National War Arboretum and their staff for being such great hosts. 


As part of their Preparation for Adulthood (PfA) lesson, pupils had an opportunity to go pumpkin picking. They each had a budget to stick to and had to plan how they would spend this budget. They they booked themselves onto the 'Pick your own', decided which pumpkins their budget would allow them to pick, paid for them out of their budget, communicating respectfully with cashiers and members of the public. 

We are Macmillan. Cancer support. World's Biggest Coffee Morning.

Friday 24th September saw the school hosting an open day and coffee morning. This gave pupils the opportunity to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support. Pupils prepared for the event by baking a host of delicious cakes and cookies. Parents, families and community members attended helping the pupils to raise £45 pounds.