'Pupils thrive at this welcoming and inclusive school...' (Ofsted 2022)
As Director and headteacher of the ASPIRE: Lifeskills Learning Centre I am delighted to welcome you to the our website.
We hope you enjoy finding out a little bit about what we do at ASPIRE and join with us in celebrating the success that our students achieve.
Personally I am so proud of all the ASPIRE students and their amazing achievements and would like to thank the fantastic staff team at ASPIRE for making it possible.
Vivienne Boulton [Director/Headteacher]
ABOUT THE HEAD
Viv Boulton is the Founder and Director of ASPIRE: Lifeskills, and has been committed to the organisation, its staff team and all the children, young people and adults with Autism with whom she has worked, since ASPIRE: Lifeskills was established in 2006. Prior to that Viv was responsible for the development and day-to-day running of the Post-16 Autism provision at Maplewell Hall School in Woodhouse Eaves. In her role as HLTA she devised and implemented individual programmes for each student – these included life skills, activities in the local community; and links with local FE colleges.
Viv’s role in ASPIRE: Lifeskills is to co-ordinate all the individual packages of support. This requires close liaison with parents/carers, other organisations, and the Local Authority, to ensure the young person/adult with Autism’s needs are at the centre of the process. Viv is also responsible for managing the staff team and the administration of the organisation.
ASPIRE was established in 2006 by Viv Boulton; now Headteacher of ASPIRE: Lifeskills Learning Centre. Viv has worked with children and adults with autism for 23 years and worked at a local special school in an autism unit for the first 10 years of those. ASPIRE was set up to provide bespoke, alternative provision for students who were currently not in educational placements and aimed to transition them into appropriate education that could meet their needs. ASPIRE was one of the first services used for this type of provision; life skills were taught in the home environment and out in the community; students were offered a person-centred approach, which developed their self-belief and confidence to eventually reengage with education and move back into educational establishments.
The support that ASPIRE has always offered to young people and their families has been about communication, building a working relationship with the family, respecting each young person and valuing them as individuals, developing trust, adapting to their needs while also teaching them the skills and confidence to find themselves and their own voice and place within the community. All the young people were able to have a different experience of education; many who were disengaged from and disillusioned by education have been able to flourish through our approach and values. They have been provided with an experience that allows them to engage, to experience achievement, to believe in themselves and to be part of a community where they feel valued.
From this success and the experience of seeing what a difference this approach made to the lives of these young people, those same core values have been applied to the ASPIRE: Lifeskills Learning Centre. The Learning Centre was set up in 2016 due to changes in legislation that meant we would have been unable to continue working with the young people we had involvement with. By creating an independent school provision in the town centre of Loughborough, we are able to teach purposeful life skills, not just in theory but in a real location. Students develop the skills and confidence that allow them to live as independently as possible with growing self-worth, self-esteem and self-identity. They become able to communicate their thoughts and feelings with others and learn that these have value. Our students are able to face new challenges with confidence, they find new activities they are interested in and can excel at and they challenge themselves in ways they never thought they would be able to. The ASPIRE students have a positive attitude towards education and learning and are able to achieve qualifications when they had previously given up on themselves.
The ASPIRE staff team are extremely supportive; to the students, the families and each other, and are enthusiastic and committed to the values and approach that ASPIRE stands for.
ASPIRE is not about limiting opportunities, it is about facilitating each individual to reach their full potential, both personal and academic.
What Our Students & Parents Say about us
My experience of Aspire has been extremely positive and I would recommend it for any person who struggles with the pressures of mainstream education and who feels that they need to be accepted for who they are, because at the end of the day, special learning needs are a small part of who you are but it doesn’t define you.
I have been at Aspire Lifeskills for 3 years starting in year 9 to currently in year 12. I have been able to complete both funcional skills and GCSE exams with brilliant results that exceeded my expectations as i believed that i would never get my GCSE qualifications before Aspire.
My experience of this school has been a very positive one. It has helped me a bucketload especially in regards to my confidence and anxiety.
Parent of Key Stage 5 Student
"The Best Place for my Son; These guys know what they're doing."
Parent of Year 7 Student
"I've not heard so many positive comments about him in years. He comes home from the learning centre talking about his day and learning; something that hasn't happened for a long time - This is so positive."
Parent of Year 12 Student
"He's a different child since going to Aspire - He always has a smile on his face now"
Parent of Key Stage 3 Student
"I'm so pleased that Aspire have been able to adapt expectations to enable my son to work in his own unique way..... I'm so excited about his future now"
Parent of Key Stage 5 Student
"We are so happy & thankful to you all for your support and expertise with our son"