'The quality of individual care and strong personal relationships within the school enable students to develop confidence in themselves and in their ability to succeed...' (Ofsted 2018)
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; and the monthly Saturday Club and the Summer Play Scheme and Activity Week. 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.