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Piloting City Year UK in an Alternative Provision school

Back to Impact report 2019-2021

In 2020-21, we piloted a partnership with an Alternative Provision setting in Walsall, for pupils who can’t go to mainstream school. They may have been excluded or are experiencing health, social and emotional or behavioural challenges but we believe that they still deserve the benefits a City Year team can provide.

Our aim was largely to use the same model as we do across our school partnerships, but in smaller classes.  In close collaboration with teaching staff, we wanted to have the chance to build a more personalised learning experience and there was also a need for an even stronger focus on behaviour management and safeguarding. Six City Year Mentors provided whole class support, as well as working one-to-one with a specially selected group of 25 focus list pupils.

“It has been a pleasure working with the City Year team this year – they have added extra support in and out of lessons. They have been a vital part of our students’ success. When they became department based their strengths really developed.” Teacher

Spotlight on our impact over the year


  • 51% of focus list pupils reduced their number of negative behaviour points
  • A Year 10 pupil reduced his negative points from 35 to 9

Curriculum progress

Between terms one and three, the percentage of focus list pupils working at GCSE Grade 4 increased from:

  • 4% to 22% in maths
  • 13% to 30% in English
  • 17% to 33% in science

“You know what I like about my City Year Mentor? He doesn’t talk down to us and he stays calm… I don’t know how he does it.” Pupil

Pupil and staff surveys

Social and emotional learning

Over the year, the percentage of focus list pupils who agreed with the statement:

  • “I get very angry and often lose my temper,” fell from 83% to 60%.
  • “I am often unhappy, down-hearted or tearful,” fell from 63% to 20%.

Academic learning

  • 90% of focus list pupils agreed that their City Year mentor had helped them to understand their school work.
  • 100% of staff surveyed agreed that City Year mentors supported pupils effectively academically.


  • 100% of staff surveyed said that City Year had added value to the school and had built good relationships with pupils they worked with.
  • 93% of staff agreed that City Year mentors role modelled good examples for pupils to follow (7% of responses were neutral).

A City Year Mentor tells their story behind the numbers

“One student has struggled a lot with his mental health this year, particularly his self-esteem. He had no confidence in himself or his own abilities and constantly put himself down. He still does struggle with this, but he has improved and has worked on projects that he is proud of. He did a lot of graphic design work and achieved a Merit on his coursework. He has also developed a love of sewing and has been making a waistcoat completely from scratch – he saw the finished product the other day and could NOT stop smiling when he showed it to his classmates. I’m SO proud of him for the progress he has made this year.”

Read about Abul’s experience of spending a year volunteering in the school

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