The cream of our LEAP year
Josh Duxbury and Leona Ainscough have gone from disillusioned duo to the pride of their pre-16 class at Rathbone Chorley.
The tenacious twosome has overcome their battles with truancy and poor self-esteem to secure a decent schooling on the Lancashire Education Alternative Provision (LEAP) programme. And both were honoured for their efforts at a special passing-out presentation ceremony in Chorley, recently.
Former kick-boxer Josh’s confidence took a hammering at high school. A bright lad, he was placed in classes with other academic achievers but admits, “I just couldn’t keep up and I didn’t want to ask for help because I thought it was my business – not theirs’. Rathbone is much more chilled-out and you can do the work in your own time.”
Leona Ainscough and Josh Duxbury
Along with this years’ other 20 LEAPers, Josh (now 16) has been gaining the practical skills he needs to give his ambitions of being a car mechanic a kick-start. Sadly for West Lancashire, Josh is about to take his undoubted talents to the Midlands where he and his family want to make a fresh start.
The LEAP learning takes place in smaller groups, something that Leona has particularly appreciated. Also 16, the bubbly would-be animal carer was so terrified of starting high school that she had her mum sit in lessons with her! Leona began truanting and confesses: “I ended up only going in on a Thursday and a Friday – just so my mum would give me some pocket money!”
Splitting her week between school and Rathbone, Leona not only attended all her sessions she also began to see the value of what she was being taught at high school and realised, “if I didn’t turn up there, I wouldn’t be able to come to Rathbone!”
Leona (also 16) received her certificates and fond farewell from Rathbone at the LEAP presentation ceremony held at the Chorley Community Arts Centre. With qualifications and a Saturday job under her belt, she now believes she is perfectly placed to find work.
Josh meanwhile discovered that he had been named the LEAP achiever of the year at the event and admitted: “There was a time when I really had my mum worried and that upset me. Now I am going to do a paid apprenticeship.”