The idea for Eagle’s Nest Project, (though un-named at the time), began in the August of 2010. What began as an initial idea soon developed into a vision for a network of learning centres where students could spend the time they need to build up a wide range of skills, both practically and socially as well as gaining qualifications to set them up for the future.

In November 2010, the Department for Education published The Importance of Teaching: The Schools White Paper 2010 in which they talked about plans to improve the quality of alternative provision and to encourage new providers to set up. This was a positive reassurance that it was the right time to move the project forward, and in the year that followed Jan Appleton, Founder and Director, continued to push doors and network to bring the dream alive, connecting with others working in the field and exploring opportunities for partnership.

In September 2011 the idea was shared more widely and Jan also began some case study work with two alternative providers as part of her Masters study. With the Name now firmly in place and ideas developing all the time about a provision that would be flexible and could meet a young person where they are and help to move them forward, plans for a significant change were brewing.

In July 2012 Jan left her full time teaching post and began a sabbatical year working with a Christian travel company and in April 2013 she took a leap of faith and decided to leave full time work and focus on setting up the charity that is here today. From September 2013 she worked from home, bringing founding trustees Louise and Karen on board in October 2013.

In March 2014 the Charity was officially given its number and since then we have implemented a mentoring scheme for young people at risk of exclusion, and also developed a range of day packages that offer Pupil Referral Units and other organisations working closely with excluded students a variety of options where intensive support can be offered alongside qualifications.

As we continue to develop these packages, we are beginning the lengthy process to register as an independent special school. This will allow some students to be educated with us full time, while others continue to access a part time curriculum with us to complement their other provision. We are an intensive intervention, and as such, we aim to remain flexible in approach and seek to return young people to less intensive support as soon as they are able. We are committed to the individual needs of each young person and recognise that each has a unique story, and a unique journey as a result.

It is an exciting story to be part of as it unfolds. We look forward with excitement to watching the progress as we partner with agencies to provide a successful solution to some of the most challenged and damaged young people of our society. We long for the day when Eagle’s Nest will not be needed anymore, but want to stand with those young people for whom it is the best solution right now and say “you are unique, we believe in you, we know you have potential and it is never too late to dream dreams”.