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Young Merton Together

Merton supports all children to access education

One of the key priority areas of work included in Merton’s Children and Young People’s plan is to ‘narrow the gap in educational outcomes and opportunity’. One aspect of this is to ensure that we manage the commissioning of appropriate Key Stage 4 educational provision for young people who are new to Merton, and who have English as an additional language. We are committed to ensuring that these young people, who are often ‘in year’ applicants for a school place, are supported to access appropriate full time education.

SMARTChoice is an alternative education provision commissioned by Merton and based at St. Mark’s Academy, which accommodates pupils in Key Stage 4 who require support accessing education taught in English. Learners enter the programme at various points in the academic year with different experiences of education; some having had no formal prior education.

During this academic year (2016/17) all of the 25 young people currently accessing the programme have been entered for qualifications ranging from ESOL Entry Level 1 to GCSE Double Science, and between them they are expected to attain over seven GCSEs in modern foreign languages. Also, current Year 11s have secured post-16 education, employment or training (EET) offers.

In addition to this year’s success, one hundred per cent of last year’s cohort progressed to education, employment and training destinations which included the St. Mark’s post-16 ESOL course.

Merton’s Admissions Team work hard to ensure that, where learners are suitable for the SMART Choice programme, a swift referral is made as soon as an application for a school place comes into the team. This year, the rate of referral achieved was on average, one day, with seventy-six per cent made on the same day. On average, learners enrol onto SMART Choice within 10 schools days of the local authority receiving an application for a school place.

For more information on the provision of Alternative Education in Merton contact the head of service for Education Inclusion:



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The next edition will be published in July 2017