MYL’s School finds its origins in a 1997 National Lottery funded youth work project at A6 Education Centre (formerly known as Longsight Adventure Playground). Although initially aimed at unemployed young people, the scheme drew most interest from school non-attenders up to age 16. This, along with concerns from Ofsted around the levels of non-attendance in the city, led to the creation of a local partnership known as School Otherwise, which launched in 1999.

School Otherwise was developed to provide informal education, aimed at promoting re-entry to school by young people. Working closely with local schools such as Cedar Mount and Ellen Wilkinson High, the project saw 50% of its participants return to part or full-time school between 1999 and 2000.

Following the success of this project, MYL continued to develop its provision of education with targeted and focused outreach work, and also for larger groups within its centres. Under the co-ordination of the late Anne Simmons, our inspirational school leader who had been a key part of School Otherwise, tutors continued delivering sessions at Ardwick and Moss Side, moving towards entering students for various qualifications and accreditations.

The approach proved highly successful and, in 2010, the next logical step was to register Manchester Young Lives as an independent school. Initially sourcing referrals from local schools, many accommodated by an intensive support facility at our Wythenshawe site, MYL soon established a strong relationship with the Pupil Referral Unit. We now receive our referrals exclusively from the PRU, and will continue to work closely with them to tackle exclusion and improve the opportunities of some of Manchester’s more vulnerable young people.