'Everyone who studies and works at Releasing Potential is part of the RP Family'

Mike King, CEO

Aims and Principles

We believe that all young people should have oppotunities to succeed in life, regardless of the barriers they face. We encourage personal growth and independence as well as academic progress.

The idea of the RP 'family' is a central one. We work hard to maintain a safe, warm and caring atmosphere where everyone feels valued. We have honed our approach to working with young people over many years of experience. This approach is encapsulated in our Challenging Behaviour Management system, which, in practice affects all aspects of our work with young people.

We believe very strongly in this system, it is what enables us to maintain our stricly hands off policy. We do not restrain, but rely on our understanding of needs-based approaches to managing behaviour. 

At Releasing Potential we would prefer to see damaged property rather than damaged young people.  

Personal Development at Releasing Potential

At Releasing Potential there is an emphasis on achieving outcomes in terms of social and emotional aspects of learning. We understand that, for our students, it is important to learn ways of managing feelings and relationshps with others well, and this is a high priority throughout their time with us.

Our SHAPE system is a way of managing and recording social and emotional progress. SHAPE stands for Safe, Healthy, Achieving, Positive, Enterprising, and all students are expected to meet all five elements throughout the day with us. Time is set aside after every session to reflect on SHAPE and scores are recorded as part of progress measurement for each student.

SHAPE scores are also collated and analysed across the school to help us target staff training and development.

Relationshps within relationship and with the wider community

We are proud at Releasing Potential of our small scale, welcoming provision. We work hard to ensure an inclusive environment which celebrates difference and promotes  acceptance of all, regardless of sex, ability, race, religion, sexuality.

All Engage groups have a maximum of five students and a staff ratio of one adult to every two students. When a young person requires additional support, we deliver on a one to one basis. This tailored approach allows us  the flexibility to respond creatively to the needs and risks presented by our young people.

It's important to us that our students understand their place in Releasing Potential, the local community and the wider world. Our curriculum and working practices encourage students to make and maintain positive connections with the community, and to appreciate their impact on the environment.

Admissions process

Releasing Potential provides a range of educational programmes supporting students of secondary age in Hampshrie and West Sussex who are not able to access education through mainstream schools. Releasing Potential believes that all students should have access to appropriate curriculum to ensure they achieve thieir potential and are not disavantaged in comparison to their peers accessing education in mainstream settings.


  • Pupils with identified Social Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties (SEBD) whose needs can best be met through the stability of a long term placement at Releasing Potential
  • Pupils permanently excluded from mainstream school
  • Pupils new to the authroity with a history of disrupted educaiton or previously educated in a PRU for whom a school placement cannot be found
  • Pupils positively referred for alternative provision on either a full time or part time basis


  • In order to make a referral the referring agency must ensrue that funding is in place for the student. If a student has an Education Health Care Plan (EHCP) - what was a Statement of Educaitonal Needs - on which Releasing Potential is named, then the Local Authority (LA) will have a duty to pay. If this is not the case, then the referring school or department will need to confirm that funding is in place.

There are two referral routes into Releasing Potential:

  • The DPS (Dynamic Purchasing System) is favoured by Special Educational Needs (SEN) departments in West Sussex, and involves Releasing Potential receiving all placement referrals made through the DPS.
  • The Direct Referral route involves referrers making contact with Releasing Potential who will then send out an Information Passport for the student.
  • The Releasing Potential Referrals Panel meets weekly to consider all referrals through both routes. Each sutdent for whom the panel decides we have capacity to work with will be invited, with parents or carers, to an interview, and given the opportunity to look around the site. In the case of very anxous students the meeting may take place at the student's home. If the interview results in the student being offered a place, a start date will be agreed there and then.
  • All students begin with a part time time table and build towards full time if applicable.

The students' route through Relasing Potential

We expect all students to begin on a part time one to one programme and build towards integrating with a group. This process will vary in length depending on the individual student's readiness.

When it is clear that the young person is able to cope with the change, they will join one of our Activation groups, where two or three one to one students come together one or two days a week for an outdoor or sports session. This gives students the opportunity to develop social skills and the ability to function well as part of a group of peers. If all goes well, we would expect a student to progress to a full time place in an Engage group over the course of a term.

In practice, students can move back and forth between these elements depending on a range of factors affecting their progress, inside and outside of school.

Teaching and Learning at Relasing Potential

All our students are disapplied from the National Curriculum and require specialist provison to help them engage. Releasing Potential delivers a varied curriculum  which has a practical, hands-on perspective, with outdoor and physical activities central elements.

  • Core subjects are: English, Maths, Outdoor Education, Food Studies and PSD. These are studied at Entry Level in Years 7, 8 and 9, at Level 1 in Years 10 and 11, and at Level 2 in Years 11 and 12
  • Optional subjects in Years 7-11 are: CDT, PE, Art, Project work and Enrichment. For 6th Form students' options will include Work Skills and Work Experience
  • We are registered as a centre to deliver NVQ qualificaitons up to Level 3 through the Northern College of Further Education (NCFE)
  • Additionally we are accredited to deliver and assess a range of National Governing Body (NGB) awards in outdoor activities, as well as Duke of Edinburgh Award at Bronze, Silver and Gold levels. All our students have the opprotunity to achieve these qualifications

Cross curricular themes

  • Within all aspects of the school day we seek to address the personal, health and social needs of students. This is done through formalised lessons as part of the PSD curriculum, and through responding to students' conversatons during lessons and breaks.
  • Releasing Potential has a high standard of conduct when working with young people, with a  focus on taking responsibility for one's actions. Staff are expected to model the mantra 'clean decent and honest' in all their conversations and actions in the workplace. The same is expected of our students. This focus applies across the curriculum and provides many opportunities for spiritual, moral and social development.
  • Where there are opportunities the curriculum will reflect the cultural diversity of the UK, particularly through PSD, Art, Project Work and Enrichment curricula.
  • Staff work hard to challenge students to use appropriate and respectful  language when talking about people and practices that are different from their own.
  • When appropriate staff may arrange a visit from or to a particular place or people to challenge the prejudices students may have, for example a visit to the local mosque, or a visit from local police officers.

Key Skills development

The focus of our key skills curriculum is to provide students with the skills they need for life, with a particular emphasis on communicaiton and numerical skills. Students present with a range of abilities and confidence levels, we differentiate for these levels and focus on overcoming barriers to reading, writing, speaking and listening and maths by focusing on small manageable tasks provided with a high level of support.

SEAL (Social Emotional Aspects of Learning)

At Releasing Potential there is an emphasis on achieving outcomes in terms of social and emotional learning.

  • Baseline assessments are made using the Outcomes Star system, which helps the student recognise her/his strentgths and improvement areas. This gives students a visual picture of the current situation as they see it. The assessment is repeated termly and allows students, stff, parents and referrers to measure and record distance travelled over time.
  • Our SHAPE system is fully embedded in all aspects of curicular and non-curricular learning at Releasing Potential. SHAPE scores are recorded daily, weekly and half termly. They are analysed informally bys taff and individual sutdents after every session inordedr to recognise achievements. The data is evaluated formally on a half termly basis and reproted in writing to parents and carers.

Outdoor Education

Outdoor Education is a key component in Releasing Potential provision across al years.

  • In Years 7, 8 and 9 students work towards a range of NGB qualifications. Assessments are made by staff.
  • In Years 10 and 11 students undertake the Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award, and more advanced NGBs where appropriate.
  • In Years 12 and 13 students undertake DofE Silver Award.

Careers advice and development

At Releasing Potential we want all students to leave at the end of Year 11 with Level 1 qualifications, a college place, job or traineeship/apprenticeship and the social emotional skills to manage whatever comes next.

We help students develop an understanding of their future career options in a number of ways:

  • Working through college prospectuses
  • Visits to local colleges
  • Support with making college applications and attending interviews
  • Interview practice
  • Advice from external specialist careers advisor
  • Online careers options packages
  • Releasing Potential social enterprises which allow students to run all apects of a number of small scale businesses
  • Visits to a range of work places
  • Talks by visiting experts in various career areas
  • Work placements and work experience

Assessment procedures

  • Releasing Potential belives in improving academic outcomes for students. Expectations are high in terms of attendance, behaviour and achievement and all students are encouraged to explore their full potential.
  • To this end we believe it is essential that we assess and record attainment in terms which are meaningful across the range of student needs and abilities, and the range of subject areas covered. We use a system where students are assessed every half term in each subject according to individual targets.
  • A range of data is used, including observation where appopriate, and formalised academic measurement as and when relevant. Where a student shows no progress staff will report on interventions in place to support them to achieve according to expectations.

Releasing Potential and external colleagues

At Releasing Potential we recognise the importance of a holisitc approach to working with young people. We foster excellent relationships with parents and carers through regular formal and informal communication about their child.

We also work in partnership with a range of agencies which come into contact with our students, so as to fully understand the needs and risks faced by our students and to deliver coherent and 'joined-up' provision.

We work closely with schools, colleges, Local Authority SEN departments, Social Care, Primary Care, CAMHS and Youth Justice.




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