New Skills and New Friends: Sefton Virtual School and Hugh Baird Joint Project hailed as a big success!

10 August 2023 4min read

Last month, Sefton Council Virtual School, in partnership with Hugh Baird College, launched a new summer school education programme aimed at supporting children seeking asylum into education.

Dedicated Programme

The programme was aimed at improving participants’ English language skills and setting them up for success in education, post-16. The project was the first of its kind in Sefton and was a dedicated programme for unaccompanied child asylum seekers.

Now at an end, the programme is being hailed a great success by students and professionals alike.

Huge Success

The programme gave young people a warm, supportive atmosphere to learn and grow after a tumultuous period of their lives, as well as space to make connections with other young people and a peer group to move on with and sustain in full time post-16 learning. All students finished the project and in fact, more joined as the programme went on, ending with more students than it started with.

Not only did the programme provide vital educational support and skills for life in the UK, but the young people on the programme will also be given the opportunity to enjoy a variety of enrichment days and cultural activities to help them to settle into their new home. They visited Anfield and went into Liverpool on the Ferry. They used the college kitchens to cook their own food, picking up skills as well as a strong group of friends.

Strong Friendships

This initiative was the latest project to come out of the Sefton Virtual School, who aim to ensure that all cared for children, whatever their starting point, have access to an education that will support them to fulfil their aspirations and achieve their potential. Many of the students will now return to Hugh Baird in September to become a full time student in their chosen subjects.


Mary Palin, Headteacher at Sefton Virtual School said:

“My colleague, Charlie Smith, and I want to thank our partners at Hugh Baird for their dedication and enthusiasm.

“Together, we helped these young people learn the skills they needed not only to embrace education, but to find and grow their unique and individual talents, make friends and become valued members of this community.”


Cllr Diane Roscoe, Cabinet Member for Education said:

“This project is a first for Sefton and it is fantastic to see the Council and Hugh Baird College come together to curate a bespoke summer programme for this cohort of kids who really need that educational support and peer network.

“Children are at the heart of everything we do here in Sefton Children’s Services and it is obvious Hugh Baird have this same strong corporate parenting responsibility towards our kids and want to see all young people in Sefton succeed. 

“This tailor-made programme is the result of the hard work and great partnership between Hugh Baird and the Virtual School and they have put children and young people at the heart of it. I know it will make a real difference to the kids taking part.”


Leanne Harpur, Director of English, Maths and ESOL at Hugh Baird College said:

"We at Hugh Baird College are extremely proud of the accomplishments of our summer school participants.

Witnessing their involvement in enriching activities, developing friendships, and seeing them ready to embark on their post-16 learning journeys has been immensely rewarding. This collaboration with Sefton Council Virtual School demonstrates our shared values and commitment to ensuring accessible, quality education for all. We eagerly look forward to welcoming many of these students back in September for their full-time studies."

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