What is YouVersity?
We have a commitment to bring the self-awareness and empowerment of young people to the top of the agenda in the UK education system.
YouVersity is an education start-up that finds new approaches to tackling problems within UK education. We do this by designing and delivering innovative programmes that work with the wider communities around young people, including families, school staff and peer groups. This holistic approach seeks to improve the young persons attitude to learning, increase the support that surrounds them and decrease instances of negative behaviour, school exclusions and classroom disruption. The central objective being to improve the chances of successful learning for all students.
Why is a holisitic approach to supporting young people needed?
Young people are struggling. Increased mental health issues, increased pressure, increased distractions, increased debt, increased stress levels and an education that too often feels uninspiring and irrelevant. And yet, children are born experts in learning and absorbing the world around them. Young people want to learn. YouVersity works in schools, in the home and within the community to build, maintain and develop positive relationships with young people to help them improve their approach to learning and successfully move forward with their life.
Families are struggling. Pressures of modern life, financial uncertainty, poverty, lack of community, lack of support. And yet every parent or carer wants their children to be happy, fulfilled and successful. The communities within which young people live have a profound impact on their attitudes to learning and the role it plays in their lives. That is why we design and deliver programmes that support families though individual and group sessions, workshops and peer support groups.
Teachers & school staff are struggling. Challenging behaviour, long hours, pressure to succeed, top down targets, low pay for many and a lack of support. And yet, they are committed to helping young people every day and work to prepare them for life in a changing world. YouVersity offers training, support and professional develt to those working with young people. We focus on improving education professionals abilities to develop, maintain and deepen positive relationships with the young people they work with.
The YouVersity model is to design and develop holistic approaches to specific challenges within the education system. For example the CORE programme will be YouVersity's first within a state school. It works with six year 8 students (13 years old) at the London Nautical School in Lambeth. CORE will provide them with space in their curriculum to explore their own self-directed projects, with the aim being to help them reconnect them with the joy of learning and better understand its relevance to their lives. Vital to the project is that we will also be simutaneously providing learning and support to their families and to the teachers and school staff through training, workshops and peer support groups. It is this holistic approach that transforms the climate of learning that surrounds the young person and creates the environment within which they can succeed. The CORE programme is a pilot scheme specifically designed to reduce the number of fixed-term exclusions as a result of disruptive behaviour in the classroom, of which there were over 53,000 in 2013-14 in English secondary schools.
Why are we Crowdfunding?
YouVersity needs your support to begin its journey. Half of the £5,000 that YouVersity is trying to raise will contribute to the start up costs of the company, helping with our programme design, marketing and online presence. It means that we can further develop our work and better share our passion and ideas with the organisations and individuals who can support our growth, widen our influence and deepen our impact. The other half will be used to support the initial phase of my Doctor of Education (EdD) programme at the University of Brighton, this will help provide the academic foundations upon which YouVersity will be built.
This research will also continue to develop my own theory of Conscious Truancy and seek to better understand why young people opt out of conventional education and how we can all more effectively navigate the new learning lanscape that the digital world provides.
Who is Leo Sedgley?
I'm Leo Sedgley and I am the founder of Youversity. A trained teacher and former senior manager within further education I have nine years of experience working with young people who have been struggling within a mainstream school or college. In that time, both in the classroom and as a leader of teams and organisations, I have seen the benefits to young people, their families and communities of a more holistic approach to learning. The majority of young people I have worked with over the last nine years are experiencing challenges at home as well as at school or college, therefore, I continue to develop my own skills through training to work with families and co-leading parenting support groups.
My personal experiences are at the origins of why I am passionate about supporting teenagers and their families. I left home at 16 shortly after my parents separated and I subsequently became estranged from my family for a number of years. During this difficult time, whilst living in a bedsit and working to pay rent, staying in education and continuing to learn and move forward kept me on a positive path, leading to university and out of a very difficult situation. I believe that learning saved me and helped me find a path through life that inspires and enthuses me daily.
YouVersity exists to help young people stay on their own positive path and create a life that they love and, where possible, the support of their families and wider community.
Having worked with Leo we are struck by his conviction, vast experience and ideas on strategies on how to reach our young men.....He has a way about him that is extremely engaging and calm and we believe that he will be able to develop a template that could turn around the life chances for these boys and cohorts to follow. We have really appreciated his hands-on approach and have already developed a positive working relationship with Leo
Catherine Wilberforce - Assistant Headteacher, Key stage 3. The London Nautical School
"I had almost daily close contact with Leo and found him to be highly professional in all areas and a man with a keen intellect, an innate sense of how best to work with challenging and disengaged students and a terrific manager who was able to motivate and get the very best from the staff under his charge."
Andy Oakes - Home-School Liaison Manager, Ark William Parker Academy
I worked with Leo Sedgley for over 3 years, variously as his colleague and manager. Leo will never be anything other than a committed and gifted educationalist, particularly when supporting young people with barriers to learning or attainment. Leo’s classroom craft skills and creative approach to programme design make him a valuable practitioner and a great advocate for the value of alternative education. Leo was great fun to work with and has a great deal more to offer.
Richard Freeman - CEO always possible Ltd
As you will see, I am offering a range of rewards for your donations. Everybody contributing at least £10 will receive my thanks, upadtes on the growth of YouVersity and "I Love YouVersity" merchandise. As pledges increase so will the value of the rewards.
I am offering very practical, personal support to parents/young people in return for your generosity. This starts with a 1-hour phone or Skype session for a £50 donation all the way up to the design and delivery of a bespoke family/young person programme tailored to your specific needs and circumstances for a donation £1000.
Please be aware that all rewards involving group or individual sessions must be arrange with YouVersity at a time to suit both parties and must be used within 12 months of your pledge. Also note that there are limited numbers of these rewards available and rewards are only valid if YouVersity raises the full £5000 or more.
Thank you for taking the time to read this and I thank you for considering making a donation to YouVersity.