Lancashire TelegraphCaring Darwen school helps teen thrive (From Lancashire Telegraph)

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Caring Darwen school helps teen thrive

Lancashire Telegraph: Leah Murphy  and, below, some of the publicity material she appears in  Picture: ANA TODD Leah Murphy and, below, some of the publicity material she appears in Picture: ANA TODD

A TEENAGER who suffered from anxiety and emotional problems has turned her life around thanks to a revolutionary new school.

Leah Murphy had little confidence when she started at Darwen Aldridge Enterprise Studio last September.

But after immersing herself in the school’s ‘family environment’ she has thrived academically and will now feature on billboard posters advertising the school in the town.

Leah, 17, of Hindle Street, struggled at school, having spent time at Darwen Vale and Darwen Academy, before moving to the St Thomas Centre in Blackburn which specialises in educating children with emotional problems.

She said: “Since coming to the Enterprise Studio I have achieved a lot more and shown that I have potential.

“I have managed to get A grades and distinctions in work I have done. Everyone has helped me greatly and I would really recommend this school to other people.

“I am glad I came here because of the achievements I have made.”

After improving her confidence at DAES, Leah was also able to get work at Capita at India Mill in the town as part of the school’s links with local businesses.

She said: “I also managed to get employed through coming here, which has helped grow my confidence and make me more employable in the future.

“I had been for an interview there before but didn’t get the job but after coaching at school the bosses at Capita said they had seen a massive improvement in me.”

Principal Ruth Bradbury said: “Because we are a small school, students like Leah who have struggled with confidence get much more support.

“The relationship between staff and students means we know how to get to the bottom of their issues because we work very closely with them.”

The school offers students, aged 14 and 19, the chance to gain mainstream qualifications, delivered through real commercial business-based projects, and successfully links them with the world of work through a placement programme in partnership with companies such as Capita and Crown Paints.

It will move out of its current base at DACA in Sudell Road this September when the school will move to its own building at the former Model Lodging House in Police Street.

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