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Our mission is to provide accessible, approachable and aspirational support in a way that puts learners at the heart of the decision-making process

Our Story

Founded by directors with a wealth of experience in engaging young people with additional needs, the Utopia model acknowledged that accelerated academic progress could be made by adopting a different approach.

Over the past 9 years Utopia has supported hundreds of young people with additional needs, gaining outcomes and supporting progression through Alternative Provision. Our mission to provide Accessible, Approachable and Aspirational support in a way that puts learners at the heart of the decision-making process has created a culture and environment of collaboration, with learners and parents alike.

It is our responsibility to provide a safe, caring and nurturing environment that learners can access with confidence. Our ability to build trusting and meaningful relationships helps us to affect positive change, helps young people to realise their potential and creates a sense of belonging for all learners who are part of our community.

Holistic Approach

At Utopia we have an experienced and dedicated team of staff who go above and beyond to support the young people we work with. Our staff ensure accelerated progress for all learners because we genuinely care.

We believe that holistic approaches to learning, that involve young people, parents/carers and multi agencies significantly improve engagement and the chance of long term positive change.

The Utopia curriculum places particular emphasis on

  • High levels of parent and carer engagement High levels of parent and carer engagement
  • Enhanced collaboration with professionals (i.e. Social workers, Therapists, Educational Psychologists)
  • Effective communication links between external agencies
  • A diverse curriculum offer
  • Age appropriate and relevant practical ‘life based’ activities
  • Supported transition to FE, work placements or Traineeships
  • Supporting the mental and physical wellbeing of it’s young people.
Meet the team

With a wealth of experience in education settings, ranging from mainstream and SEND schools, to charity based youth development programmes and mental health support services our expertise enables us to engage and achieve positive outcomes for young people with a range of additional needs.

Staff are highly trained behaviour management specialists with extensive knowledge and experience in delivering alternative education provision to young people.

Chris Black Managing Director

Chris is a highly experienced Teacher with over 18 years experience in education. He is an advocate for educational equality and has worked in both mainstream and SEND schools with a wide spectrum of young people.

He has a proven track record in raising attainment across a variety of subjects including; English and Maths and also delivers; Assessment for Learning and Behaviour Management training.

Alice McMullen Administrator

Having worked in alternative education settings since leaving college Alice is an experienced and outstanding office administrator. She supports the day to day running of centre, monitoring attendance and liaising with parents. She is also the exams officer for the centre, managing registrations, quality assurance and qualification claims.

Alice enjoys establishing positive relationships with young people and their families and is always on hand to offer advice and support.

Danny Cooke Operations Director and AP Head of Centre

Danny is a Qualified Youth and Community worker with a Post Graduate Certificate in Attachment, Trauma and Mental health who has been working with young people in alternative settings for the past 15 years. Danny manages the day to day planning and implementation of all Utopia’s services and is an experienced Safeguarding lead with a wealth of knowledge in supporting young people and their families.

Danny has spent time working in SEND schools and has been involved in delivering in-house and external behaviour management training to both professionals and parents. Danny has also worked delivering therapeutic interventions to young people with a variety of mental health needs.

Emma Partridge English Lead

Emma has been teaching in alternative education settings for 20 years and specialises in working with young people who have multiple complex behavioural needs. She holds a Masters degree in adolescent neurological development and a PhD in educational engagement.

Emma has experience in teaching a variety of subjects but specialises in English functional skills, GCSE language and literature at Utopia.

Philip Murray Director of Community Strategy

Phil is a BA Hons Playwork graduate who has worked with children and young people across a variety of settings over the past 18 years. Experience within mainstream & SEMH education and community projects has enabled Phil to gain an understanding in effective interventions for some of the most disengaged and vulnerable young people and families locally. Working to improve outcomes across education, mental health and in the community through creating delivering and evaluating outstanding projects.

Phil also volunteers as a trustee of a local mental health charity, a small youth charity and a disability football coach to support the community across merseyside.

Lauren Collier Maths Lead

Having studied her PGCE at Liverpool Hope University 2021, Lauren is qualified maths teacher with a BA in Business Economics. She is passionate about promoting an interest of maths in learners who previously struggled to engage with education. She has a background in teaching both young people and adults and always finds ways to engage learners no matter what their ability levels are.

Lauren specialises in Maths functional skills, GCSE Maths at Utopia.

Join our team

We work closely with the local community to provide exciting opportunities for our learners and welcome support.

What to do next

Interested in what we do? Contact us to arrange a visit

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