Case study ten: Kibble Education

Brief Description of The Provision

Kibble Education and Care Centre[1] is a social enterprise situated in Paisley. Among the services provided are open residential and secure care, fostering and day education for upwards of 100 young people aged between 5 and 24. At the time of our visit, 22 young people attend during the day for their schooling. The site visited houses secondary aged pupils but there is another site where primary students attend. The reception is decorated with certificates of outstanding practice. Wall charts display the trustees and board of directors of Kibble.

Content and Delivery

There is a high staff-pupil ratio at Kibble. There is a thorough cover policy to ensure there are always sufficient staff.

Kibble provides highly personalised learning options and the focus is on learning being relevant, meaningful and challenging. Multiple support systems are in place in the school. Each young person has a personal learning plan, including a support timetable. Timetables are flexible and often bespoke.

The morning assembly is attended by all staff and most of the students. Assemblies are used to promote positive messages. While attendance is expected, young people are not forced to go to the assembly; for some of them it can be problematic because of the large size of the group. Some young people do not yet have the confidence to come into assembly, this is something they work on at other times in the school day e.g. in drama lessons. Nigel (senior member of staff) led the assembly. He read out all of the behaviour points (see section on Rules and Discipline) that young people had received the day before, and these were applauded.

Staff and students eat lunch together. There are different spaces to eat across the campus, so lunch takes place in small groups, and is therefore easier for staff to manage.

The young people take a range of subjects and the school satisfies the curriculum diversity promoted by Curriculum for Excellence. The offer includes;

  • Literacy
  • Numeracy
  • Health and Wellbeing
  • Language
  • Maths
  • Sciences
  • Social Subjects
  • Expressive Arts
  • Technologies
  • Religious and Moral Education

Among the non-Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA[2] awards available at Kibble are:

  • Asdan’s Certificate of Personal Effectiveness (COPE[3]) award
  • Scottish Studies
  • Young Enterprise
  • Foreign Travel
  • Fishing
  • Duke of Edinburgh
  • Sports Leadership
  • Voltec Industries
  • Koestler Trust[4]
  • HeartStart[5]
  • Saltire[6]

Curriculum for Excellence includes interdisciplinary learning, and Kibble offers:

  • Pantomime
  • Sports Day
  • Gannochy Festival[7]
  • Art Exhibition

Curriculum for Excellence includes learning about the Ethos and Life of the School, and at Kibble there is:

  • Peer mentoring
  • Peer education
  • Assembly programme
  • School social events e.g. bake-off, Easter celebration

Peace Education

Kibble have a Multi-Cultural Studies and ‘Peace Education’ lesson which was visited during the research. This subject was introduced when the previous R.E teacher left as RE was not always received well by the young people. The teacher is a peace activist and an educational advisor to an international peace organisation and he asked if he could teach peace education,

so rather than looking at the individual religions I would like to introduce the kids to recognising the religions which exist within their communities and how that person’s religious beliefs affects their behaviour and how their behaviour then affects our attitude towards them. So it was really about the different beliefs that exist within the community and how they can impact on each other and recognising that one of the greatest causes of conflict is ignorance. So if we can awaken people’s awareness to the existence of other beliefs and how issues which affect society are viewed in different ways by different religious beliefs then we will have a greater understanding” (peace education teacher).

The teacher wrote his own curriculum and created his own materials. He has produced 11 units, which have also now been taken up by some counties in Maryland and Texas. Their understanding of the word peace

  • Values
  • Maslow’s hierarchy of needs
  • Why young people join gangs; why are gangs violent
  • Why do some young people resort to self-harming
  • Human rights and the United Nations Convention
  • Self-esteem.
  • Manners “because we can’t always rely on our parents to teach their children what good manners are”.
  • Bullying and what it is like to be different
  • Morality
  • Passivism
  • Weapons of mass destruction
  • Sectarianism
  • Prejudice and discrimination, where they cover stereotyping, gender inequality, racism, discrimination based on disability, euthanasia, abortion and homophobia.
  • Man’s inhumanity to man – they have been looking at the holocaust
  • The nature of conflict, conflict resolution and the conflict cycle.
  • Non-violence where they look at Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King and the Bill of Human Rights.
  • Music as a vehicle for change, including protest songs, social songs, songs of freedom, songs of peace, anti-war songs, anti-racism songs.

Peace Studies curriculum

The teacher takes opportunities to bring the subject alive and make it relevant by connecting it to real life wherever possible. Students are able to share experiences if they wish, and the teacher shares his experiences too. During the research visit the session was focused on discrimination; students looked at the example of Auschwitz. The teacher brought in an Auschwitz cross for the young people to look at and touch, and some photos for them to look at. For the last four years the teacher has, with support from the school and The Scottish Government, taken a group of students to Auschwitz.

The sessions are designed to promote discussion, debate and exploration                                         within a safe and confidential space. Shared information cannot be used outside of the class as a vehicle for bullying. However, if anything is shared that constitutes a safeguarding concern, the teacher must pass this on to the appropriate person.

The teacher’s priority is not the qualification per se. He sees the course as a personal journey for each young person, and his aim is to leave them with a heightened understanding of who they are. However, the course is assessed using National Assessment frameworks, explicitly develops literacy and communication skills and papers are completed in timed conditions and are internally assessed.

Preparing for Work:

In the later years of schooling, the emphasis on work experience becomes increasingly important. KibbleWorks ( see below) is a collective of social enterprises that provide employment and training to young people while offering services to the Renfrewshire community.

Young people are trained in all aspects of growing fruit and vegetables and compostingThe produce is used by Kibble kitchens to provide young people and staff with healthy meals.

  • FrameWorks
    A picture framing business that trains young people in the craft and aesthetics of framing
  • GroundBreakers
    A horticultural business that trains young people in a variety of gardening skills from basic maintenance to landscaping
  • Knibbles
    A catering service that trains young people in food production, health and safety and front of house
  • MowerWorks
    A lawnmower repair business that teaches young people the mechanics of repairing and maintaining lawnmowers
  • Oskar’s
    A re-use and recycling service that teaches young people about logistics, restoration, large scale cleaning, painting and decorating and customer service
  • PromoWorks
    A promotional goods business that teaches young people about design and printing techniques
  • RoadWorks
    A mechanics service that trains young people in vehicle repair and maintenance


Young people can also access a range of ‘tasters’ in different areas of employment. Kibble offers City and Guilds qualifications through some of the KibbleWorks programmes.

KibbleWorks also provide support with CV preparation and advice for young people ready to move on from supported employment. They build relationships with local businesses. In the future they hope to have an employment coordinator overseeing this aspect of their work.

Identifying Features of Quality


Student safety and well-being is a primary concern throughout Kibble, particularly as they provide full time care for many young people as well as education. Other aims are enshrined within Getting it Right for Every Child (GIRFEC[8]) and Curriculum for Excellence[9],. KibbleWorks highlights their focus on supporting vulnerable young people, particularly those in the care system and those leaving secure care, to make successful transitions beyond compulsory education.

Target Group

Kibble caters for a spectrum of needs. Some of the young people attend for the day, some live at Kibble in the residential units, and others are placed in their secure care provision. Some only attend KibbleWorks and engage in the work-based programmes. There are many looked after children using their provisions; many care leavers[10] and young people leaving secure care[11]accessing KibbleWorks. Many young people at Kibble have experienced extreme trauma, and some of the young people self-harm. KibbleWorks is also used by young people seeking qualifications.


In order to work with their young people, it is very important for staff to be flexible and to be able to go with the flow. Kibble thus recognise the importance of investing in staff, and this requires financial investment. They encourage staff to present at national and international conferences, and to engage in research. Kibble also has a ‘good practice’ group which synthetises new policies and research, making it accessible for the wider staff. They have their own ethical committee for research. They invite external academics and stakeholders to visit and discuss research with them.

In 2014, Kibble completed work with two universities on a degree in social pedagogy. All staff have completed a short social pedagogy course, including admin and catering staff, as this is seen as the responsibility of all staff. There are also staff workshops on what it means to be a key worker for a child, and this includes aspects of social pedagogy.

All teachers have annual development reviews as part of a CPD cycle. In 2014, the new head teacher undertook a review of this process. The plan is now to introduce a new professional update process at least once a year to make CPD more rigorous.   Staff are encouraged to see what training is available and we were told that they are usually supported to access training and development opportunities that they request. Friday afternoons are left open for in-service training. There is mandatory training in safeguarding and handling.

The teaching staff is made up of principal teachers, teachers and instructors. Principal teachers (senior teaching staff) must have QTS. Instructors do not have to have QTS but some have been supported to do the TQFE qualification towards becoming teachers. Some of their qualified teachers have/are working towards an MSc. All staff have a professional background in care and they are working towards all staff having a minimum of an SVQ 3 in social care. They are also encouraging all staff towards a degree qualification in social pedagogy.   At KibbleWorks there is an Employability Manager to oversee the work. Other staff are dual qualified in their own trade and in child and youth care. One of their ex-students now has a role in the admin team at the school.

Kibble use the national pay scale. This gives recognition for the skills and experience staff bring. Kibble award pay increments to those who possess a SVQ level four qualification, including the modules/degree Kibble have helped to design.


Before the morning assembly there is a morning meeting which all of the students attend. The care manager informs the staff about any events that have occurred overnight. Teachers, instructors and teaching assistants are invited to make any comments and/or to discuss any concerns. The meeting canvasses strategies and ways to move forward with any difficulties. During our visit there was a discussion about a young person being bullied during which staff offered suggestions for how this could be dealt with sensitively. The morning meeting enables Kibble to share information and to build up a picture of the young people and how they are faring, based on different staff perspectives.

Safety and Safeguarding

There are a range of specific safety measures in the secure unit. There has to be a different mentality in terms of safety in the secure unit. Even losing a pencil can be a very worrying situation.

Throughout the school staff have to be cautious of self-harm. All staff are trained in Safe Crisis Management – a process for de-escalating situations before they go too far. All staff are trained in how to hold young people safely if required.

Rules and Discipline

Kibble have moved towards giving young people more autonomy and choices. Timetables are flexible and individualised to fit with the specific needs and difficulties of each young person. However, there are explicit boundaries and common procedures across the campus, and additional restrictions in the residential and secure care areas. Staff can award points for positive behaviour. These are celebrated in daily assemblies.

Monitoring of progress

Education Scotland staff told us that Kibble have model systems for tracking learning and engagements and their work in this area is used an as example of best practice. Kibble’s systems have the Scottish Government frameworks at their heart. They include frameworks aligned with ‘care’ as well as those aligned with ‘education’.

Kibble uses the 8 indicators of wellbeing from the Scottish Government GIRFEC directive, which come into play when supporting young people with complex needs. Safe: are the young people safe?

Well being indicators

Students ratings from 1-6

  • Healthy: Are they healthy? Weight, medical check-ups, dentist etc
  • Achieving: Educational and social targets
  • Nurtured: Do they get to see their family? Are there secure attachments?
  • Active: Do they participate in physical activity? E.g. in group activities
  • Responsible: Do they take responsibility for their actions?
  • Respected: Do they show and gain respect?
  • Included: Are they part of a group? Are they included in different things and taking part?

Every student at Kibble has a key tutor who rates them from 1-6 on the four capacities specified in the national Curriculum for Excellence viz:

  • Successful Learners
  • Responsible Citizens
  • Being confident Individuals
  • Effective Contributors

Young people are evaluated against these four capacities every 6 weeks. This changes to every 3 months once it is agreed that the young person has settled in. In the least risky cases, young people will be evaluated against the four capacities every 6 months. Graphs are created to monitor changes. Evaluations against the four capacities are accompanied by a meeting which may include inter alia educational psychologists, parents/carers, social workers and other relevant parties.

Like every other pupil in Scotland, every Kibble pupil has a pupil profile record which contains all of the information and progress data they have on each young person. Pupil progress grids have been developed to track students’ achievement in their subjects. A colour coding is used to reflect the progress and level of each student. Green means that they have achieved a their target level in a subject, red means they are not there yet, yellow means it has been introduced and they are making progress towards it, and white means it has not yet been introduced.

All young people have an Individualised Education Programme. This includes the following:

  • An assessment of the young person’s academic ability and additional support needs, and suggested support strategies
  • A copy of their timetable
  • A summary of their progress in their subjects (for example: English, Maths, Social Subjects, Home Economics, ICT, PE, Art and Design, Music and Craft/Enterprise). This is colour coded. Green means progress is very good; yellow means progress is steady; red means requiring improvement.
  • A written report by each of their teachers for each of their subjects.
  • A student’s development is expressed through a range of charts and graphs and through descriptions of how much support they require, according to a 6 stage framework. This goes from ‘requiring intensive levels of support’ to ‘occasional prompts required’.
  • The young person’s progress towards the four key goals of CfE are documented. These are: 1) successful learners 2) Confident Individuals 3) Responsible Citizens 3) Effective Contributors. Supporting evidence is requested to support six point scale gradings.


Kibble is organised as a continuum of provision; they cater for young people with diverse needs and abilities. Timetables are flexible. Some of the young people with autism have an altered timetable. There is a single sex girls residential unit.


Kibble receive referrals from across Scotland, the UK and Ireland.

Each Scottish LA has an Additional Support Needs Coordinator, often a headteacher, educational psychologist or social worker.   The ASN in placing authorities will consider the appropriateness of Kibble, fill in a basic form and then the Kibble duty team follow this up and make a decision. Then a variety of information is collected, including a chronology of the young person and their background. This information is far more focused on social and family factors, rather than educational factors. Kibble follow up the referral with a call to the school and start to build a picture of the young person. They request the personal learning plan from schools.

When a young person joins Kibble, a one sheet of A4 profile of the young person is sent around to all staff. This provides basic information about the young person; e.g. their level.

Relationships with Students

Teachers emphasised to us how important relationships are in terms of risk management. Training focuses on using these relationships to de-escalate situations. Building relationships is thus paramount. A teacher told us that it would be a mistake to assume that, because you are a teacher, you deserve respect from the young people. That approach will not work. Instead respect is mutual and must be earned. If you a have a relationship with the students then

they are more likely to want to work with you and impress you by the quality of their work. They will have an increased interest in learning and, through that, they experience a growth in self-esteem and that makes them more confident when it comes to the time for them to move on to the next stage of their learning. So I think it all comes down to their relationship with the teacher and I want them to be able to come in and be fully relaxed. And there has to be a relaxed atmosphere and I think that is important. I think that is probably one of the most important things that teachers have to learn. You’re subject is secondary; it’s about how you engage with the kids and how they enjoy something which, in many ways, might be a dry subject” (peace education teacher).

Relationship with parents

There is considerable variation in relationships with parents, depending on whether the young person is in care or not, and the surrounding circumstances. In 2014, the educational section in Kibble worked to develop a way of regularly communicating the CfE progress information to parents.

Resources and Networks

Kibble have a CPD project with Paisley University, through which staff can access courses on social pedagogy. Kibble work hard to build up relationships with local providers in order to enhance the opportunities they can offer their students.

Relationships with other Services and Agencies

A range of professionals and agencies work with Kibble, due to the nature of the young people they care for and educate. Social workers and educational psychologists were mentioned frequently.


Kibble is based on a large campus and there are many relatively small buildings. Some of these are part of the school, and some are residential units. There is also a secure unit with surveillance and security checks in place. Kibble quick to repair any damage to the buildings.

Evaluation and Quality Assurance

Lessons are observed formally and informally by the most senior teacher. Formal observations are expected to be accompanied by a lesson plan. Both the plan and the lesson are discuss d afterwards.

Kibble use the ‘how good is our school’ self-evaluation tool.   They are inspected by Education Scotland (HMIE) and the Care Commissioner Inspectorate every four years. A senior teacher and the head teacher are involved in inspections and they also go to inspect other schools.

Transformation (choice and autonomy)

The multi-cultural peace education course has a transformative purpose; to support young people to explore their own views and prejudices within the context of wider debates about difference and prejudice. Young people are encouraged to open-up and share their experiences. The teacher sees this course as providing young people with a heightened understanding of who they are, what the influences have been in their life, and which of these might have been good and which might have been bad. This is particularly important as many of their young people come from

“…very fragmented and dysfunctional backgrounds and some of their role models have not been the greatest. So we try to challenge some of the preconceived ideas that the kids may hold and let them see, through discussion, that some of the things we might have previously held to be true are in fact worth challenging”( peace education teacher.

This is particularly important as Scotland continues to become more diverse.

Kibble has a history of wider work in the education and care area. In the 1990s they received Danish social pedagogy students on placements. They have trained numerous social work students. The Brighter Futures Higher Aspirations report of 2009[12] said that residential workers should be educated to degree level in order to raise the calibre of the profession. Kibble looked at what they could offer and have created some modules which can be taken on their own, or as a group as a degree qualification. Many staff have taken these modules, which are at SQ4 level. Kibble have invested a lot in training over the years.

A Kibble website is being launched in 2014. There is often a lot of interest in the work that is being done with vulnerable young people, and in Kibble, because it has a long history. Kibble want to ensure that they have a good public image and that they are able to communicate with a wider public about the work that they do.


[1] These were the researcher’s observations and interpretations based on a one day visit. Kibble Education and Care provide a considerable range of services across their campus and the researcher was only able to see a small part of this during the visit.













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