Sophie Appleton

Tuition has helped me a lot as when I first went I had no confidence at all and everything affected me and my mental health. I couldn’t cope and everything was a problem for me to tackle especially issues regarding trust and friendships and feeling like I had nowhere to turn. I went to The Beacon and felt at home as the staff were really helpful and actually listened to you rather than judging you. Tuition helped me to find myself again and get my confidence back. Despite all the struggles I faced I wasn’t alone as they faced them with me and helped me with how my mind was thinking. If it wasn’t for Tuition I wouldn’t be where I am today and I will never forget what they have done for me.

I am now a confident person doing an apprenticeship with St Helens chamber in Hair and Beauty and I love it. I’ve made friends who are positive and I have started to socialise with them all which I never did before as didn’t feel confident enough to go out. I also got myself a job independently in a local clothes shop for girls in St Helens. I go to work after the Chamber every weeknight and I work full days Saturday and Sundays which I really enjoy.

I have progressed so much I am now a key holder! I am so proud of myself and I have made my parents and the staff at Beacon proud as they helped me to get where I am today. I am so thankful to them for helping me achieve what I have.





Ellie Taylor

I truly enjoyed my time spent at Launchpad Tuition. Looking back, it’s elucidated what I never thought was possible nor achievable for myself, all without realising it at the time.

I genuinely feel as though I can get cracking with the rest of my life and that’s thanks to all the amazing teachers who gave me positive reinforcement, without them I wouldn’t be where I am today and for that I am extremely grateful. I’m currently studying Level 3 Advanced Technical Diploma in Animal Care and I got a Distinction* as well as 100% attendance in Level 2, which I’m very proud of. I am also a valued Cats Protection volunteer since leaving Launchpad and I also help out a local dog grooming business every week.

I do understand how hard it is to be a teenager with mental health issues and feeling as though the world is against you but the teachers really do care about their students and I can tell they try their best to make them want to enjoy learning, if nothing else. The staff gave me hope that I was good enough to keep going and that they were there to help me if I needed it. So thank you everyone, I’m going to keep working hard and I guess we’ll see what happens next :)


Katie Grimley

Tuition helped me through a point in my life where I was unable to think about my next day let alone my future. The staff at Tuition helped me with my issues with self-harm, anxiety, trauma and depression through listening and caring about my wellbeing.

After I left Tuition with good grades, I went into Carmel College to study A level Sociology and Fine Art and BTEC Level 3 Health and Social Care.











Scott Drennan

Tuition helped me in so many ways. Every single member of staff is fantastic , they helped me get my confidence back , encouraged me to try new things and always supported me throughout my time there. I can’t thank them enough for what they’ve done for me and I would have never gotten this far without them.

I’m currently working at Whiston Hospital as a Care Assistant and I absolutely love it!

Before I joined Tuition , I would of thought this goal was impossible. But with the help of the staff and friends there, I now know anything is possible and I can’t thank them enough.








Moya Berry

Tuition helped me to complete my GCSEs after missing the whole of Year 10 at mainstream school. It also improved my confidence a little bit and provided support for my personal struggles.

I have just finished my A Levels in Art & Design, Psychology and Biology at Winstanley College and have taken on a third year to complete an Art Foundation course. Additionally, I am running a small business called 'Bezillustration', where I am selling my artwork, prints and cards to people across the country and hoping to expand internationally soon.










Maddy Grindley

I could probably write a manifesto on this place, but I’ll try to keep it as brief as I can. When I came to Tuition one of my biggest problems was being unable to talk to anyone about any problems I was facing, for fear of being judged or burdening anyone. Funnily enough playing whack-a-mole with emotions will end up catching up to you. One of the things Tuition does so well is making people feel comfortable to talk, not by forcing anything out of anybody, or by having a one hour PowerPoint presentation on mental health day once a year, but by simply normalising talking about mental health to where it felt safe and natural to open up, without fear of being a burden and getting into that habit has significantly improved my life.

Tuition also provided me with much-needed community. By nature of going to an alt-ed school you find yourself in a small environment around people that share similar experiences as you, which really speeds up and strengthens the bonding process, and will truly give you friends for life. What really surprised me was how friendly and kind all the teachers were, and how comfortable I felt around all of them, in particular Sarah, my key worker. This woman is a complete angel who went out of her way to help so many of us, and I know personally filled the maternal gap that some students were in need of. She even invited myself and another student to her wedding! Their goal wasn’t to shake you in the hope that some good GCSE’s fall out, but to genuinely get to know you and figure out how best to help you. Every member of staff went completely above and beyond for every single child and I’m honoured I got to meet all of them.

As I stated before, the point of this school isn’t to treat kids as GCSE machines, but to provide a safe place for kids with issues to go to and be helped. However, funnily enough when you feel comfortable and supported in a confidence–boosting environment, it really unlocks a lot of potential in pupils. For example, I started out with English being my weakest subject. Donna took the time to understand how my thought process works, and explained things in a way that just made stuff click a lot easier, and I ended up doing pretty well for it. I more than passed every GCSE and that was made possible by the combined effort of every teacher.

Right now, I’m studying away from home at university. This might seem like an unremarkable achievement, but pre-Tuition I could barely leave my house. Because of the lessons I learned in Tuition I’m able to work, live by myself, study, make new friends and all in all be independent. To kids that don’t know if they’ll make it past the year, or parents that don’t know if their kids will ever lead a normal life, believe me when I say it gets better.








Tia Baker-Wilson

I began my time at Tuition in 2016. At first I was extremely nervous but the staff and students were really welcoming. Before I knew it, Tuition because a second home for me. For the first time in a long time I had people who supported me and wanted to help me no matter the struggles I would face. Sarah, my art teacher and key worker, soon became the main person in my support system. She listened to all of my problems and has never, to this day, turned me away. Sarah and all of the staff have helped me become the person I am today. 

Before going to Tuition, I would never attend school and I would isolate myself from everyone. Rob, the Teacher in charge, however, would not let me do that when I became a student at Launchpad. He would show up to your house and do everything in his power to get students into school. At the time, we would question why he bothered, but he would never give up on any of us. Rob did everything possible to make school a safe space for all the pupils and staff. I soon realised that Rob had my back and that I could rely on him. I am so happy that I listened to all the staff and never gave up. They helped me to achieve these amazing grades and without them it wouldn’t have been possible:

English: 7

Maths: 5

Science: B


Art: A


For now I am focusing on my mental health and trying to get myself back to a stage of being able to work. I know I can do this because if Tuition taught me anything, it was to never give up and that I can be or do anything if I put my mind to it. When I look back on my time at Tuition I can do nothing but smile. The year I spent there changed my life for the better and I am forever thankful to everyone there. I am so proud to say I attended this school.






Olivia Parr

I am going to start this by saying that Tuition brought back the life in me that I thought I had lost forever.

At the age of 14, I started suffering from severe anxiety that impacted my education massively and my wellbeing. This resulted in me leaving my high school and attending Launchpad Tuition. Although I was initially terrified at the idea of attending a new school with new people I surely settled in, the teachers and staff are some of the most helpful and welcoming people I have ever met in my life. There is not one staff member at Tuition that I felt as if I could not turn to if I had problems regarding my mental health or my education. My key worker Sarah ensured that I was always feeling okay and checked up on me constantly. We developed an unbreakable bond and became very close at my time at Tuition, no problem was too little or large for her and she always made me feel at home. The unbreakable bond has carried on since leaving and we keep in close contact which I am so grateful for.

Tuition provided me with a safe environment that I could be myself in and not feel judged as I did in my previous high school. It felt like each day I was returning home to my family. As someone who never struggled academically, I lost the confidence to learn and produce work as a result of the anxiety I suffered within mainstream school. However, my confidence began to grow once again in Tuition with help of the teachers that constantly reinforced the concept that there are no boundaries to what you can achieve. I left with GCSE results I could only have dreamed of considering the circumstances I had faced from the age of 14.

I have stayed in touch with so many of the staff at tuition and constantly make visits to the Beacon to see Gerry who has offered me weekly drop-in sessions to ensure that I am still on track. I left tuition in 2016 and 4 years later they still cannot keep me away! I would happily have stayed there forever if I had the chance. I owe Tuition my everything as they have made me the person that I am today, and I would not like to think about where I would be without them.

It makes me very emotional to reflect on how far I have come. Now in my third year at Liverpool John Moores University on the English Literature BA Honours course (thanks to Donna for bringing back my love for English) and about to apply for a masters degree, which feels CRAZY to even write down in words! Alongside my university education, I work as a singer/musician and work most weekends, which I know sounds insane for someone that suffers from anxiety, but it is a massive part of my life. I have had the opportunity to perform at multiple large events such as The Pride of St Helens and numerous charity events at venues such as The Titanic Hotel and the Mercure in Manchester. Tuition made sure I never lost my passion for music, which is also something on the long list of things that I am forever thankful for.

I will never forget what Tuition did for me. And I will be forever grateful to them for giving me my life back.







Elisha Mines

I came to Tuition in 2012, as a very young girl with extreme OCD and anxiety, both these illnesses made it impossible for me to attend mainstream school. I had no confidence in myself and was extremely behind academically due to my attendance in mainstream school. Without the Tuition Service, I would have still been the same girl I was back in 2012. My Tuition Family helped me conquer my illnesses and showed me ways to deal with them in the future. Especially Rob, he pushed me to my limits, always believed in me, led me in the right direction, with his wise words and advice and he pulled me back up and guided me back on track when things got difficult. He always believed in me and had confidence in me. With all the amazing support I received throughout the 4 short years I was there, I was able to gain 7 GCSEs all grade C or above and an AS in art. This allowed me to go on to Carmel College where I studied: A level Maths, A level Business Studies and A level Psychology. I am now continuing my education at Liverpool John Moores University, studying Psychology where I hope this can progress onto a career within child mental health, to try and repay at least half of what I owe to this place. It has been 4 years since I left Tuition, I am 20 years of age and still when things in life get tough, I always come home to my Tuition Family, who I know will lead me in the right direction and remind me of what I am capable of. Tuition has been my saviour and every single person there are my heroes.




Mia Donaghy

The centre allowed me to get an education when the mainstream couldn't due to my health issues. The staff helped support me through my physical and mental health, helped me get GCSEs which I never believed I could achieve, helped boost my confidence and even showed me an interest in subjects that have led me to study film at university. After feeling out of place in my old school, there I was welcomed with open arms and made to feel comfortable and safe which is something I hadn't felt in a long time in education. Due to the support from the teachers and the understanding of my health I was able to gain 5 GCSEs.

After I left, I went to a traditional college but due to my health, I had to leave and complete my A-Levels online. Then with the help of Marg for a personal statement, I was able to get into university to study Digital Film Production in Liverpool.

I am working on digital content creation and edit short films, podcasts and YouTube videos. For the digital content creation, I create GIFs, graphics and logos for small start-ups to use on their online platforms. Currently, I am waiting for the green light due to Covid, to complete some marine conservation work in Bali whilst documenting it through film and photography. Afterwards I will later be completing a master degree in Post-Production for Television starting in 2021.





Sophie Eccleston

Tuition helped me immensely and I can never praise the staff enough for their ongoing support throughout my time there. Prior to starting Tuition Service I had various mental health problems and an eating disorder which made attending mainstream school difficult and therefore had a negative impact on my grades there too, I was mostly predicted Ds due to my attendance at mainstream school but Tuition saw past that and knew I could strive for great things despite my mental health issues and I left with mostly A-C grades and even an A*. I could never have achieved this if it wasn’t for the staff always being on hand to pick me up and offering various degrees of mental health support and solution focus therapy. Any problem I encountered, no matter how big or small, the staff were always there to talk and that meant everything to me. I couldn’t even put a number on how much support and laughs staff provided me with, particularly Donna and Marg. Every single member of staff in Tuition is a star!

When I left Napier Street I pursued Performing Arts in college, although this was a particular interest of mine I did not want to pursue it at degree level so I got a job working as a full time chemist technician apprentice where my main role was dispensing methadone and providing drug rehabilitation support. During this apprenticeship I gained qualifications and valuable experience within the drug rehabilitation sector, which further inspired my career goals.

I actually went back to college at 20 to gain the relevant qualifications to get me in to university in order to pursue a career in the probation sector. I completed an Access to Higher Education diploma in a year (the equivalent of three A levels, but in half of the time) and achieved 141 UCAS points. I started studying Criminal Justice at John Moores University in September 2019, my first year overall grade was a 69- very high 2:1. I am now starting my second year while working on the test and trace scheme for covid-19.


Tom Astbury

Other than the great quality of the education provided, it gave me a place to adjust to being back in a public space when I'd been isolated for a couple of years. Because of the class sizes and the staff’s abilities I knew what the atmosphere was going to be like day to day and that gave me a point of comfort that I could rely on while adjusting to being around people again. This wasn't something I could do while in mainstream school.

After my GCSEs I briefly went to sixth form at Cowley then moved to study IT at St Helens College. I then studied music there too and ended up with a foundation degree in music from John Moores. I did attend a third year to top the FD up to a BA but the course material changed from acoustics and technical areas of music and sound recording to performance analysis and semiotics which didn't hold my interest.

After university I gained some funding to start a business repairing instruments. I ran that alongside part time work for a few years before deciding to get a more regular full time job. I worked in a finance and admin role in adult education for a couple of years. About 18 months ago I started working as an administrator in the transport department for a St Helens based company that manufactures decking, wood mouldings and staircase parts and for the last year or so I've been running the department. Before Covid we ran a fleet of 6 HGVs delivering to retailers all around the UK which I would plan the routes for and manage the drivers, we usually covered 6,000 miles per week over the 6 drivers. Now we're only using 1 in-house driver and using couriers, which in a way is more of a challenge.

Having worked in a few different industries I'd have to say this is the one I've enjoyed the most and one in which I fell in to and it just suited me.


James Mawdsley

Well the short answer is it gave me back my life. It sounds cliché but it's true. You could view life and your ability to live it as a house. When I first went to Tuition, I had no walls, no doors, no roof, nothing. My life as far as I was concerned had been shattered like glass on the floor. Tuition quite literally breathed life back into me. I think the main thing was trust, it took some work but I came to trust the staff and other students there and that provided the foundation for everything that's followed. From being able to socialise with other students there without feeling that there was the possibility of being bullied to the lessons and activities, it all helped rebuild what I had lost. I can't convey really, using words, how much Tuition helped me, it's just something that I do strongly believe was and is effective at helping you deal with whatever it is you’re going through as well as providing safety and structure in the best environment possible.

Alrighty, so I left Tuition and took the plunge into College. It wasn't easy and took some measures from the college itself at the time to integrate me into college life, however once I found out that it wasn’t as let's say, scary as it first seemed, it turned out to be one of the best times in my life. I was aiming to go to university and study something history related but didn't get the grades and the thought of resitting one exam whilst doing all of the following years was not an enticing one! So I ended up coming out of College with more IT qualifications than history. I then decided to apply for a few courses, can't remember all of what I applied for honestly, but ended up getting accepted to LJMU for Computer Animation and Visualisation. I actually met one of my friends on the first day as I was slightly late to the course introduction and had to sit at the back of the room! He sat down and asked to borrow a pen and that was that!  University was another period of my life much like college that was absolutely fantastic.

I came out of LJMU after 3 years with a BSc (Hons)

(Again I'd like to point out that none of this would've been possible without Tuition)

What are you doing now?

I'm currently working as an ICT Technician in a high school.


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