Kempston Challenger Academy | The Aspen Centre
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The Aspen Centre



Aspen Challenger Academy is a specialist provision for children with an Education and Health Care Plan for Social, Emotional and Mental Health. We have 20 places for pupils aged 11-16 and places are obtained by the SEND team at Bedford Borough.

Pupils come to Aspen from all over Bedford Borough when they are not coping in a mainstream setting, at risk of exclusion or just need somewhere smaller to learn, that caters for their individual needs.

We are a fully inclusive setting where relationships are key to our pupil’s success. We offer a bespoke curriculum which is complemented by therapeutic activities with the aim of enabling the pupil to return to mainstream setting if they want to. Our ‘Aspen attributes’ programme supports pupils’ transition into independence and adulthood and are part of a personalised reward system, driven by, and designed by pupils, to incentivise them and help them to achieve their goals. We have experienced great success in securing pathways beyond year eleven. Pupils have gone into apprenticeships, into college and have even set up their own businesses.

Pupils who have gone back into mainstream education have all been successful and have made friends and remained in the mainstream school with support.

When pupils are offered a place in Aspen they are integrated gradually and have a named key worker who listens to the pupil, gets to know their likes and dislikes, and prepares them to enter the smaller classroom environment of Aspen.

Therapeutic activities such as equine therapy, water sports, fishing and cooking take place within the school day at no extra cost to families. These support teamwork, self-esteem and the mental health of our pupils. We work in partnership with Bedford Borough to provide support for pupils and their families as it’s needed. Pupils are well supported in school by Aspen staff who are trained in all aspects of SEND and where necessary, can signpost children and families to external agencies for support.

We welcome, and encourage visits to Aspen either as a family or for parents and carers wanting to find out more information about what we do.

Contact us on 01234 290910 or