UN graduate sets up school for young people with Special Needs

Date 12.11.2015

A PhD graduate from the University of Northampton’s School of Education opened a brand new school last month, that caters for young people with various special needs that include autism, ADHD, dyslexia and Tourette’s.

Abide Zenenga, who graduated with his Doctor of Philosophy in Education this summer, has been working with young people with special needs for the past 19 years. Abide launched the Golden Academy, in Birmingham, to educate and promote the employment and independence of vulnerable young people with special needs.

Abide explained: “Our aim is to create an SEN-friendly (Special Educational Needs) school that promotes creative thinking and entrepreneurship. This is done through personalised teaching that meets the needs of each individual young person.  Our curriculum is very practical, involving the study of animals and horticulture, with small animals and trees in the classrooms. There is also a student-run tuck-shop to help the children develop entrepreneurial skills as part of their business studies. Through such hands-on learning experience, the young people will have experience of the real world.”

Golden Academy staff

The University of Northampton’s Enterprise Club, which offers business advice to staff and students, supported Abide with funding for the venture. Hiten Vyas, Enterprise Club advisor, explained: “The Enterprise Club has supported Abide through match-funding we received from UnLtd’s SEE Change scale and growth programme. We used this funding to offer Abide a funded place on the University’s Social Venture Builder programme, and also provided him with a cash grant.” Abide has also received support from academic colleagues from the University, who will maintain links with the school during the initial phase of its development.

Hiten continued: “Abide’s school has resulted from his passion for helping young people with autism combined with years of experience as an educator of young people with special needs. The venture has financial investment, and backing from a local businessperson, along with a passionate and dedicated team.  Abide is the perfect leader to make this venture a success; which has the potential to create on-going social impact for years to come.”

For more information regarding Golden Academy, visit the school’s website. The school is also on Twitter: @golden_academy1. For more information, email goldenacademybirmingham2@gmail.com or telephone: 0121 678 2942.