Prince’s Trust award for former Earlsheaton pupil

JAMIE-LEIGH Whitehead’s school attendance was just 23 per cent when she was enrolled in a special programme backed by the Prince’s Trust.

Now the former Earlsheaton Technology College pupil, pictured, is taking the first steps towards a hairdressing career at Kirklees College where she has not missed a single class.

And last Friday she returned to her old school to receive a Prince’s Trust educational achiever of the year for Yorkshire and Humber award.

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Jamie-Leigh, 16, said: “I didn’t used to think I would get a place in college or get any exams. My attendance was less than 30 per cent, but by the time I left school it was 96 per cent.”

The turning point came when Jamie Leigh joined the XL Club, an initiative run by Earlsheaton and the Prince’s Trust. The club, which supports pupils with low attendance, is run by staff members Pauline Ratcliffe and Claire Mitchell.

Mrs Ratcliff, said: “Jamie-Leigh had such low self-esteem. She kept saying she would never get on a college course. But because her attendance went up, it put her English and Maths up a full grade. When she rang to say she had got her college place, we were all really delighted.”

Jamie-Leigh, of Hazel Avenue, Chickenley, was also given the chance to take part in training courses through the XL Club.

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“I took part in a course at Mark Betts in Dewsbury which gave me my level 1 hairdressing certificate,” she said. “I was debating whether to do animal care or hairdressing, but when I did that course I knew straightaway.”

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