THE tireless efforts of staff at a school are helping youngsters facing difficult problems get their lives back on track.
Insights School and Skills Academy, based in Alexandria Road, West Ealing, gives its pupils - many of whom may have been excluded for their challenging behaviour as a result of emotional or social distress - a fighting chance to get qualifications and learn vital life skills.
It is a social enterprise with all profits going back into the school.
Principal Barbara Quartey was nominated for her unstinting commitment to the 40 young people, aged seven to 19, Insights cares for.
"We're one of the last chance places," she said. "Many of our students have complex emotional, social and behavioural needs, some have learning needs and some are gifted and talented.
"What we aim to do is give them another opportunity, by providing a nurturing environment in which they can learn skills to enable them to contribute positively to mainstream society."
Students are referred from 10 local authorities across greater London and arrive at Insights with a range of needs - Attention DeficitHyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Oppositional Conduct Disorder, and anger management issues. Some are on the child protection register, in care or have been exposed to drugs, alcohol and domestic violence early on in their lives.
Ms Quartey added: "We want them to leave with the social skills that will help them to manage emotions and qualifications to give them currency in the world, so that they can go onto further education, training or employment."
At Insights,the youngsters are given individual programmes with a strong focus on emotional development supported by a team of therapists, counsellors and mentors.
The school also works closely with parents and provides family support programmes to give them the best chance of succeeding.
Ms Quartey said although it can be challenging at times, the best part of her job is seeing students transform into positive young people, many of whom leave with GCSEs and vocational qualifications, with a place at college or employment - which before Insights seemed impossible.
The s1,000 prize money could help towards an educational trip to New York,as many of the students come from families who cannot afford to do so.