Our education success stories
Throughout our 20 schools across the UK, we are able to effectively split our specialist education provision where needed.
This means that we are equally capable of providing dedicated learning environments tailored to the unique needs of children and young people with social and emotional issues, as well as offering specialist care and education for children on the autism spectrum, or to those who have associated learning difficulties.
We take a look at examples of typical case studies within our Education division, which goes some way towards highlighting the positive differences we are able to make in ensuring that all children and young people we provide care and learning support towards are able to maximise their personal development and learning capabilities within a nurturing and understanding framework that allows them to progress.
Bradley (Meadowcroft School)
Bradley arrived at Meadowcroft School in Wakefield on June 2018 after not attending or receiving any form of education since February 2017.
Bradley struggled with his speech due to his delayed language development and having a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), which often made it difficult for him to communicate or maintain positive relationships with his peers.
Prior to joining Meadowcroft, Bradley could only speak using short simple sentences. These were predominantly focused on communicating his needs. He often used just two or three words to communicate, was being bullied by his peers, and generally had negative relationships with adults.
Productive and positive change
On arrival at Meadowcroft, Bradley immediately made a productive and positive start, soon demonstrating enjoyment in attending school.
His attendance has risen to 97% at the time of writing, coming after a long period of absence from any form of education. His parents say Bradley now wakes up every morning looking forward to going to school and he is not as anxious or unhappy as he was previously.
Bradley’s sense of humour and unique personality were clear from the offset and he managed to develop positive relationships with both peers and staff, to the extent that he has made new friends with whom he regularly plays and socialises with.
His communication skills have developed significantly and Bradley can now hold a conversation using long sentences.
“We can understand him much easier now. He talks in sentences and not just single words, so we can have many conversations with him about how his day has been.”
Bradley’s mother in conversation with a teaching assistant at Meadowcroft School.
Jack (Oak Tree School leaver)
Jack spent a total of two years and six months at Oak Tree School in Cornwall, a co-educational day school for children and young people aged 8 to 16 with special educational needs.
Arriving in January 2015, Jack’s placement was part of a longer-term plan for him to be able to return to his parents after having been through the care of his local authority for a number of years with frequent care placements changes.
Prior to enrolling at Oak Tree School
From as early as pre-school age, Jack was referred to support services due to delayed language development, while he had also displayed challenging behavior, including physical aggression, non-compliance, and running away from school.
When he was six years old, it was noted that Jack would require special education needs in direct response to his social, emotional and behavioural development. After attending several schools in the Cornwall area, it was observed that Jack had a history of volatile relationships with his peers and his behaviour often created significant unrest amongst other students.
Erratic behaviour and a high level of support and encouragement to comply even with the most basic requests meant that Jack developed a reputation as a child who wishes to actively resist any form of authority as a means of protecting himself, bearing in mind that he had undergone much upheaval in both his personal and academic life up until this juncture.
As if to highlight this further, Jack’s phone was often seen as very important to him and he became very protective of such possessions; understandable in the context of his disrupted attachments and the difficulty he experiences with not being able to live full-time with his parents.
After years of disrupted education, it was reasonable to suggest that Jack has an intense fear of failure and this may lead to his resistance to trying new experiences.
At Oak Tree
During his time at Oak Tree from early 2015, Jack experienced significant change in his home life.
We recognised these changes in Jack’s home life and immediately made arrangements to provide him with a personalised and engaging curriculum including providing transport so we could manage the home to school transition.
Jack initially found working in a school environment difficult and in his first few weeks displayed very chaotic behaviours and struggled to engage in any structured activities.
We continued to work with Jack, amending his timetable and staff who worked with him until he became more engaged.
The breakthrough moments with Jack in trying to get him to be more proactive and even enjoy his own learning experience was to align his interests with his academic development. Jack showed a passion for BMXs, so our teachers utilised this by basing curriculum focused English, maths and science lessons around BMX projects, as well as providing a lot of opportunity for outdoor education sessions where he was able to develop his physical and social skills.
Challenging vocational training
Whilst in his final year at school, Jack returned from care to his parents’ house, and very quickly his pattern of behaviour took a downward turn. Jack still remained incredibly reluctant to complete anything he perceived as work.
He did successfully complete some functional skills in English and maths, but attempts made to get him to complete vocational training opportunities were very challenging.
College and enhanced career prospects
In order to try and get Jack to re-engage with our school programme, Oak Tree continued to work with Jack and his family through until the end of year 11.
Whilst Jack refused to attend his final exams, he did leave with the qualifications he had completed earlier in the year, and, following careers advice and guidance set up by the school, Jack had clear pathways for life after Oak Tree, planned through his enrolment on the entry Level Pathfinder course at Camborne College.