Learner ‘A’ joined our school in 2016 following an exclusion from an Independent Special School where he was placed. He had been out of education for approximately 1 year and had considerable reservations about making the step back into education. Learner ‘A’ had a diagnosis of ASD (autism Spectrum Disorder) and wider SEMH issues and was extremely anxious and apprehensive about making the step back into school.
Initial contact was made with learner A in his home environment in order to build relations with Orchard staff and this progressed gradually to academic sessions completed at the home address which helped build rapport and engagement. Once learner A was more confident in the relationship, he had built he was supported gradually by the same staff member to transition into school on a part time basis, again fully supported by the same member of staff throughout. (It is important to make sure consistency and continuity are an essential part of any transition).
This then progressed into fuller days within the school, followed by a gentle introduction to new tutors and support staff, finally followed by a transition into a small classroom. Throughout the journey learner A made at The Orchard a key factor in assessing his progress was around building confidence and relationships with key staff in order to give confidence and awareness that support is always available. If transition was rushed, we would possibly so regression in student’s progression, so each step that is made is gradual and with full support of staff and family at home.
In September 2018 Learner A transitioned into further education, receiving a place on a media course at Grimsby Institute. Staff at the Orchard supported learner A in his induction, interview and enrolment and on his first day at college. Learner A finished his course in 2019 and has enrolled onto a pathway which will hopefully help him achieve his dream job of working as a computer coder.
Learner ‘B’ Joined the school in October 2018. Learner B had spent an extended period being ‘home schooled’ due to the fact he had struggled with being bullied at his old school. He was low on confidence and self esteem and was selectively mute having very limited communication with anyone outside of the family home.
Again, a very bespoke plan was set and from the outset it was very important to make sure that the transition into school with a full timetable was not going to be able to work unless there was a methodical plan around working on his confidence, self esteem and awareness of setting.
Because of his prior experiences Learner B was placed within the Schools nurture unit. This setting would be sensitive to his needs and could gradually work with him to make sure he was given every opportunity to succeed. Since bringing him into school he has surprised everyone in the progress that he has made. Within a short space of time Leaner B was working full time in the school, was actively engaging in his classroom and has even been nominated for student councillor representative for his class. Parents gave the school their heartfelt thanks at the school’s awards day, learner B is now part of the school GCSE pathway and he is looking for a career in the forces.
The setting of the nurture site has provided learner B with an ideal platform to build on his confidence, self esteem and social skills. A small class size of only 4 other learners has been sensitive to his individual need and provided him with an opportunity to showcase the very best of what he can offer in a way which has brought about real change in his life.
Learner ‘C’ arrived at the School following an exclusion from a local pupil referral unit, a special school and was subject to the care of the Local Authority.
At this stage learner C was struggling in all aspects of their life. They were subject to youth offending orders, had been regularly in trouble with the Police for serious offences and had been excluded from multiple schools for regular and serious disruption.
Although subject to an Education, Health and Care Plan there were characteristics that pointed to the need for further diagnosis which may have been able to support him further. At this time in his life Learner C had a considerable amount of support working with him but none of the support had been able to fully engage him. Agencies working with him included:
· Youth Offending Service
· Social Care
· Young Minds Matter
· Health Care
· Local Authority Care Social Workers
· Care Home
School recognised that although extremely challenging there were aspects to his behaviour that we felt were undiagnosed and as a result of multi-agency working school submitted a request for the learner to be referred through the local ‘access pathway’ to examine if there was a missing diagnosis which would mean the learner could access further support.
The ADHD pathway is a locally organised panel of statutory agencies which help analyse the need for specialist help and diagnosis. Learner C struggled to engage with this process but with regular reassurance they were eventually diagnosed with ADHD.
This diagnosis and resultant medication signalled a complete change for the learner. Where he had been struggling to concentrate in the past, he was now able to engage in classroom activities for much longer. His true academic levels began to shine through and from the day of initial treatment, he has never been in trouble with the police again.
Learner C is much more settled within the school, he enjoys attending and will achieve far greater outcomes than was expected for him pre diagnosis.
The multi-agency approach, led by school has shown that with correct support and engagement a learner who was in the process of being sent out of area and away from support networks is now able to engage with school and more importantly have an ability to make friends and achieve positive outcomes.