Case Study – Sally's* story
I arrived at Sheridan School back in 2012. When I first started here I was put into a KS2 group but I was really fearful, aggressive and very weak academically. My temper was really quick and I would explode at the smallest of things. By the time I was at the end of KS2 I had become even more aggressive. The staff had to make at least one psychical intervention a week with me, some weeks it was one every day. Back then I didn’t really have any friends. I lacked social skills and wouldn’t look anyone in the eye or talk to them.
Sheridan School were really good at getting external agencies involved in my care to get me the support that I needed, such as social services and an educational psychologist. They also put an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) in place for me.
Staff at school monitored my progress and behaviour to create a school life that worked for me. They made sure I could spend time with individual staff like Mr G because I trust him and let me have time out of lessons when I needed to because things had got too much.
At first I was on a reduced timetable because I was unable to cope with being in school full time but I gradually built this up. When it came to individual lessons, I really liked the way they differentiated my work. The teachers learnt that I worked best when they would chunk and repeat information to me. I had a lot of praise from staff which was great – I’d never had that before.
My mum thinks the staff at Sheridan School have been great too. She said they even had special training to help develop strategies which would work best for me and help me learn. Sheridan upper School had lots of contact with my parents and set up meetings to keep them involved in my education. We also had reintegration meetings at home so everyone knew how to join up the care between home and school.
I’ve been at Sheridan School for a few years now. I’m making great progress with my learning and have moved up a whole level in maths over two years. My attitude to learning has vastly improved too. I can now say which subjects I like. PE is my favourite because I really enjoy the structure of it.
It’s not just academically that I’m making progress though, my behaviour is improving too. I can now verbalise why I feel angry or upset and so make the right choices and am able to make eye contact with the staff that I trust. The school has noticed the changes in my behaviour too: The amount of physical interventions I required reduced from 11 in term one in 2014/2015 to just two in term three 2014/15, plus my unauthorised attendance has dropped as well.
Since coming to Sheridan School, my confidence has increased massively thanks to the great relationships that I have built with staff. My social skills are developing too and I am starting to trust more people and can have conversations about how I feel.
Case study – Tom's* story
I started at Sheridan School in early 2013. I arrived at the school with lots of knowledge and information but I was unable to put anything down on paper. I have autism and was also very hyperactive and found it difficult to control myself. I was a young carer for my mum and I had no boundaries because my home life didn’t have any. When I first got to Sheridan School, I didn’t know how to play and I wouldn’t speak to people or other students.
Sheridan School involved social services in my care as soon as I started and also put a number of other arrangements in place to give me the support I needed. For example, I had one consistent member of staff to teach me who made sure my learning was personalised. My teacher worked really closely with the school’s therapy staff to learn how to best work with me. Boundaries which were consistent and had consequences were set for me and my work was focussed on how to speak properly. For the first time I was given a structure to my day: I have playtime and timeout and I am allowed to use the computer as a reward for completing some of my learning. One of the most important things for me was that they said I could bring some things in from home. This really helped me to feel more comfortable at school.
The main focus during my time at Sheridan School has been on improving my social skills so that I am able to put thoughts and language into place; however I have also made some progress in English, Maths and Science over the past two years.
I have ASD so any changes can trigger behaviour but I am very good at managing this now. The amount of physical interventions I have required have gone down from eight in term one of 2014/2015 to just two in term three of 2014/2015. The teachers also give me stars for doing good work during lessons and the percentage of stars I have achieved has increased during the time that I have been at Sheridan School.
After being at the school for two years, my confidence is really growing. I have a much better attitude to learning and am able to stay in a classroom and complete the work that is set. This academic year I have started working in a new room with a new teacher which is going really well.
Building my social skills has been the focus of my time here at Sheridan School and it’s really paying off. I’ve formed strong relationships with more than one member of staff now as well as with other students, which has been key for me.
*names changed to protect student's identities