Case study: Stuart
Stuart* is 10. He has already been excluded three times from a community primary school for violent and disruptive behaviour. Stuart was on a part-time timetable for two terms and only allowed to attend school for two and a half days a week, when a specialist autism support worker employed by the Local Authority was available to work with him. He was not in a class, but worked in a room on his own with his support. All his activities were based on his own agenda and he regularly resorted to mimicking dog behaviour, barking and hiding under tables. Stuart would not walk around school and would be terrified if other students or staff came into is work area, he would crawl on the floor to get away from them. He did not write at all and any activity not directed by him caused significant behavioural issues.
Stuart has now been at Sketchley School for sixteen weeks. He is participating in a functional English programme in a class of two students. Last term English was based around the works of Roald Dahl and comparing them to the works of Anthony Browne. Stuart enjoyed being read to and is now keen to share the reading. He reads with increasing confidence, awareness of punctuation and intonation. He enjoys anticipating, ‘what next?’ Stuart was reticent to write and so the focus was on the short task of writing his name and date on each piece of work with a minimum of other written work at first. He has worked hard on this target and now completes short pieces of written work with minimal prompting. He forms all his letters accurately, and sounds out words he struggles to recognise.
The difficulties that Stuart faced on entry to Sketchley School have reduced over the time that he has been attending. When he started in class the majority of his time was spent underneath the table or curled up with a pillow and a blanket, by four weeks after attending he spent three out of five days not under the table, had no pillows and no blankets. Ten weeks after attending Sketchley he spent no time under the table.
On entry Stuart would not interact with other students at all. After two weeks, he shared a board game with a pupil from another class, by four weeks he allowed different staff to supervise lunch and after six weeks, he accessed the dining room to eat a sandwich and now eats the whole meal.
Stuart would not talk about any incidents when he first started school but would run away and hide. He would kick and punch staff but now uses talking mats to debrief after a challenging situation and has not kicked or punched staff for over six weeks. He accesses assembly and the outside playground and interacts with other students in the yard.
Parents now have “a different child” at home. He is less aggressive and more engaged in learning, he talks about what he has done in school and shares his experiences. He has been able to eat out with his family in a local restaurant, which would have been impossible before, and is managing to control both his anxiety and his anger more effectively.
Case study: Jonathan
Jonathan* started at Sketchley School in 2009 having previously attended at least four different schools and also having a significant amount of time out of an education placement. He had previous exclusions including from specialist placements and had not had a sustained period in school for a number of years. Jonathan had significant sensory issues and was unable to tolerate long trousers, socks or shoes. He also had significant and enduring behavioural difficulties.
Jonathan was working at level 2 and 3 across the subject areas and displaying significant amounts of challenging behaviour when he started at Sketchley School. He did not want to be in school and on his twelve week confirmation review, refused to speak, and on his student input to the review, he wrote that he did not like school. He did however say that he wanted to be a chef. At the confirmation review, his parents were very happy with the provision, as was the local authority, as Jonathan had managed to attend and staff had been able to support him during challenging incidents. Since 2009, his progress at Sketchley School has been considerable.
At Jonathan’s annual review in 2012, he was working at level 6 across the board, he has completed Entry level English and is working towards GCSE in English, Maths and Science. He has had only one incident of significant challenge in the last academic year.
Jonathan has an individual curriculum package which has included working in our catering kitchen for 1.5 hours every morning since September 2011. He works alongside the catering team, wears whites and learns new skills in cooking. He undertakes whole areas of food preparation and cooking.
Jonathan has made significant strides in combating his social interaction difficulties when serving food and his sensory issues to be able to cope with the heat in the kitchen and the uniform. He has volunteered to help catering staff during sickness absence including serving students their lunch and completing full sessions in the kitchen. He has been engaged, hard working and to further develop this will hopefully be undertaking work experience in a local hotel next term.
Jonathan attended his review this year and was eloquent in his explanation of what he wanted to do in the future. He spoke to the full meeting attendees which included local authority officers explaining how he enjoyed cooking, the types of foods he is interested in and how he wants to progress to college to study catering. He described his progress since attending Sketchley and how he feels comfortable in the school, but is looking forward to using the skills he has developed here in the world of work. Jonathan will complete his GCSEs next year and look towards a supported college placement to study catering.
*Names changed to protect students' identity