We understand that selecting the most appropriate placement for a young person can be a complex process. Priory aims to provide Local Authority Commissioners with a comprehensive overview of our settings and services so that you can make informed decisions about which placement is most likely to deliver lasting outcomes and value for money.
We share the below case studies from young people who attend our schools, colleges and children’s homes, as well as from our foster carers to give you a better insight into the work we do at Priory Education and Children’s Services.
Amy* attends Oliver House School and has profound multiple learning disabilities. She has a diagnosis of autism and complex, challenging behaviour and is also non-verbal.
Amy slaps her head, bites herself, pulls her hair and presents other challenging behaviour to staff who intervene. Amy will attempt to eat any inedible object within her vicinity such as carpet tiles and foam from soft furnishings.
Amy is now taught in a specially created classroom which has been designed to meet her very complex needs. She is making excellent progress and is now able to access a much wider range of environments. With careful staff support Amy has learned to use objects to communicate her basic needs, can watch and listen, and will use an iPad, listen to stories or enjoy sensory toys for brief periods of time.
Simon* joined Priory College South Wales (PCSW) in September 2010 with a diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome and epilepsy. He had been excluded from high school on a number of occasions for aggressive outbursts and destruction of property.
On starting at PCSW, Simon was given a dedicated Learning Support Worker. She built rapport with him which enabled him to implement an Individual Learning Plan (ILP). This plan included coping strategies for social anxiety and self-regulation for periods of high stress. All outbursts ceased by March 2011.
Simon completed a BTEC Construction in the Built Environment course, gaining an overall Merit and went on to study for a degree in Architecture. He is coping well and is now in his third and final year at Cardiff University, having lived in shared accommodation for the past two years.
When Craig* joined us he was prone to disrupting the activities of other students. He was loud, opinionated, unmanageable and academically disorganised, and also experienced problems with his weight.
Successful strategies were developed to combat both his behavioural and health issues, whilst maintaining good progress in education. As a result, Craig was awarded ‘Student of the year’ on a BTEC course at a partner college and has now progressed onto university and completed a degree in computer design.
Lisa* was due to go into Year 12 at a local college, however when she enrolled in August, she did not mention she was a patient in hospital at the time.
We contacted the college on Lisa’s behalf to ensure she had the right support in place. We worked closely with them to avoid delaying Lisa’s entry to Year 12 as we feared any delay in starting college could have been detrimental to her mental health. The college was concerned that Lisa would not be able to continue her studies but agreed to send work.
Throughout her stay in hospital, Lisa worked hard alongside the specialist subject teachers who were supporting her. Her work was regularly photocopied and returned to mainstream college for monitoring and she was able to keep up with her AS subjects. This process supported Lisa in re-integrating into college where she achieved three As in her AS exams and is predicted As and A*s in her A levels. She hopes to go on to study Medicine at university.
Priory Education and Children’s Services first came into contact with Sarah* when she was a 13-year old schoolgirl. She had been removed from her local area due to her behaviours, staying out all night, not attending school and receiving ‘presents’ – i.e. mobile phones and clothes from an ‘older boyfriend’. Her family believed she was going ‘off the rails’ and there were significant concerns regarding her involvement in sexual exploitation.
At first, Sarah was reluctant to open up to staff members, however, as her relationships developed, she began to feel safe and disclosed details regarding her relationship with her ‘boyfriend’ and his ‘mates’. Information was recorded and reported to the appropriate authorities whilst staff members continued to support Sarah and reassure her that she was safe and cared for. She was helped to recognise herself as a victim of a crime, not to blame for the things that had happened to her.
Particular work was undertaken with her to increase her awareness of child sexual exploitation, healthy relationships and staying safe. Activities were undertaken to promote her self-esteem.
As Sarah began to disclose the trauma of what she had suffered it became clear and it was evident that she had been groomed and exploited by a number of men. Once she had told her story, the staff supported her in making statements to the police, undergoing medicals as well as supporting her through the subsequent criminal prosecution, which was successful.
Telling her story was a big ordeal for her but having the courage and support was a turning point in her life. Since being enabled to face her ordeal and being supported to develop her self-esteem she was able to focus on her future and particularly her education and her GCSEs. After passing these she went on to further education and subsequently moved on from Priory Education and Children’s Services after her transition into independence was supported.
She chose to remain in the area local to her former Priory Education and Children’s Services home and Sarah regularly keeps in touch with staff members she was able to form strong and lasting attachments with. She continues in her studies and goes from strength to strength.
Brenda and Kevin’s story
Both ex-teachers, Brenda and Kevin* have been foster carers for a total of nine years, the last two of which have been with Priory Fostering Services. Brenda had previously thought of fostering before she met Kevin, but the time was not right and she didn’t have a spare room.
When they got together they had a house full of children and weren’t looking for a career change.
However, when most of their children had grown up they were ready for a new challenge which would allow them to use their skills both as teachers and parents, and decided that fostering was perfect for them.
Brenda and Kevin’s foster child is still with them and they feel that at Priory, people listen and there is someone fighting their corner to get the right support they need as a family. Both Brenda and Kevin participate in all the training that is available, including Priory’s online training which keeps them ticking over and is a useful prompt. They also enjoy the Priory’s activity programme and have been on a range of summer activities, including a trip to Legoland with a coach full of foster carers, as well as both birth and foster children.
*Names have been changed to maintain confidentiality.