Phoebe joined Progress Schools filled with apprehension around others and education. However, over five months, she began to dismiss her fears and continues to grow in confidence every day.
Whilst studying at her mainstream school, Phoebe struggled to maintain friendships with others and was often labelled as disruptive in lessons. This led to her mum being contacted frequently by the school and Phoebe receiving multiple detentions. During lockdown, Phoebe was tragically faced with two unexpected losses within her family. This distress added to being distracted during lessons upon returning to school. Phoebe’s mum acknowledged how both she and Phoebe felt “very unsupported by her old school and let down by members of staff”, who she felt failed to meet Phoebe’s individual needs as she awaited diagnosis of ASD and ADHD.
Her mum was eager to find a school that would cater for Phoebe’s needs and stated, “finding the right setting is paramount.” Facing good and bad days, Phoebe pushed on. Although, it was clear that a mainstream environment was very triggering for her and led to a decline in her attendance and a withdrawal into herself.
Hoping they had found a solution, Phoebe and her mum looked around Progress Schools. Phoebe struggled to cope with her nerves and shyness, haunted by her built up apprehension towards education. However, Phoebe left her visit feeling comforted by the support systems in place. Both Phoebe and her mum commented that they were “impressed with the class sizes and staff ratios as we both feel it would suit Phoebe’s needs better.”
After only five months at Progress Schools, the shift in Phoebe was visible to everyone. Phoebe has a newfound positive attitude towards school and her education. Her attendance has continuously improved, and Phoebe has been awarded with Progress Points for her efforts. This positive reinforcement has created a respect between her, the staff, and the other students. Despite Phoebe’s lack of social and emotional skills, she is a valued addition. Staff commented “she is a popular and well-respected member of the school, her genuine humorous character helps to create a lovely, welcoming feel to our school.”
With access to the right tools, Phoebe has developed her self-awareness, working incredibly hard to listen and manage her emotions and behaviour in a more positive way. Phoebe takes advantage of the relax room available, which helps her to self-regulate and provides a space of escape for when she feels overwhelmed. From this support, Phoebe feels valued and important, evident by her growth in confidence and self-esteem, as she now openly shares her ideas and opinions with others. The smaller class sizes have allowed Phoebe to feel seen, enabling her to build a “fantastic rapport with the staff”. This is something her mum would never have imagined as she discussed how “Phoebe had always found it hard to respond positively to members of staff” in her previous school.
Phoebe’s confidence has grown in all areas. Her classwork has been celebrated and proudly displayed around the school. Staff commented how Phoebe is “an intelligent and kind student; we are so proud of the hard work and improvements she has made!”. Her parents also see the positive impact a supportive setting has had on Phoebe whilst at home. Her mum said, “Phoebe will now ring me on her way home and talk about her schoolwork and the exciting things she has done throughout the day.”
We are overjoyed at Phoebe’s transformation since being at Progress Schools. From withdrawing from education altogether during a time of struggle, we are happy to see Phoebe shining once again, with staff commenting that you will often find her “singing and dancing up the corridors.”
(For confidentiality, the student’s name has been changed.)