Published On: November 6, 2023|760 words|3.8 min read|

After joining Progress Schools in March this year, Jack has undergone a complete transformation. Since receiving his ADHD diagnosis at the age of 12, he has faced many struggles adapting to mainstream schooling. These struggles reached their peak when Jack started secondary school and found the environment of constant change very triggering.

The noises, crowds and moving from one classroom to the next meant Jack had to continuously adjust to different people, smells, sounds and rules. This would overwhelm him and send him into numerous crisis’s a day. Due to this, Jack started to avoid attending school, his mum commenting, “it would sometimes take me six hours to get him out of the house and to school.” This avoidance would mean Jack missed a large amount of his education.

Even though Jack’s previous school were aware of his challenges, they were unable to make any further adjustments due to Jack being in a mainstream setting. This caused Jack to start spiralling out of control, and he found himself being punished for behaviours that are common with someone with ADHD. Before long, his anxiety grew, and Jack started refusing to attend school. His mum regarded how he “began to transform into a boy that I didn’t recognise. He was withdrawn, constantly angry, agitated, and full of anxiety.”

This change caused their relationships to start breaking down, with Jack telling his mum that he hated her. He’d called her names and started causing damage to their home. This heart-breaking character change led Jack’s mum to search for a different school, one better suited to support Jack’s needs.
After hopes of sending Jack to a Special Educational Needs (SEN) school, his mum was disappointed to find that, even though Jack had a formal diagnosis for three years, due to him not having an Education, Health Care Plan (EHCP), he did not meet the criteria to attend.

Shortly after, Jack’s mum found out about Progress Schools and asked his head teacher to make a referral as soon as possible. Filled with apprehension and doubts that Jack would not have enough time to achieve any qualifications from school, Jack and his mum met with the Head of School at Progress Schools, any doubts were soon diminished.

After a long battle with schools, trying to single-handedly secure an educational future for Jack, his mum was “burnt out, both mentally and emotionally, and so was Jack.” However, his mum labels the move to Progress Schools as “the BEST decision I have ever made.”

Upon starting at Progress Schools Jack’s fear and dislike of a school environment was clear as he kept to himself. Over time, Jack began to get more involved and after only five months of being a student at Progress Schools, he had undergone an astonishing transformation. His mum attributes this change to “the support from all the amazing staff… and the relationship he has built with the staff there. He is now like a completely different child.”

From the encouragement and guidance given by the staff at Progress Schools, Jack re-gained his old self back and so much more. He is no longer in a permanent state of fight or flight. Jack now believes in himself, engaging with others and participating in new activities out of his comfort zone. Most importantly, “he is happy.”

His mum boasts about how he is “achieving things teachers at his previous school said he would never achieve.” The impact Progress Schools has had on Jack’s life is evident from his ever-present smile after returning home “and an amazing update on his day at school”, a stark contrast to before.

The short time Jack has attended Progress Schools has changed his whole outlook on life thanks to the encouragement and time the staff have given, “They have been utterly amazing, catered for his needs and helped him find himself, as well as regain his trust in society.”

Jack’s mum sums up the positive impact the progress Schools has had on Jack saying,” it had been three long years since I last heard my son say, “love you”, now he doesn’t leave the house or end a phone call without saying it to me.” The transformation Jack has had since attending Progress Schools is undeniable. He no longer avoids school but enjoys it, showing how the appropriate support for his needs have caused outcomes others deemed impossible. Jack’s mum has only one regret…“that I didn’t do it sooner.”

(For confidentiality, the student’s name has been changed.)

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