To ensure confidentiality and protect identity names and photographs bear no resemblance to actual students at Marchbank School .
Polly moved from her parents to live with extended family members when she was very young. She grew into a funny, caring and loving little girl but always struggled at school.
She found the noise and bustle of a busy primary school difficult; she became anxious around crowds which meant assemblies in particular were hard for her to cope with.
She also found it difficult to sit still and concentrate in lessons and her family became aware she was preferring to wear certain clothes and eat only certain foods. Life became more and more difficult.
Polly became anxious on school mornings and was often upset at being left at school. She would frequently cry and scream in school and at these times would lash out at peers or staff who tried to approach her. She became resistant to help and the school struggled to manage her behaviours.
Statutory assessment began and it soon became obvious that Polly was experiencing some sensory issues as well as difficulties with communication – all resulting in negative experiences for her.
Polly was significantly behind her mainstream peers across the curriculum range and accessed few learning opportunities.
Polly was referred to CAMHS and a sensory assessment concluded significant sensory processing difficulties.
A place was sought at Marchbank Free School and Polly started in Y3.
The Family Liaison officer at Marchbank initiated an Early Help assessment and a Team Around the Family brought everyone together – family members and professionals.
Polly is currently being assessed for autistic spectrum needs and by school arrangement is accessing Future Steps Consultancy for weekly sessions with highly qualified occupational therapists to address her SPD.
She is fully integrated into her class, has friends and with help is able to access learning. She is making progress in her learning of which she is very proud! She has also uncovered a love of art and has demonstrated a gift for drawing.
Polly also accesses speech and language sessions each week and has started working with the school counsellor to explore some of her early life experiences.
She is now able to attend all assemblies without wearing ear defenders and joins in with all whole school singing.
Polly’s self-esteem is much improved and she loves school – 100% attendance!
Geoffrey was born healthy but became a difficult toddler who had frequent tantrums. He went to nursery school but struggled with the demands made on him and his parents decided to remove him and give him more time at home to allow him to mature.
He started reception at his local school and whilst he went in very happily he found it very difficult to conform to the school’s expectations or get along with the other children. The school became concerned as Geoffrey entered the second term and suggested to his parents that they reduce his timetable for a while with the intention of increasing it in the near future.
Unfortunately, things didn’t get any easier for Geoffrey and when he was in Y1 the school sought advice from an educational psychologist who made recommendations to the school to help Geoffrey integrate with his peers and also aid his ability to concentrate.
The school worked hard with Geoffrey’s parents to meet his needs but by the time he entered Y2 the decision had been made to seek a statutory assessment of his needs. The school felt unable to meet his needs and suggested to his parents that they research alternative provisions.
Following a deterioration in Geoffrey’s ability to manage his emotions in socially acceptable ways he was placed on a reduced timetable and a 1:1 teaching assistant was deployed. Unfortunately, he was demonstrating some aggressive and violent behaviours towards his peers and staff which resulted in some fixed term exclusions from school. He was not permitted to go onto the playground or take part in any after-school clubs or school visits.
By this time Geoffrey was very unhappy; he didn’t want to go to school at all, claimed he had no friends and nobody liked him, was quick to tears a lot of the time and displayed a lot of anger.
Through the statutory assessment process Geoffrey was given an EHCP and a special school placement sought. Geoffrey started Marchbank School during the summer term of his Y2.
Geoffrey very quickly settled into the school; he felt a sense of belonging with his class and the wider school from the outset. He felt the same as everyone else and not different anymore.
He quickly engaged with the exciting curriculum and was able to remain in whole lessons due to the frequent movement breaks and the focus on practical learning. Due to his success with learning he felt much calmer and was able to earn maximum points on the rewards system enabling him to take part in engaging reward trips.
Geoffrey’s parents were supported by Tess, the school’s family liaison officer and they were able to slowly develop some trust in the staff at school. As they became confident that Geoffrey was now receiving a full time education in an environment that could meet his needs they were able to pick their lives back up and mum was even able to get a small school time job in the local supermarket.
Geoffrey is making better than good progress across the curriculum range and has a made a significant improvement in his emotional development and self-esteem. Although he is still working below the levels of his mainstream peers he is beginning to close the gap slowly, particularly in maths.