15. A Disengaged S1 Boy with Many Family Issues

Background A P7 boy with significant needs transferred to Secondary school in August 2008. There was a history in Primary school of confrontational behaviour, frequently ‘leaving’ school without permission, 2 close family bereavements and an earlier incident of attempted sexual abuse by an older boy. Inconsistent parenting resulted in attachment issues and unpredictable home/school partnership. At the start of S1, the pupil presented as a friendly, articulate boy who had an excellent memory, a keen sense of right and wrong and who could be sensitive and caring. However, he also showed significant ‘attention’ difficulties, fidgeting, involuntary noises, poor response to staff instruction and abusive comments to staff, entering and leaving school at will and a general insecurity and vulnerability. The pupil also reacted to his constant state of anxiety by leaving classrooms, without warning and would, on a whim, attend classes which were not on his timetable and then refuse to leave. Solution Focused Approach At the start of S1 the boy had a part-timetable negotiated with him and a parent which included interests and activities with the aim of settling him into school and building esteem. In addition the following Strategies were introduced in S1: • individual support from Support assistant in classes; • pupil-generated (single) target sheet; • 1- 1 sessions offered with key worker; • Dynamic Youth Award activities offered • computerised tracking sheet to record positive behaviours in classes, for discussion in 1-1; • assessment by/1-1 sessions offered with Educational Psychologist; • support from ‘Action for Children’ put in place for family and pupil; • activities offered with school Outdoor Education team; • regular Professionals’ meetings, reviews and Looked After Child meetings arranged with pupil, parent and agencies; • arrangement for direct referral by subject staff to key worker in school; • opportunities for learning activities with ‘Out of the Box’ programme (x 2 programmes) in 2009. In S2: • referral by school to Senior Integrated Team (concerns re continuing non-attendance, anxiety and behaviour issues); • pupil frequently stated his high /eve/ of anxiety about being in any large school building and crowds of people; • involvement with Reintegration team from January 201 0 for 1 – 1 and small group activities such as cooking, cinema, squash and (certificated) skiing. Range of Strategies to Promote Positive Behaviour and Improve Learning All staff involved were committed to building relationships of trust in a non-threatening environment. The school recognised the boy’s need to take part in activities in a small group setting.Individualised Planning In S1 a highly individualised approach was in place in school. Regular contact, later, meant that the school was kept informed of progress at ‘Out of the Box’, of timetable arrangements at the Re-integration team, and updated on progress with Action for Children. Plans always took account of the boy’s emotional state and areas of interest. A Flexible Curriculum in Line with Curriculum for Excellence The S1 curriculum in school included esteem-building activities. At the Re-integration team, no ‘formal’ academic work was attempted for 3 months, the focus being on achieving successes and general confidence building. This proved very successful and a voluntary move to include academic subjects, followed . Partnership Working ‘Out of the Box’ programmes provided the springboard for this pupil who started to recognise his own abilities and potential. Clear planning from the start of the Reintegration team’s involvement meant that the pupil had the opportunity to be involved in activities which developed him as a person. Professionals’ contact and meetings ensured good use of available provision. Progress for the pupil was only possible due to a good relationship between the pupil and ‘Out of the Box’ worker and then with the Re-integration team worker. The small-group settings helped with social development and provided a basis from which the pupil could start moving forward. Successful Outcomes included:
  • lessening of anxiety;
  • increasing level of confidence and self-esteem;
  • progress being made in personal and social development;
  • willingness to access education to realise his potential;
  • setting of realistic goals, ie a career in Outdoor Education;
  • a generally more competent and happier person!;
  • a trusting relationship with adults.