22. The Role of the Community Link Worker in Sustained Transition of a Child with Complex ChallengesBackground
This boy came to his primary school on a part-time timetable in P4 from another primary school where he attended only one hour a day. He was able to quickly build up his time to the point where he was in school full-time. The Headteacher became his key/lead person and worked very hard to support the boy throughout his time in primary during which time he had physically confronted other pupils and had been excluded on a number of occasions. P7 was a critical time when a transition group was set up in the school for this boy and some others. The boy lives with his Aunt who cares for him well. He had previously stayed with his Mum, Dad, Gran, who were travelling people, as well as having a couple of temporary foster carers. (One period of care came after he was involved in an assault of another young person, allegedly whilst under the influence of alcohol).
Solution Focused Approach
An enhanced transition programme was put in place for the boy to make the move to secondary as smooth as possible. Part of this process involved the Community Link worker being able to build up a trusting relationship and act as a support when he arrived at secondary school. It took some time for the Link worker to get to know the boy who is mistrusting of adults. His love of football was something he was able to tap into. The worker linked him into a local football team whilst still at primary school. However, he went along to a number of training sessions but did not keep this up, partly due to lack of confidence.
The boy joined a life skills group which linked with outside agencies such as Young Peoples’ Health team, Youth Services, Sacro, Perth & Kinross Leisure and a Day Centre to do some voluntary work with the elderly.
• The Community Link worker met with the boy once a week to set targets, both long and short-term. These focused on attendance and behaviour primarily. He responded positively.
• The boy’s Aunt recently attended a ‘Handling Teenage Behaviour’ group run by Community Link workers (while she was able to put some of the strategies in place she found it difficult maintain control at home).
• The Link worker took football training at the boy’s secondary school since he knew a number of S1 pupils had a passion for football which he was keen to continue into secondary.
• The Link Worker ensured the boy’s Aunt knew when training sessions were taking place and she encouraged his attendance.
Range of Strategies to Promote Positive Behaviour and Improve Learning
Since the boy’s attitude and behaviour in class had at times been a cause for concern he moved class in S2 which had a positive impact. There were several strong positive role models in the class and this helped. Along with Senior Management, the Community Link worker worked hard to repair relationships following some confrontation with staff members. He also ensured all concerned were clear about the significant challenges this boy had to face. The boy recently formed some very positive relationships with some members of staff .
The Senior Management Team and the Community Link worker have worked closely together to support this young person and each other with relevant strategies. The Community Link worker, school, home support from outside agencies including Social Work, managed to make great progress with this boy and the hope is he will continue to achieve his potential in School and beyond.
Successful Outcomes included:
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- attendance continues to be around 75%. While there is room for improvement in this area it is still a major achievement;
- the two exclusions during S2 were not as a result of violent behaviour;
- the boy made a positive start to life in Secondary school. He enjoyed the football training and was picked to represent the school team. His attitude whilst on the football pitch was excellent and he even captained the school team. At the end of first year he received an award from the Physical Education Department for his excellent work;
- he is now at the stage of making course choices for S3, including taking Physical Education at Standard Grade. His weakness in English has curtailed overall attainment. However, he has finally agreed to work with his Community Link worker on English. The Support for Learning Department will also support this work;
- the young person is a member of the ‘Mini-Bus Crew’ group. The aim of the group is to improve timekeeping, provide breakfast at the start of the day, build on an interest in motor mechanics and link in to Ruts who work on motorcycle engines with disaffected young people.