23. Realising Potential in a Secondary Young Person from a Travelling Family

Background This male pupil, aged 15 years who had not attended school since P7 is of settled Scottish gypsy traveller background living within a local community who rarely encourage their children to attend secondary provision. An initial meeting was held at home towards the end of Sl with a view to the boy attending l – l provision. Support was offered and taken up weekly, which led to the boy joining a group at Double Dykes which is the provision for a group of gypsy travellers, with the same 1-1 teacher. He felt comfortable with this group as he knew some of them. After a year, he was also offered 1-1 support from school in the same base but with another teacher. As he was now approaching 4th year, additional opportunities to socialise and to make plans for the future were discussed. However, he remained unable to pursue these because of his emotional state and anxieties, involving independent travel, meeting new young people, attending new venues and not being ready to consider post-school planning. Solution Focused Approach The boy continued to work regularly at Double Dykes, achieving Access 3 Maths, Spanish and English fairly quickly and then aimed to work towards S Grade English and Intermediate 1 Maths. The confidence gained through these successes enabled conversations about possible options but all of these were rejected since he did not have the emotional readiness to have conversations about options at that time. Strategies Key success factors were as follows: • mix of challenge and support within a positive ethos; • strong relationship building within the group; • high expectations of success; • a willingness to discuss and work quickly on opportunities whenever he raised them. Range of Strategies to Promote Positive Behaviour and Improve Learning • Quiet learning environment. • Regular feedback to parent and school, reinforcing success. • 1 – 1 at times of increased anxiety. Individualised Planning • Additional Support Needs meetings outwith school. • Issues and strategies thoroughly discussed with the young person prior to meetings. • Successes celebrated. A Flexible Curriculum in Line with Curriculum for Excellence • Initial visit arranged to appropriate college department when interest shown in attending college; met with staff and applied for and accepted on a full-time course; • Focus on attainment, achievement and transition; • When interest shown in the possibility of an extended work placement, options explored, preferred placement visited and applied for; • With a view to extending his timetable, Youth Unlimited visited, met a few new pupils and agreed timetable (he is now attending and enioying new challenges); • Involvement in weekly cooking group, coming together within a larger group to eat. Partnership Working included regular email liaison with school, liaison with parent, including phone calls and meetings, liaison with Perth College in order to plan options for post-school and liaison with work experience provider. Successful Outcomes included: • a visible growth in confidence and ability to express his own opinions in groups; • successes enjoyed and he is meeting and making friends with new people; • good contribution to group activities and an ability to work independently; • growing ability to manage his timetable and with support, manage his anxieties; • acceptance to Perth College for a full-time hospitality course. back to top