31. S4 Girl Unable to Sustain Learning in a School Environment

Background This young person was officially in 4th year at an Academy but had not attended main stream schooling since the end of 1st year. The young person had Asperger’s syndrome which heightened their fear of social settings, embracing change and impacted on their general confidence. This was in essence a school refuser. A programme of support had been in place for the young person at the Lowit Unit of Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital for a lengthy period. A return to the school was not an option for the individual. Solution Focused Approaches A partnership approach to finding a solution was stimulated by the Academy staff and Psychological Services. The Integrated Assessment Framework process was harnessed to bring relevant partners together to seek a solution. The parent (mother) was involved from the start. The young person herself was involved in discussions from the start . A broad view was taken by partners to creating a suitable learning programme. Strategies • An outreach learning programme was created using the local Community Centre as a learning base. • Responsibility for the design of the programme was shared between secondary education and community learning and development (CLD) partners along with the young person and parent. • A flexible approach to timetabling was adopted ensuring the young person remained engaged. • The involvement of school tutors (x 2 over 3 mornings) created the possibility of Standard Grades becoming a reality and formal secondary stage learning experiences being incorporated. • The involvement of CLD staff (x 2 over 2 mornings and 1 afternoon) meant the Youth Achievement Award could be used as another accreditation route and that social and personal development become a priority. • The involvement of the local Further Education College meant integration into the Skillzone employment support programme become a reality creating a real option for further education in the future. • Harnessing the learner’s interest in photography, a portfolio was built leading to an exhibition in the Community Centre. Written feedback from members of the public on the photography has formed an important part of the portfolio reflection on skills developed.
Key Success Factors • This young person achieved both English and Maths at standard grade. • The young person achieved 3 elements of the Bronze Level YAA • A full time place at Further Education College was secured. • A volunteering placement at the local Red Cross shop one afternoon a week was sustained, even through the holiday period. • Life skills development was substantial. • Solid relationships with tutors and CLD workers was established and sustained. • Socialisation at coffee times was an important factor for the learner. • Relationships with peers outside school have slowly developed. Range of Strategies to Promote Positive Behaviour and Improve Learning • Partnership approach. • Individualised learning focus. • Flexible learning programme. • Individual support from professionals. • Integration in a community setting. • Regular reflection – for professionals and learner. Individualised Planning An individual Learning Plan was created with the involvement of the young person. The individual’s strengths and interest areas provided a starting point for building the programme.  The programme started over 3 mornings but progressed to 5 mornings and 1 afternoon after term 1. It continued for over a year. An initial supported visit to the College led to an expansion of the learning programme to incorporate ready for work elements A Flexible Curriculum in line with Curriculum for Excellence Two of the four capacities were overtaken – Confident Individuals and Successful Learners – whilst a third, Responsible Citizens, was partly evident in the volunteering role this young person held. The flexibility of the programme is evident from records held. Partnership Working Crucial to the success of this initiative was the ability of learning partners to work together, to plan together and to evaluate together. The sharing of resources – both human and physical – extended the ability to sustain such a programme. This approach was resource intensive but led to a positive learning out come and a post school College future for a very vulnerable young learner.  In terms of post 16 learning choices this was a success.
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