Josh joined Access School in Year 9 with a very negative and suspicious attitude towards school in general. Being from a travelling background and with moderate learning difficulties, Josh had experienced high levels of bullying; often singled out because of his culture and background. This constant bullying had resulted in Josh being absent from his previous school for prolonged periods of time and when in school, he displayed defensive bursts of aggression that lead to his exclusion. The impact on Josh’s parents was also significant and they also had a negative view of school and how they treated pupils from a travelling background. This led to a whole family feeling worried and defensive about education.
On arrival at Access School both Josh and his parents were quiet and withdrawn which, given their previous experiences, was understandable. Josh found Access School a challenge to start with and would display low level negative behaviours which would cause disruptions in class and this at times singled him out.
After a few weeks Josh began to build relationships with staff and strategies were implemented to encourage participation both academically and socially. Josh began to grow in confidence and started to form friendships which built his positivity and confidence in and around school. Josh’s attendance increased from around 30% to 95% within a matter of months which had a significant impact on Josh’s academic progress.
On arrival at Access School, Josh had very little ability in functional literacy or numeracy and would struggle with the basics such as time and money. Staff, Josh and Josh’s parents worked closely together to put individualised plans in place which would support progress in these areas. Whilst Josh did not achieve age equivalent levels he made amazing progress in writing independently and being able to use money outside of school.
Throughout Year 10 and 11, Josh worked hard on a range of AQA Entry Level certificates in English, Maths, Science and other practical subjects and passed them all. Josh also completed a successful placement at a rural farming skills project where he even learnt how to drive a tractor along with other ‘land-use’ skills.
Access School supported Josh and Josh’s parents through his transition to college where he is undertaking an access course in Agricultural Studies supported by an excellent SEN department.