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Student struggling with isolation gains new social skills thanks to targeted support

A student from Progress Schools, who for the purposes of confidentiality will be known as CM, has like many teenagers, struggled during the recent lockdown. The care home where he lives went into full lockdown, implementing a live in, seven-day shift pattern. This caused CM to became increasingly frustrated over the lack of changing faces. Having struggled with anger management in the past, Progress School staff were keen to do everything they could to support him by turning a difficult time into something more positive.

Prior to going into lockdown, CM had been transitioning to his new surroundings and new school, but had only managed two transition sessions with the independent provider. To continue with this transition, and support CM, the staff at Progress Schools started sending out work which involved projects such as volcanoes, World War 2, Rivers etc. alongside Maths and English tasks. Once completed, CM returned this work and the team at Progress Schools marked and returned it back to him. It soon become apparent that CM was responding well to this structure and continued support, which amongst other things, gave him a routine and sense of accomplishment as he could see the progress he was making.

As the lockdown measures eased, CM returned to school, working with a dedicated staff member during the day to provide the stability and consistency he needed. It wasn’t long before the team were able to widen this support network, with CM interacting with more peers and other staff members.

A matter of weeks on, and CM is continuing to settle in well and respond to the team at Progress Schools. One afternoon, he even called in to the office to thank staff for their support and for teaching him.

He has become so settled that he has started talking about his career aspirations and interests. He recently asked for art materials as he likes to make things. The team provided him with paints and a small canvas and he returned the next day with a model of an apartment block made from the canvas, pieces of card and match sticks where each widow lit up with a bulb. This example of self-expression is quite common in young people, especially when faced with extremely isolating times in their lives. To help focus him on the future and give him a boost in confidence and motivation, the team also plan to access some online vocational courses for him to do with Plumbing, the career he currently wishes to pursue. They also plan to source some work experience for him once lockdown measures are lifted.

Now only a few months on from first joining Progress Schools, CM is eager to learn and engages well with the team, often arriving earlier and spending time with a dedicated member of staff. This offers CM another ‘friendly face’ and someone else to talk to about any concerns he may have.

CM is one of 226 pupils currently enrolled across Progress Schools. Day to day classes include the likes of English, Maths, Science, Careers’ and a range of Vocational assessments to support student futures. In addition to delivery, the school also offers breakfast and a freshly prepared lunch for students who want and need it.

Each school is Ofsted graded ‘good’, with one inspection from February 2019 of their Carlisle school stating that;

“The curriculum meets pupils’ needs well. It provides pupils with a range of experiences and they acquire useful qualifications. It is adapted effectively to meet pupils’ specific needs. Staff successfully achieve the school’s vision to support pupils into further education or employment, and to better their life chances.”

Overall, there are 10 Progress Schools located throughout England. Click here to find out more about their provision.

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A student from Progress Schools, who for the purposes of confidentiality will be known as CM, has like many teenagers, struggled during the recent lockdown. The care home where ...