‘He has left Wings Notts as a well-rounded, resilient and independent young man. He has life skills and educational prospects. We are so proud of him’.
That’s a description of Maxwell*, a recent Wings School Notts leaver who has moved on from the school to take up a place at a mainstream further education college. It wasn’t always thought that any of this would be possible for Maxwell, who had experienced significant challenge and trauma in his life.
Since he first came to Wings Notts at the beginning of Year 7, Maxwell has transformed. He struggled with literacy, found it difficult to engage and refused to come to school. He experienced multiple incidents, was physically and verbally aggressive and was involved in property damage.
The education team at Notts understood the challenges he experienced and created a ‘nurture’ model to help Maxwell overcome them. Maxwell remained in one classroom throughout the day while teachers in different subjects came to teach. Maxwell would not have managed the transitions between classes and this first step helped him settle and feel more confident.
With a diagnosis of ADHD, Maxwell enjoyed PE but found it difficult to cope if things didn’t go his way. He struggled to regulate his emotions, in many ways he was functioning as a five year old and was rebelling against a world in which he felt he was alone, with little or no family contact. He experienced that ‘cycle’ for two years but the team stuck with him and were consistent and nurturing.
They took Maxwell back to ‘basics’ and taught him how to gain those skills he had missed in his primary school years; maths, learning to tell the time and to read. While he could only cope with ten minutes in a classroom initially, he formed good and trusting relationships with key staff members and his progress continued until he could spend longer in classrooms, even if he still didn’t enjoy being in them much!
The team really got to know him as a person and built aspects into his curriculum such as fishing; something he loved but which also embedded softer skills such as patience, resilience and remaining calm. They helped him find a practical vocational college course one day a week which further bolstered life skills, personal skills and trade skills. He grew in terms of emotional regulation, confidence, communication and gained qualifications including GCSEs.
Maxwell needed to know that even if he tested boundaries, the team (including pastoral, care, educational and therapeutic and clinical) would stick with him - and they did.
It was essential to plan with Maxwell carefully about his next steps after Wings Notts. The team worked closely with him to understand his preferences of where he wanted to live and what he wanted to achieve. They applied for college courses together, worked with the local authority to make sure he had the right accommodation close to his preferred college. They made sure the college had the right package of support in place to give Maxwell the best chance of success. They visited and Maxwell got to meet his tutors and see where he would be learning.
The Wings Notts approach to transition is this: “Approach each move for a Year 11 as if it was your own child that’s moving. We would never settle for anything less for our young people.”
The change for Maxwell between how he has left Wings Notts compared to how he arrived is amazing – and we have high hopes for his future.
Interested in speaking to someone about placements and referrals? 0800 024 6985 or [email protected].
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