Ten-year-old Bobby** has been a pupil at Arc School Napton for 18 months.
Let’s hear his story......
“Bobby is autistic. Previously he went to a mainstream school but, because of his difficulties, had actually been out of school for a while.
He couldn’t cope with the class sizes and the noise and he needed more 1:1 support. While at home he was fine, at school he could be quite volatile. He went to a short-term interim placement to help and was there for two terms. Then he was at home. It was a long time for him to be out of school and he had very low self - esteem. I believe his low self-esteem was a direct result of his experiences at the mainstream schools he attended as he used to say “I just can’t be good at school can I”.
“He used to be a really happy little boy but he just wouldn’t talk about school – that changed the first day he went to Napton. He had been permanently excluded and we needed a solution for him. We needed somewhere that could meet his needs.
“Someone at the local authority suggested Napton and I thought it was too far away, however, on my first visit, I knew it was the right place for Bobby. He has a number of things that he does, or ways he behaves, which other schools have not been able to cope with or understand.
“When I explained these to the team at Napton, they didn’t raise an eyebrow. They absolutely understood and had already supported other children with the same, or similar, challenges. And that was just a massive sigh of relief for me.
“Everybody was so lovely, they made us feel so at ease. Since he’s been at Napton, Bobby has much more self-esteem. He comes home and for the first time in his life, he’s enthusiastic and wants to tell me what he’s learned, what he’s done and share details about his day.
“I could have cried the first time he did it, it was so wonderful. He feels so empowered and confident and he’s really learning.
“We’re so pleased he’s come to Napton. He is at a school where he is getting to learn about all sorts of different things, experience different opportunities. It’s changing his mindset from a “I’ll never be able to do that” to “I’m interested in this, I’m good at it and I might want to do this in my future.
“It’s an incredible place.”
**Name has been changed to protect identity.