ELS Education Ltd
A Complex Need Story
Interim Education Provision
Years 7 - 11
Teaching & Learning with our Ears, Eyes, Hearts and Undivided Attention!
Referred in January 2013
A chance meeting with the parents at a party first brought Issey to our attention.
Parents were very concerned as Issey had been ill and house bound for 3 years. In an effort to get her to do her GCSE’s parents had paid for distance learning course. There was a concern that she needed a teacher to engage with and asked if we would meet her to see if we could offer some home tuition to supplement the home learning course.
Initial Home Visit
Surprised to find Issey was actually 18? And we were keen to understand why she was taking her GCSE’s at this age.
Issey, who was clearly very bright had had a difficult education experience, diagnosed with dyspraxia and often finding herself being labelled different and feeling isolated.
To add to this, at the start of her year 10, she started suffering from a very painful debilitating condition - juvenile osteoarthritis. As a result she was house bound and missed 3 years of schooling during a critical period of her education.
3 years of isolation had taken a toll. Being a visual and auditory learner she needed a level of interaction to keep her motivation. She was aware that her absence from school and peers meant she struggled with large groups and exam situations. These situations often led to panic attacks. This situation had hindered Parents efforts to get her back into mainstream school.
The one group involvement she had been able to sustain was an Art Therapy group she attended each week.
During the family meeting it became clear that Issey being isolated at home was having a detrimental affect not only on her but the whole family.
The parents were keen to have her ‘step out’ of her comfort zone.
Trust built through the home visits allowed Issey to agree a trial period, of one to one tuition at our site in Hounslow rather than home tuition.
The family was concerned her dyspraxia would make it difficult for her to find her way easily (she struggled knowing right from left when taking in directions). Their fear of her getting lost was high.
We agreed to pick her up from the tube station and bring her to our centre. After 3 weeks we were able to support her in taking the courtesy bus to the centre. With growing confidence she was able to walk to the centre by herself after the first term.
Our assessments showed that Issey, though an able student, had huge gaps in her education.
Parents were keen for her to take GCSE’S in core subjects of English, Maths and Science (Biology, Chemistry, Physics) and Spanish.
They were made aware that her emotional state, physical condition and difficult education history would make this a real challenge in the 5 months we had to prepare her. An optimistic target of C/D grades was agreed.
We were able to quickly put together a flexible package, providing a timetable with a balance of academic, physical activities and therapeutic support.
The time table was to reflect a school day, with a 5 day a week attendance. She was to maintain attendance at the Art therapy group on Thursdays as this had been one positive experience for her during her illness.
Fitting Spanish into the time table was difficult so we provided a Spanish tutor to work with this at home.
Teaching and Learning
We had to adapt our strategies to accommodate her dyspraxia needs. Recognising the difficulties and finding creative way of overcoming them eg painting finger nails on each hand a different colour to remember right and left when working on Vectors, organising the room so there was clear space for movement, ect.
The 5 month period allowed us to develop a positive relationship with Issey. As important as the academic work (which she referred to as chilled out learning) was the opportunity to have conversations about past history and future possibilities. She found the strategies to manage her dyspraxia and panic attacks useful.
Over time she was more confident of being away from home, spending weekends with friends and returning to her love of Horse riding.
Working with the family was an essential element of the support offered.
Exams were a critical period for her. Staff supported her to manage her anxiety and panic attacks through this period.
Left home to attend an International School in Costa Rica to do an International Baccalaureate.
Two years later went on to do a Degree at Florida State University
Issey has seen her relationship with the ELS as an important stepping stone in her future education path.
We admire her courage in wanting to overcome her difficulties and wish her success in the future.
Fact File - Melanie
Date of Referral
January 2013 - July 2013
Part time at ELS Centre
Full time at ELS Centre
5 iGCSE | PSCHE
Fitness & Sport
5 Home Visits
5 A* - B
Exceeded her GCSE’s target grades by achieving:
English - A*
Maths - A
Biology – A*
Chemistry - B
Physics - B
Spanish - A
Was able to manage her osteoarthritis and started Horse riding