Tom's story

Tom's Story

Thanks to the work of a primary school and Virtual School that implemented the Achieving Schools programme with a focus on Looked After Children, a  boy facing significant challenge starts to achieve.

The Context

Due to a significant history of family violence, Tom was placed under a full care order.

When joining the school, he had had numerous exclusions for physical fighting. Tom demonstrated low self esteem as a learner of maths, and had difficulty in managing his anger. His younger sibling had already joined the school, and as a result Tom had heard lots of positive feedback from him. Relationships had been established between the school and carers. This was significant in Tom’s induction and transition.

The Impact of the Achieving Schools programme

Through collaborating with Achievement for All and the Virtual School, staff at the school were able to implement a clear and outcomes focussed Personal Education Plan for Tom. This involved:

  • Establishing a clear team around Tom, involving a class teacher, learning leader, social worker and carers
  • Creating a PEP (Personal Education Plan) with aspirational, SMART targets
  • Helping Tom to develop friendship groups
  • Offering wider opportunities, such as Football Club
  • Bringing him in to contact with appropriate role models
  • Small group teaching
  • The development of self-regulation strategies
  • A residential trip and aspirational visits
  • Higher levels of communication with his carers
  • Robust progress reviews
  • Encounters with inspiring visitors
  • The benefit of a values-based curriculum, through which Tom and other children could see the need to learn certain things
  • Restorative learning behaviours and support.

The effects were transformative. Since the programme, Tom has achieved well academically, obtaining strong Level Fours in all subjects. He also demonstrated excellent attendance, and made good friends that were supportive of him.

Tom underwent an excellent transition to secondary school, which was supported by a close liaison with the Head of Year 7. He was particularly proud of being a member of the school football team and is now a member of the high school football team. The self-regulation strategies that Tom developed to manage his anger at Highlands have also continued at secondary school.