Hattie is 16 and lives with her younger brother Henry and their Mum, Alice. Their main financial income is through Universal Credit. Hattie was referred to School-Home Support due to her behaviour in school, as well as her attendance which had dropped to 88%. She was talking back to teachers and using inappropriate language. It appeared she was struggling with friendships and was unhappy at school because most of her friends attended other schools.
Taking the time to understand Hattie’s behaviour
Hattie was allocated Kerstin as her School-Home Support key worker, who spent time getting to know the family. It became clear that Hattie was finding it difficult to control her emotions and anger. She also didn’t know what it was that she wanted to do in the future, which meant she was struggling to focus in school. Alice was also struggling with self-esteem and a lack of aspirations herself.
Through work with this family, it became apparent that there had been domestic violence in their background. Alice and both children had been badly affected.
Working with the family to build a positive mental attitude
Kerstin got to work; mentoring Hattie on her mood swings and anger management, along with working on developing Hattie’s self-confidence and positive thinking. Her Mum, Alice, was also supported to improve her mental health and develop her resilience.
Alice didn’t know that she, as a parent and adult, could go back to college and take free NVQ Level 2 courses and could also access financial support for Level 3 courses.
Kerstin took the whole family to a college open day which offered Hattie the chance to find inspiration and her Mum the opportunity to sign up for an NVQ Level 2 course she was interested in.
Alice completed an NVQ Level 2 course about Autism in December 2020 and has applied for a further course about Working with Families. She is also applying for a part time job with a local organisation that is passionate about parents and young people’s resilience. Kerstin took Alice to a parents resilience course last year and she became part of their parents group they meet fortnightly (online) and support each other.
Alice hopes that she will one day soon go back to volunteering or finding a job to support vulnerable people or people in need. She is still concerned that her patchy CV and lack of practical skills will stand in the way. But Alice wants to make her children proud and show them that anything is possible if you set your mind to it.
With School-Home Support’s help, Hattie’s behaviour began to improve in school and she now wants to become an embalmer, in the hope of working on crime scenes, but could also imagine working in the beauty industry. This new attitude was beginning to be reflected in her behaviour and grades at school. Mum now has a bigger support network by meeting people at college and was hoping to start her next college course soon.
We had closed the family’s case in March 2020 – although, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, their future plans were put on hold and the family is again in need of support.
Hattie was having difficulty accessing the work she must do for school. We recently provided Hattie with a Raspberry Pi desktop kit. The family had also relied on free school meals. Kerstin has been back in touch and is now providing vital help to ensure things don’t regress. Access to food and the motivation to continue to learn are key priorities.
School-Home Support intervention has ensured food parcels were provided from the local food bank, and Kerstin has dropped off work for Hattie and her brother from the school and given the family challenges to complete over the coming weeks to help maintain focus and purpose. With our support, this family will get the help they need to be independent and resilient. We will continue to support Hattie and Mum so that when school reopens Hattie and her brother are in school ready to learn!
“I feel so much happier and more optimistic about my own future now,” Alice told us. “Once I finish this course, I’m going to go into nursing, something I always wanted to do when I was a child. Both my children have told me how proud they are of me because of my recent education achievements and it has spurred me on, to show them both that we can all have a brighter future. I wholeheartedly thank School-Home Support and especially Kerstin for all the encouragement and support this last year and for helping me feel like I have a future again.”
How can you help?
School is a safe space for so many children. With schools shut due to the latest COVID-19 lockdown, this means children like Hattie and her brother Henry are not being seen. At School-Home Support this worries us more than ever before. Many children are in real danger – and not able to access a few hours of sanctuary in their schools.
Children who are growing up in poverty deserve a fair chance to build a better life after this pandemic – and the key to doing this is through being able to learn.