Notes from Hannah, a School-Home Support Practitioner
Scott is 14 and the second youngest child in a family of six siblings. He currently lives with three of his siblings and Mum, Mary. Scott sees his father periodically. When I began working with the family, Scott’s isolation was severe, his mental health was very poor, and his Mum was struggling with depression and anxiety.
Early intervention to raise attendance
I identified Scott as needing support as he had only attended school for three weeks in the last three years. Scott was referred to CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service) who then referred Scott to Tracks Education (an education provider for young people with mental health issues) so that he could receive home tutoring in the first instance.
Tracks agreed to provide a named teacher for Scott so he had a consistent person for his home tutoring. To ensure that Scott could attend Tracks on a full-time basis, I took the lead in completing an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP), advocating on Scott’s behalf with the support of his school. The EHCP application was successful and Scott started attending Tracks on a full-time basis from September 2018. Though there are still days when he feels too anxious to attend, overall his placement has been a significant success. He is now benefiting from being taught in a group environment and is making friends with his peers.
I also supported and empowered Scott’s mother to successfully complete a Disability Living Allowance (DLA) application for Scott, who was unable to use public transport due to his high levels of anxiety. I also helped Mum to develop her parenting skills to better support Scott and his siblings. I worked consistently with the family over a period of time, providing a combination of practical and emotional help.
Both Scott and his Mum’s mental health and physical health are improving. Mum is able to identify when Scott’s mental health deteriorates and knows whom to contact for support. Scott is a much happier young person now. He smiles, can give eye contact, and is comfortable to engage in short conversations if he trusts that individual. He has a better awareness of his own mental health issues and, through attending Tracks, has learnt that he is not the only young person that needs extra support. He is happy to mix with people he does not know. Scott continues to work with CAMHS, and this is building his resilience to become an independent young person who is able to live with his mental health issues.
Trust and empowerment
Mary, Scott’s Mum:
“My son Scott has missed so much education and not socialised like a normal young person. I am so grateful for her support and although I found this very difficult at times, Hannah made me feel positive by not judging my past and my parenting abilities. Hannah also supported my younger son, Tyler, who has been diagnosed with ADHD to get him into a Primary Pupil Referral Unit. My life is so different now, I still face many challenges but my sons are in a better routine and I can have some time to myself whilst the boys are at school.”
“It took me a long time to trust my tutor, but Hannah came to my house every week and when I could not come out of my bedroom, she did not make me, she gave me time to feel comfortable around her. I attend Tracks – I did not think that I could do this as I have been out of education for around 3 years. At the start, I worked 1-1 with my tutor and now I am in a group setting! Not all of the students like being in groups but I enjoy attending that way. I feel safe there and it helps me get out of my house; something I look forward to.”