Zoe's story

Case study from November 17, 2015

I began working with Zoe, 7, when her attendance dropped sharply.

Zoe’s family had been going through a difficult time and it was impacting severely on her schooling. Zoe’s mum, Sarah, and father had recently separated, after she asked her husband to leave after years of emotional abuse.

Sarah was finding life difficult as a single parent and was struggling to support her children financially. She didn’t have friends or a support network to fall back on and was finding it a serious challenge to get her other two children to different schools, Hannah at a secondary and the Beth at a special needs school. All three daughters’ schools had concerns about attendance problems.

I identified a number of ways in which we could help Sarah and the girls to improve their environment and get back into school learning. I recognised that they all needed some help to overcome the abusive behaviour they had been subjected to. I worked with a counseling service to get them support and began to work intensively with Sarah to help her rebuild a life for her and her daughters.

Sarah felt isolated and overwhelmed by what appeared to be an uphill struggle for her family. She couldn’t read or write so struggled to assist and encourage the girl’s school work and didn’t have the confidence to try and find a job without these skills.

I arranged for Sarah to attend two parenting sessions which helped her to see the importance of education for her daughters, her role in it and strategies that can help her to achieve her aims. She is feeling much more confident now and wants her girls to see her achieve things and to aspire to do well in life.

I helped Sarah to enrol on an English and I.T course so she can improve her chances of finding employment. She is also taking driving lessons so she can be more independent. Her theory test is booked!

I introduced Sarah to the Parent Teacher Association and volunteering schemes at Zoe’s school. This has helped Sarah to make new friends and given her a renewed sense of purpose. Sarah is now aware of how important attending school is for her daughters, not just in terms of grades but also the social and emotional importance of this environment.

All three children have significantly improved their attendance at school and Sarah’s confidence has improved immensely. Zoe’s family can now really begin to embrace their fresh start and look forward to their future.


*The names in this case study have been changed

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