Student X, Let's call him William
‘I like being at my (new school). It has been really good. I like working in a smaller group. At (my new school) I work in a group of 4 students. I benefit from this because, when I ask for help with my work, I receive the help that I need almost instantly. I actually find it easier to learn. For example in English, I can have more attention and things can be explained to me in more detail as there are fewer students that are clamouring for attention and more time for the teachers to explain things. Compared to (my previous) mainstream school, when there were between 20 and 30 pupils in my class, there was always a pupil who is trying to be the class clown and would disrupt lessons by making comments. I didn’t like the usual hustle and bustle and general noise that goes on in mainstream schools. At (my new school) there is nothing like that, the environment is settled and calm. Whenever I need help members of staff are available. The staff are friendly and kind.
At (my new school) it seems that we are all in a similar situation; we all have been excluded from school, so we have something in common. None of the other pupils go out of their way to upset me. All the staff at behave in a respectful way. They listen to me and treat me like an individual. I feel like I have greater independence. I feel trusted to be who I am and not don’t feel judged or expected to behave in a bad way. At mainstream school I had a bad reputation which meant that teachers saw me as a disruptive influence. At my new school the staff have greater understanding of me and my behaviour. I feel under less pressure to behave in a certain way. Staff understand that sometimes I am going to make mistakes with my behaviour and that I can’t always get things right. There is more time and space to help me understand what I need to do and therefore to behave in a good way.
The lessons are peaceful. I get treated well. I like the routine and predictability of how my day in school works. I know what to expect. At mainstream school, inevitably things would change. For example a member of staff might be away. This would cause some changes and disruption to my usual routines. Routines stay the same at my new school, even when staff are away. Members of staff seem to understand me and give me space. Both mainstream school and (my new school) have the same expectations about behaviour, but at (my new school) it feels more relaxed, easier going and there is more time and staff. As a consequence of this I feel less stressed and less weight on my shoulders to behave in certain ways.
At mainstream school I had a history of bad behaviour. My reputation went before me. There was a lot of peer pressure to behave in a way that I knew was wrong. I got ‘dared’ to do things that would get me into trouble. I behaved in a confrontational way. I had a lot of fights with other pupils. Staff at my mainstream school were a bit scared of me. Looking back I did behave in a threatening way. At my new school there have only been two incidents and these were not violent acts. I feel much more relaxed now. I can talk to staff about what is going on for me and I know that I can just have more time to try and sort things out and no one will put pressure on me. The other students are not too annoying.
I like going to school.’