Evie*, Year 11
Evie (*not her real name) joined the National Online School in September. She has a history of significant difficulties with her mental health and well-being and has made multiple suicide attempts. She has spent several months in a mental health unit and was unable to return to her mainstream school both due to her social, emotional, mental health needs and that her existing school felt that they could not meet needs. Despite multiple consultations, no mainstream or special school in her area felt that they could meet the needs as listed on her EHCP either. Evie had missed much of year 10 and had not started Year 11.
Evie was adamant that an online provision would not work for her but agreed to give it a chance.
After a rocky start, Evie developed a positive working relationship with one teacher and as she made progress and built confidence with her English language, she was willing to introduce another subject and teacher and began to engage with maths and English Literature. Evie benefited from weekly support from our lead S&L Clinician, who also worked with the tutors to ensure that Evie’s communication needs were supported properly. Our tutors also worked closely with Evie’s mother to develop a more positive working relationship with the local authority which had historically been a fraught relationship.
She has continued to engage well; she is self-reporting a higher level of enjoyment in her work and has a higher level of confidence in her ability. She is now successfully engaging with our online assemblies and is collaborating with other pupils online through our Student Council. As a result of her growing confidence, communication skills and self-regulation strategies she is enjoying opportunities for peer engagement outside of the home.
Evie is working well on all subjects. She is looking forward to taking 6 GCSEs in May and to joining an onsite Mainstream 6th Form to study A levels in September.
Akeem*, Year 6
Akeem joined TCES National Online School in September 2022 following a history of aggressive behaviour. He has been the subject of multiple exclusions and breakdowns in his educational placements. The risk associated with this meant he could no longer be educated in-person.
Akeem is a year six pupil, he has a diagnosis of ADHD and ODD, and is awaiting an assessment for ASC. His initial assessment showed significant gaps in his learning, despite any evidence of a cognitive deficit. He was excluded from his mainstream primary school before a placement at a specialist school broke down. Akeem has since been educated at home by a tutor as no school could meet the needs on his Education Health and Care Plan. This placement also broke down following a physical assault on his tutor.
Akeem was referred to the National Online School by his Local Authority. Because TCES National Online School delivers its entire therapeutic education curriculum online, the risk from Akeem’s behaviour was successfully mitigated.
The TCES Therapeutic approach recognises that the students they teach require more than academic input alone. Akeem began by working online with a single teacher. He also worked intensively each week with a Speech and Language Therapist. His tutor recognised he had developed excellent work avoidance tactics to avoid ‘looking stupid’. But, by working with an experienced SEN Primary teacher, Akeem began to show improvement with his reading and comprehension. His engagement has also improved throughout his placement with TCES National Online School.
The holistic approach from TCES National Online School’s teaching and therapy teams has been vital in supporting Akeem’s development. He has made continued progress working; understanding his emotional state and developing supportive strategies to promote and enable self-regulation.
During his placement with TCES National Online School, as he has grown in confidence and independence, Akeem has slowly been introduced to more tutors. Enabling Akeem to work with more teachers has been a crucial piece of the jigsaw for his future. Because, in February, approximately six months after joining TCES National Online School, Akeem successfully re-integrated into a mainstream primary school. And, in September, one year on, will begin a Year 7 mainstream placement.
R, back to school
We’ve been working with R since September 2022 when their then school advised they could no longer meet their needs after they were unable to attend for almost two years. With no appropriate school for R to transition to, National Online School stepped in to act as an interim placement.
Although R is Year 9, our assessment indicated that they needed to work on the Year 7 curriculum to address gaps, and we have also been supporting with their anxiety and complex SEMH needs with a daily intervention plan created by our Therapy and Clinical Team.
Over the past eight months we’ve worked successfully with R to re-introduce the habit of learning and address gaps. During this time R has experienced multiple successes in their learning which we know will increase the likelihood of successful transition into their new special school.
In April 2023 R successfully transitioned out of the National Online School and back into school.
In 2022 our TCES National Online School supported Alicia to take her English GCSE in her own home with an invigilator, and she aced it!
We’re continuing to work with Alicia who is going for her Maths GCSE this year. She’s also agreed to be an Alumni Mentor, which means she’s sharing her experiences and advice to help other National Online School students.
“When I first began learning with TCES I thought it would be impossible to take GCSEs as I didn’t understand the work. I never went to school, and I thought it would be too much learning to go through.”
“My tutor has provided me with practice exam papers and always allows me to work in my own time. There’s no pressure of working to complete work set in a set time. This has allowed me breathing time and space to allow more thinking and allows me to come back with good ideas and answers.”