Sarah was first referred to Learning Space half way through her first year at secondary school. She has suffered from chronic health difficulties since birth and was finding the demands of a secondary school very difficult to cope with. She had been diagnosed with stress by her GP and the aims of the Learning Space intervention were to help her to develop some coping strategies which would hopefully then reduce her increasing levels of stress and anxiety.
Learning Space met every week with Sarah in school and the first few weeks focused on building trust so that she felt comfortable to talk about how she was feeling and the exact difficulties she was facing. When asked how happy she was at school she scaled herself at 2 out of 10.
From then on the solution focused sessions supported her to find her own ways of resolving issues. For example she felt she needed a lot of support for homework and liked the idea of staying after school for homework club; the first time she attended she arrived home really pleased with herself as she had managed to complete all her work and could then enjoy a relaxing evening. The Learning Space sessions looked at ways she could ask for more help and explanation in the classroom as well as how she could improve her organisational skills. Learning Space met with Sarah’s mother at the outset of the programme in order to explore her parents’ best hopes for the programme.
At the beginning of the intervention Sarah lacked a lot of self-confidence – she relied heavily on the adults around her both to express her difficulties and also to put in place measures they thought would resolve her issues. The solution focused methods used by Learning Space helped Sarah find her own voice and encouraged her to think through what she herself could do in order to cope better in school.
Sarah is now performing much better in school and is a lot happier; on a recent scale of happiness in school Sarah put her at a very high 9. Her stress levels are lower – Sarah’s mother reports that although she still shows some signs of anxiety particularly after holidays or weekends, Sarah is now coming into school much more confident and relaxed. She is now able to approach teaching staff positively whenever she needs support.