Sophie's school attendance below 10% and even when she was in school she refused to attend lessons. She was completely disengaged and her family was threatened with prosecution. The referrer's hopes for Sophie were for her to begin to engage in education, to attend lessons when in school and to build a positive relationship with an adult.
Obviously if a young person is attending school less than 10% of the time there are many things taking place in that young person's life that may be causing such low attendance. Such low attendance is often a symptom of other things.
I was warned that this young person in all likelihood would not engage – certainly within school, and if in school would not leave the inclusion area which is the only place that she would go.
When I first Sophie in the inclusion room she would not talk or make eye contact. I was able to talk to her and I told her a bit about mentoring and what its purpose was. I had no real way of knowing if she was interested in what I was saying except at the end when I got up to leave she said, 'thank you'.
Her pastoral support worker called later in the day to say that she had enjoyed our talk and she would very much like to take part in mentoring. This immediately seemed like a small triumph and going back to the referrer's hopes we were already making headway. I made an appointment to see her the following week.
When I arrived early at the school I was told that she was not at school that day. Not long into the morning whilst I was seeing other young people I had a message to say that she had arrived. She then willingly came to see me across the school (not in inclusion) and said her only reason to come to school was to see me. She stayed for over an hour and happily and openly chatted with me. We identified many of her strengths and she identified her goals. The next week was similarly successful.
I feel that although it is very much early days we are making progress especially with the hopes of engaging with an adult – Sophie is also coming to school and leaving the inclusion area.
I hope that we will continue to work together – to build confidence and self-esteem, to overcome fears, to build on strengths that are already there and to focus on the goals that were identified.