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A BOOKLET BY YOUNG PEOPLE WHO FOUND LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL


OUR AIM We are a group of young people from Bath who have been through a variety of issues during our time at school, from bullying to behavioural problems.

The common theme in all of our stories is the light at the end of the tunnel. All of us have found ways to tackle the problems we have faced.


Our aim is to share our stories to give hope if you find yourself in a similar situation.

We have first-hand experience of what it is like to feel hopeless, confused and scared in school, but we have not let this affect our futures.


CASE STUDY:

BRADLEY, AGE 22

I made friends easily after moving to a new school, but I was also bullied at various times both inside and outside of school. The bullying wasn’t physical, but it affected my emotional wellbeing.

THE BULLYING WASN’T JUST PHYSICAL IT ALSO AFFECTED MY EMOTIONAL WELLBEING I would change loads of things about the education system, including the lessons taught and introducing stricter policies on bullying and exclusion.

I would give students more choice concerning what they learn at school. Ideally I want to become a graphic designer. But when I was told to pick


my options for Year 10 and 11, many of the subjects weren’t relevant to this career path. While there should be core compulsory subjects such as Maths, English and Science, I think other lessons should be more flexible to suit the needs of the individual student. I would also ensure students in Years 10 and 11 were taught key life skills such as how to pay bills and work out their tax.

The advice I would give my ten-year-old self would be to just knuckle down. Getting good grades will help you to pursue your ideal job. I would also say keep your options open, as you will most likely change your mind a few times before you finally settle on a career.

KEEP YOUR OPTIONS OPEN, AS YOU WILL MOST LIKELY CHANGE YOUR MIND A FEW TIMES BEFORE YOU FINALLY SETTLE ON A CAREER


CASE STUDY:

EN, AGE 15

My experience of school was rubbish right from the beginning. I struggled, even in primary school. My lasting memories include being told off a lot and going to the head’s office. They never supported me, perhaps if they had, they would have understood my situation better.

I WAS LOOKING FORWARD TO GOING TO SECONDARY SCHOOL AND THE OPPORTUNITY FOR A FRESH START I was looking forward to going to secondary school and the opportunity for a fresh start. I found it hard though, it was so different to primary school.

It was a bigger school with six different classes, six different teachers and loads of new faces to get used to.


BEING ON REPORT IS A VICIOUS CYCLE

After being excluded multiple times from school, I was permanently excluded.

I started getting told off a lot in lessons for silly things and it led to being put ‘on report’ for the next six years. This meant that teachers had to sign a report to say how my behaviour had been after every lesson. Once you’re on it, it’s hard to get off it - being on report is a vicious cycle.

As a result, I have attended four different senior schools including one specifically for pupils with behavioural issues. I hated this school and didn’t understand why I was sent there. I didn’t have the right resources to finish my GCSEs.

IT FELT LIKE I WAS BEING SINGLED OUT

I became angry because it felt like I was being singled out. It made me not want to attend school and my attendance has suffered as a result. My grades have got worse, I lost friends and it caused friction at home.

I DIDN’T HAVE THE RIGHT RESOURCES TO FINISH MY GCSEs

I am now being mentored and this has helped me to become more motivated for the future. It gives me time to focus on myself and have someone to talk to. I want to become a fashion designer and own my own business one day. It has enabled me to return to school to help me sit three GCSEs. If I could change one thing about the education system, it would be to give more support to young people who need it. I didn’t get it and felt I was never understood.


CASE STUDY:

DREW, AGE 16

The first challenge I remember in school came at the start of Year 7. We were put into houses and given team building exercises. At that stage of my life, whenever we had to work with other people, or talk in front of them, I’d go into ‘shut down mode’. It made me nervous and I didn’t know how to get out of it. Whenever staff tried to help, it went in one ear and out the other.

I WENT THROUGH SCHOOL WITHOUT HAVING MANY FRIENDS They separated me from everyone else, which made me more nervous and the problem got worse. This continued to happen throughout my school

life. Being separated from everyone all the time meant I went through school without having many friends.


STUDENTS MAY MAKE UP AROUND 20% OF THE POPULATION, BUT THEY REPRESENT 100% OF OUR FUTURE! If I could change the education system, I’d abolish it all together and start over. I value good teachers and believe they should be paid more to help students think creatively and innovatively. Students may make up around 20 per cent of the population*, but they represent 100 per cent of our future! I would advise my younger self to start every day afresh and no matter what gets you down - or puts you into shut down mode - take it all on board, use the nerves and anger to strive to be better than everybody else. That way nobody can say you haven’t tried. You might not be the best at talking to people now, but one day you’ll be unstoppable! Now I can talk to people, and there’s barely anything, or anyone holding me back.

My time working with a mentioring charity has shown me that no matter how different I feel, there’s always someone going through something similar and I can help them. Having a mentor for a year gave me someone outside of school and home to talk freely and openly with.

I’d like to say a massive thankyou to everyone at MPlus and my mentor, because without them, I wouldn’t be where I am now.

ONE DAY YOU’LL BE UNSTOPPABLE!

*ons.gov.uk


CASE STUDY:

JORDAN, AGE 17 I hated school right from the start. I’m mostly an outdoors person and didn’t like having to sit indoors all the time. I would mess around, shout and throw stuff in class. It was annoying not learning but I loved being disruptive and the class clown. At secondary school I was put on report from Year 7 to Year 11. Teachers told me I was going to fail and I felt bad.

I HATED SCHOOL RIGHT FROM THE START At home there were difficult things going on. Mum and my little sister left and I haven’t seen my Dad since Year 2. There were good things, like BMXing with my uncle. He was

solid but I felt sad and upset. I needed someone to talk to, someone to listen. Luckily, I found a number of charities that would listen to me.


AT HOME THERE WERE DIFFICULT THINGS GOING ON

I had years of counseling through one of these charities and I still go events with another where people give talks about their childhood experiences.

I was good at PE at school, until I broke my left collar bone. I had to take four months off because I’m left-handed. I subsequently broke it on the same side six more times through BMXing. The sport has been a really big thing in my life. I enjoyed going out to places with my mentor. We both liked BMXing and went nearly every week. He was interested in me and listened to me. Mentoring was sick.

I think if you know what you want to do for a job at the age of ten, you should be able to study for it. I’m currently doing a one-year course in bricklaying. I enjoy it, so I don’t mess around. Now I feel good about the future. I think teachers need to be better trained in how to treat young people who are badly behaved. They need to understand the problems they may be experiencing.

NOW I FEEL GOOD ABOUT THE FUTURE


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This booklet has been created by a group of young people from Bath who have faced challenges at school. It was produced with the help of Fixers, the campaign that gives young people a voice.

FOR MORE ADVICE AND INFORMATION: MENTORING.ORG BULLYING.CO.UK NSPCC.ORG.UK

FixersUK

fixers.org.uk

Company 2194957 Charity 298643 © 2017 Company 2194957 Charity 298643 © © 2018 2017

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