Case studies

Educational Psychology support to re-integrate a pupil

Successful Educational Psychology support to re-integrate a young person back into education after being out of school for over a year due to anxiety.

Challenge

  • female in year nine had been out of school due to high levels of anxiety for over a year
  • she was receiving some home education through the Medical Education Team Service
  • attendance started to reduce on transition to secondary school as she had problems coping with the academic and social demands of the new setting
  • history of acrimonious parental separation and older sister also being out of school due to anxiety and health needs
  • young person was not able to verbally communicate how she felt to professionals.

Approach

  • the secondary school involved the Educational Psychologist to advise on how they could re-engage this young person back into education
  • the young person initially wouldn’t engage with the Educational Psychologist during a planned meeting at school
  • the Educational Psychologist visited the young person at home several times and gradually a positive relationship was built with the young person, her mother and grandmother
  • creative, practical psychological approaches were used to allow the young person to demonstrate how she felt and what she hoped for in her future without relying on verbal communication
  • using the Sandtray approach, the young person was able to create her world and communicate how isolated and worried she felt at school
  • following this, a member of school staff who had been identified as a keyworker also accompanied the EP on home visits and a relationship between the young person and keyworker developed
  • a peer buddy system was also arranged to improve the support network around her when back at school
  • the Educational Psychologist attended multi-agency meetings with the family, the school, CAMHS, the Medical Education Service and Family Support Services

Outcome

  • a flexible timetable was arranged which the young person began to engage with, based on her strengths and interests
  • the young person’s school attendance improved significantly from not attending at all to being in school and attending lessons for all core subjects plus Art, Home Economics and Religious Studies
  • a plan is in place to continue building her attendance to work towards full time
  • she started to rebuild social relationships which had suffered due to her absence
  • a more positive relationship between the young person and her mother was developing due to less stress trying to get her into school