A mother’s perspective: The right school for my son, Shay

When Shay went to his first primary school, it wasn’t long before I was called into meetings about his behaviour.  This continued throughout his early years at school until it became very serious, and culminated in Shay being excluded from school more times than he was in school. 

Shay struggles with his emotions, he fidgets and lacks concentration, He is very impulsive and has an explosive temper.  But he can also be a very loving child, is very clever in particular subjects, and has been a member of the local boxing club for the last 5 years.

Throughout 2018, Shay saw a private consultant who diagnosed ADHD and mild autism. Since then Shay has been taking medication.  At that time, his primary school said they had never seen a child like him before and, as parents, we felt the school were washing their hands of him.  Parents of children at the school did organise some training around neurodiversity for the teachers to help them better understand, but it had reached a point where we had to try something else.

Despite numerous attempts to get Shay into other local schools through the appeal process, we were unsuccessful.  Shay has a statement of need and we thought this might provide him with further support.  I eventually got in touch with the headteacher of Broughton Primary School in Flintshire, Mrs Kendrick, who invited us to visit the school.  We were really honest about Shay from the outset.  We found Mrs Kendrick and her special educational needs co-ordinator, Mrs Bibby, very understanding and accommodating.  The school has a nurture room and the teachers have been absolutely brilliant in making Shay feel welcome.

When Shay first started at Broughton Primary School, he was only there for 3 weeks before we went into the first lockdown, Shay went into a class with a teacher called Mrs Goodall and she was absolutely amazing.  She welcomed Shay into her class just like any other child and we could tell straight away that this was an inclusive school that was willing and more than happy to accommodate Shay’s needs. 

Mrs Goodall was kind enough to contact us just before the summer holidays and, after discussing with us, she proposed that Shay stay in her class in the September for another year going into Year 6, as she felt he would benefit from spending more time with her, and we agreed.

The move to Broughton Primary School, and the decision for him to stay with his teacher was the best decision we have ever made for Shay.  Mrs Goodall is amazing and she has gone above and beyond in her role as his teacher.  The trust we see that Shay has with Mrs Goodall is brilliant; he has never had this before.  Mrs Goodall also recommended a book for me to read to help me better understand ADHD in children. 

Mrs Goodall and the school as a team have changed Shay’s life.  He looks forward to going to school and really enjoys it.  He has made friends and, although this is still a struggle for him, he likes his friends and enjoys being around them.  As a parent who has seen friends come and go very quickly, this is a massive achievement which couldn’t have happened without the support from the school. 

Shay is enjoying using the nurture room – called the Rainbow Room – to help him gain some skills in controlling his emotions, and is working with other teachers to help him build trust in others.

Charlie and Shay

We cannot thank Mrs Kendrick and Mrs Bibby enough for the initial meeting, for their support in accepting Shay at Broughton Primary and for all of the effort and work on a daily basis that goes in to meeting his needs. 

Also to the Rainbow Room staff and all other members of staff that have regular contact with Shay, we know that he can be hard work but your patience and efforts are so appreciated.

Mrs Goodall, Shay’s class teacher will probably never understand fully how much she has done not just for Shay, but for us as a family.  Having you all as role models has helped Shay to be so much happier, calmer, more trusting and he wants to achieve so much more.

Thank you, Broughton Primary School!

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