For the Whole of Their Life.

Student Success Story

By Hannah Wellham

At DALE at Cessnock we have recently implemented what we have called 'Student Success Plans'. Through these we encourage the students to talk with us and help them to have a voice and input into creating a successful learning environment for themselves. We have had a lot of success with this program and we have recently had a student for whom it has made a significant difference to his learning journey.

In 2018 we had a student who joined us in Yr 9. We learnt that in his educational journey so far, he has struggled to attend school. Since Yr 4 he has recorded minimal attendance and multiple long-term suspensions.

When he joined us at DALE his anxiety levels were high and he was quite hard to engage with. Through many challenges and attempts to re-engage him, it was discovered that the bullying he suffered was so significant that it made school incredibly traumatic.

We found out that he had been suspended multiple times, at his previous school, for always wearing his hat and refusing to take it off. Through the process of the School Success Plan, we discovered that his previous peers would urinate in his hat and make him wear it. It was because of this that he refused to take the hat off. No-one had ever asked him why. By listening to him, we could uncover why he behaved the way he did, since speaking through this with him and working through the fear, he has felt confident coming to school, not wearing his hat in class and beginning to build relationships with the other students at DALE.

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