23rd November 2020

This report covers the 3 academies in Devon rebrokered in Nov 2018 and Torlands academy which was de-amalgamated in Sept 2019. It is the first full year report under Wave Trust. The Trust was showing vast improvements again from last year but the final terms figures have been affected by Covid-19.



The leadership at Stansfield, Shoreline & Torlands has embedded well and 2019-2020 saw the first full year for Executive Principal, Clare Barden for Behaviour academies and Helen Casson for Medical. River Dart remains a challenge but with Vice Principal Nicola Perrins appointed mid-year and Clare Barden based there many improvements have been made.


Last academic year each of the Devon academies successfully passed independent safeguarding reviews conducted by Babcock at the request of the Local Authority.  Stansfield Academy also underwent a thorough Safeguarding Inspection conducted by Babcock during the first lockdown, which resulted in a very positive report (about their practice and procedures) being produced and shared with the Local Authority. 


During the last 12 months, the Trust has implemented several strands from our five-year strategic plan.

In line with the Wave Trust’s Strategic Plan and the ambition for growth Wave was awarded Glendinning House special free school, based in Newton Abbot, Devon and we have been working closely with the Department for Education as well as Devon Council who have been very supportive in first finding an alternative temporary site for the academy as well as leading the way on a refurbishment programme to ensure the academy opened its doors in September 2020.

The new school will open on its permanent site to pupils in January 2021. The capital programme was severely hampered due to bad weather in the first quarter of 2020 and then subsequently by the restrictions due to Covid-19.

Wave has also been selected to run a new 120 special free school in Somerset.

Literacy: All Devon Academies undertook 2 day Read, Write, Inc training at the beginning of September 20 and now offer daily reading, literacy interventions and/or phonics delivery.  All staff have also been trained in using Star Reader Assessment and Wave have invested in RWI resources as well as appropriate reading resources for all students.  River Dart Academy has also invested in a purpose-built library.

Trauma-Informed:  All Devon Wave staff have undertaken Trauma-informed/relational/nurture training, delivered by the Executive Principal, and this is evident in all aspects of all of our schools.

Curriculum:  All Devon Academies have adopted/implemented the Wave 4-part model curriculum – Wave commissioned a Consultant to work with Senior Leaders last academic year to develop Curriculum plans which met the needs of our students.  Our curriculum offer has expanded in all of our Academies for all Key Stages, and the qualification offer for KS4 now includes Core subjects including English Literature, as well as a suite of BTEC vocational qualifications, meaning all students have the opportunity to achieve at least 8 GCSEs or equivalent.

Family School:  All Devon Behaviour Academies have now successfully run Family School sessions on-site, but unfortunately these are currently on hold due to the second lockdown.  Wave are committed to engaging with our parents onsite to increase the value placed on education, educate our families about neuroscience and child brain development.

Metacognition: All Academies have either had, or are due to have, metacognition training delivered throughout this term.  Embedding metacognition in our academies is part of our 5-year strategic plan.


During the whole of 2019-2020 Wave has continued to improve its premises. Further developments are planned for 20-21. The new build for River Dart Academy sponsored by both the department for Education and Devon Council is in the design & feasibility stage. Merrivale was opened as the new base for Torlands academy and their base in Tiverton was relinquished.

River Dart

Kitchen: Removed, painted, new kitchen in place.

New heads office & library: In place

Primary Move: Completed

Windows: Completed during summer.

Fencing: completed

Front doors: completion Autumn 20

New Build: Feasibility study completed and tender due for pre-Xmas; Framework call-off begun.

Internals of one of the temporary classrooms brought back into use as was condemned


Glendinning House

Temporary Site:  Site handover mid – August.

Permanent Site:  Handover 18th December


Gates at the Primary have been installed.

Fencing a Clearwater

Redecoration partially complete

Internal partitions completed

Internal doors replaced

Garden cleared


Outside area planting and seating completed


Fencing & new gate: completed

Redecoration completed

Internal doors: completed additional internal doors to do


Redecoration internal



The assessment of pupil results in 2019-2020 has again been affected by Covid-19 however, the results do show improvements

19-20 Results (See Appendix 1 for previous year comparators)


Celebratory Headlines

River Dart

1 pupil achieved 4 G.C.S.Es at grade 4 or above (including a grade 6 in Biology).

100% of pupils achieved a G.C.S.E grade 1-9 in English Language, Maths and Science.

45% of pupils achieved grades 4-9 in English Language


100% of students achieved 1 - 9 in GCSE English and Maths                                                          

73% of students achieved 1 - 9 in GCSE Science  

1 pupil achieved GCSE English grade 6.                                                                   

2 pupils achieved GCSE grade 5 in Maths.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             


1 pupil achieved a 5 in maths and Biology and a 6 in Eng Lang                                                      

1 pupil achieved a 5 in Eng Lang                                                                                                                

1 pupil achieved a 6 in Eng Lang                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                


2 pupils achieved a 6 in Eng Lang                                                                                                              

1 pupil achieved a 7 and 6 in Combined Science                                                                                

1 pupil achieved a 6 in Eng Lang and 6 in Maths                                                                                 

1 pupil achieved a 6 in Eng Lang, 6 in Maths and a 7 in Biol                                                            

2 pupils achieved a 7 in Maths                                                                                                                   

1 pupil achieved a 7 in Eng Lang and a 7 in Eng Lit                                             

1 pupil achieved a 7 in Eng Lang, 6 in Eng Lit, 9 in Maths, 9 and 8 in Combined Science and 7 in History                                                     

1 pupil achieved a 7 and 7 in Combined Science                                                                                

1 pupil achieved  an 8 in Eng Lang, 8 in Eng Lang, 8 in Eng Lit, 7 and 6 in Combined Science, 6 in Art

1 pupil achieved a 6 in Eng Lang and 7 in Art                                                                                                       

1 pupil achieved an 8 in Eng Lang, 7 in Eng Lit, 7 in Maths, 8 in Chem, 8 in Biol, 7 in Phys 

1 pupil achieved an 8 in Eng Lang, 6 in Eng Lit, 7 in Maths, 6 in Biol, 7 in History   

1 pupil achieved a 6 in Eng Lang                                                                                                                

1 pupil achieved a 6 in Eng Lang and a 6 in Art

1 pupil achieved a 6 in Art

1 pupil achieved a 7 in Eng Lang and a 7 in Maths


The local governance structure of the academies, our Pupil Performance Scrutiny Committee (PPSC) has been set up for each academy, although recruitment of members for Stansfield and River Dart has been challenging.  This includes Glendinning Academy.

The Executive Principals regularly contribute to NORDAB, Devon SLS (formerly DASH & DAPH) and DEF organisations. There is regular communication with key stakeholders at Devon County Council (DCC).


Torlands places increased from 90 to 106 commissioned

Glendinning first year increased from 45 to 54 – starting full

Orchard Manor – we have submitted an expression of interest to help improve Orchard Manor

Support for Avanti

Expression of interest Devon Special School


  • All careers leaders are meeting fortnightly via Teams, supported by Devon and Cornwall Careers coordinators. Our aspiration is to provide a consistent entitlement across the trust whilst recognising the uniqueness of each school.
  • All Devon Primary staff have trialled the International Primary Curriculum.
  • Curriculum Reviews have been completed and a four part curriculum has been implemented.
  • River Dart have won funding to run a project called back on track, encouraging students to explore music. Devon music education hub.
  • Stansfield Academy have participated with an ex-Lecturer from Bath University on a Research Project, based on creating an ‘Attachment Aware’ school and monitoring improved outcomes for students. Unfortunately this work had to cease due to lockdown, but we look forward to resuming it as soon as we can.
  • NAHE peer review.
  • Outreach offer planned for 20-21 and further strengthening of Bridge project.


Some Feedback

  • From parents: 'The support you have given C is just phenomenal. I keep singing your praises to everyone we meet. She's done really well, but the support you and your team gave was second to none. We'll be forever grateful.'
  • J asked me to pass on her heartfelt thanks to all staff at Wave. Jane said that X [new provision] now have very big shoes to fill and her family are hopeful that T will be as happy with X as he was at Wave. J said ‘You all saw my son and recognised his potential as a child with ability rather than as a child with complex disabilities, M and I will always be grateful for that, thank you’.
  • ‘Thank you so much, the world truly is a better place for our young with the care and attention you give to help them.’
  • 'A huge thank you to all of D's teachers and everyone who has supported her. Your school has been an absolute Godsend for her. It's been so good for her - it's been brilliant for her confidence. She's done so well with you, and I only wish she could have come to you sooner as you've been absolutely brilliant with her. I am so grateful to all of you.’
  • ‘I would like to thank you and all your staff for the help N has received over her time with you. She still has a difficult time ahead while she recovers but I think she would have been in a much worse place if she hadn't had the encouragement and support of her lovely teachers. From the day she was accepted by Wave it has been such a weight lifted off us as parents to know we could focus on her health as her education was being so well looked after by your team. I wish you all best wishes and that your school goes from strength to strength. I think N would like to thank H in particular as she gave her so much confidence to take part in her classes.’
  • From the Inclusion Team: ‘There are some excellent results here and it's testament to the hard work of your team as well as the pupils. Well done and thank you.’
  • From an Educational Psychologist: ‘Many thanks for all the wonderful support of E and her family by Torlands Academy.’

Case Study - Meet Student D

17.07.19 Accepted at medical panel.

Reason for referral:  D's emotional development and psychological functioning severely affected by traumatic family experiences; insecure sense of self, low mood, intense anxieties, difficulties with relationships.

School attendance from Sep 2018-July 2019: 33.7%

Recommendation by health professional:

‘Mainstream education would be detrimental to D’s emotional well-being and this will be the case for the foreseeable future. It is essential that alternative provision is available to him that will provide him with the opportunity of engaging in education. Recovery from his traumatic experiences, and his being able to grow in confidence, will be a very gradual process; alternative educational provision will be an essential part of this process of recovery.’

Actions taken

  • Group online lessons put in place with regular family support.
  • 1:1 Music lessons in the centre added
  • Small group Art lessons in the centre added
  • 1:1 Cooking in the centre offered but not possible owing to lockdown
  • Group online lesson time increased during lockdown
  • Taster session for group lessons in the centre offered
  • Phased integration into centre lessons
  • EHCPNA request prepared and requested through school


  • In July, 2019 D was too traumatised to engage with education.
  • In September, 2019 he attended and engaged with 12hrs of group online lessons and regular family support.
  • In December, 2019 he began to attend and engage with Music lessons in the centre
  • In February, 2020 he began to attend and engage with small group Art lessons in the centre
  • In June, 2020 he attended and engaged with 16 hours/week of lessons online
  • In July, 2020 he was approached by an established musician who would like to collaborate with him and by record label who will release one of his singles in September. His sister’s music (which he produces) was played on BBC Radio South West’s New Music show.
  • In September, 2020 he began his phased integration into the centre
  • In November, 2020 he is attending and engaging with 19hrs/week: 16hrs of group lessons in the centre and 3hrs of online lessons. Attendance from Sept 2020-Nov 2020: 97.5% (only absent for 1 day when needing to self-isolate)


He plans to apply to do A Levels at Exeter College

Pupil’s comments

'I'm getting fixed’

Parent/carer’s comments

'Thank you so much for your amazing support for D. We have all been watching D thrive in amazement. The progress D has made has been amazing. He's started to really trust you all. He's decided he wants to have a go at learning, and actually let himself go, let himself enjoy it. The fear has gone, and the negative thoughts in his head have subsided and something new is happening for him.

The other day he was so excited at home, writing his speech for his English teacher. He's discovering he's quite good at things. He's really taken to going into school. He feels comfortable answering direct questions about a topic in class now. In the past anything like that would have had a massive impact on him afterwards, and he'd have needed to withdraw and take a long time in his room to recover from it. Now he's relieved when he comes home, but it doesn't set him back again. The family are so excited for him, we are all really thrilled, and so proud of him. Sometimes we all come to collect him in the car just for the thrill of seeing D walking out of a school building!’

Meet Student E

Referral from school: ‘There is a need for urgent help for E who is at risk of taking her own life. E has not been to school this year and sees no point if she is not going to be alive.’

School attendance since Sept, 2019: 0%

Referral from health professional:

E is struggling with emotional regulation, experiencing suicidal thoughts and engaging in self harm. She is exhibiting symptoms of complex post-traumatic stress disorder. She is showing pervasive patterns of instability coupled with relational attachment difficulties and avoids situations where she might be rejected. E has a chronic feeling of emptiness; transient, stress-related paranoid ideation, and dissociative symptoms. Trying to manage all of these difficulties has impacted on E's ability to focus on school work and left her unable to access mainstream education at this time.

Actions taken

2hrs Maths, 2hrs English 1:1 outreach lessons initially, when very unwell and easily overwhelmed

2hrs Biology added when well enough to increase learning hours

Biology put on hold and 1hr/week of Art added instead during lockdown as health dipped

Art lessons in the centre added – 2.5hrs/week

Provision moved from outreach/online to being with small group lessons in centre – 7.5hrs/week - 2hrs Maths, 2hrs English, 2.5hrs Art, 1hr PSHE initially

Hours/days increased to: 14.5hrs/week, 3hrs Maths, 3.5hrs English Lang & Lit, 2.5hrs Art, 1 hr PSHE


In October, 2019, E was too traumatised to engage with education and was at risk to herself

In November, 2019, she began to engage with 4hrs/week of education and regular family support - 2hrs Maths, 2hrs English

In February, 2020, Biology was added, 2hrs/fortnight

In June, 2020, (during lockdown) her health dipped so Biology was put on hold, and Art added

In July, 2020, she began accessing the centre for Art lessons, then Maths and English lessons also

In September, 2020, she came into the centre for all her lessons except for PSHE

From September, 2020, her provision has increased from 7.5hrs/week to 14.5hrs/week, and she’s now engaging well with Combined Science as well as English Lang, Lit, Maths, Art and PSHE.


She plans to apply to do A Levels or a Level 3 Art course at either Exeter College or Petroc

Pupil’s comments

‘I really appreciate increasing my time in lessons slowly. I have found that very helpful. I much prefer coming in [to Merrivale]. I expected everyone to be lovely here but it’s even better than I expected.’

Parent/carer’s comments

‘I think our family life is feeling a little bit happier now that E is going out to school, little steps.  On Saturday, she walked by herself into town and checked out the charity shops. This is the first time for well over a year that she's made herself do something like that. I've had to promise I won't be expecting it again any time soon or get too excited! Thanks, as always, for your support.’

‘Thank you to everyone at Merrivale, you're all so dedicated and amazing.’

Meet Child T

T started at The Shoreline Academy on the 28th January 2019 and was then a year 10 student. T was permanently excluded from her mainstream school- Okehampton College for violent and threatening behaviour towards staff.

 T is a child in care having been in the same care placement since she was six years old. In October 2018 there was an escalation in her behavior resulting in frequent missing episodes, involvement with shoplifting and theft, escalated drug misuse and exposure to CSE. These all has resulted in police involvement and the relationship within the placement broke down.

 T was then placed in a range of temporary foster placements- all of which failed. Through extensive work both with T and her original foster carers, T was able to return to her permanent placement in March 2019. Although there have still been a range of behaviour displayed since her return, this placement is now calm and settled.

T has had to overcome some complex traumas in her life, she struggles with her low self-esteem, which often leads to her making poor behaviour decisions.

At Shoreline, T has a bespoke personalized timetable to suit her needs.

Referral Timescale

T has been with us since January 2019. At Shoreline, staff have worked hard to support T’s needs and it has been clear that T’s needs are far more complex than what a mainstream school could offer support for.

Actions Taken

When joining Shoreline Academy, we made the decision to make a referral to Futures farm for T to attend. T needed an opportunity to re-engage in academic life but at the time was not ready to learn. We were going to implement a phased transition into The Shoreline Academy. T needed to learn to interact constructively with adults and peers alike in an environment conducive that allowed her the chance to explore positive relationships amongst students who experienced a range of individual needs. She needed to demonstrate that she was able to successfully form trusting relationships and accept and work within agreed boundaries.

In September 2019 we made a referral to changing lives through horses.  T was struggling to cope emotionally with a full-time timetable, with T’s love of horses and previous experience, she was excited to start. We received positive feedback from changing lives regarding T. She was very keen to progress, sometimes thinking that he ability was at a higher stage than the stage she was actually at. T has completed her Ride Award 1 and Achieve Award 1, these were achieved within just one month of starting at changing lives which was a huge positive for T.

In November 2019 we made an educational psychologist referral for TGG. As a school we needed:

Support to evidence an EHCP referral.

Advice/strategies on how best to support TGG further and allow her to access a curriculum.

To access additional support with mental health challenges.

At this point we had already tried the following:

Reduced timetable to enable T to re-engage.

Bespoke timetable to incorporate off-site, personalized learning.

T had requested to be back on the school site for more time, this was at the time being trialed but she was persistently dysregulating.

Visit to potential Post 16 setting in order to raise aspirations

In January 2020 we introduced intervention sessions to T’s timetable. These were regular slots on the days T attended school. Intervention sessions were designed to focus on individual needs of T. T refused to engage with these sessions within a classroom. She appeared very distracted. Some positive conversations were had within the corridor, where T felt safe.

A lot of options were offered to T. As a school we attempted to alter T’s timetable, introducing different start/ finishing times. We were able to do this through monitoring T’s behavior and looking at her patterns in behavior and what her triggers may be.

After this, we introduced working with T offsite, away from distractions. This still resulted in refusal to engage and cooperate with staff. At times, T’s behavior became very abusive and posed a danger towards herself and staff. T became un- responsive to working with staff, even those who she had a positive relationship with.

T was mentally unable to engage successfully with school and refused all that was offered to her, except changing lives, that she really enjoys doing.

T continued on an on-line timetable throughout COVID 19 Lockdown, this alongside the activities arranged by carers for the family and the enforced removal of outside influences allowed T to flourish.

She completed her GCSE and vocational qualifications and supported by Shoreline applied for and was accepted on an equine based course at Duchy College in Cornwall.

T left Shoreline in July 2020.


T had positive feedback whilst at Futures farm and Changing lives, she looked forward to this each week. This has inspired her to look towards an apprenticeship or trainee ship within the Equine pathway. This is being explored both in a college and placement setting.

Parent View

This was obtained from carer during COVID lockdown and whilst school are implementing the Distance Model of Learning for students:

‘Lockdown has been strange for us all. However extremely positive in many ways despite sometimes wishing to have child free time.

T has made sacrifices that I was unsure she would be able to sustain. She has not left the house unless with me for a walk or cycle. She has not been able to smoke weed or see her friend. She is desperately missing the horses.

She has worked harder in the garden than anyone. She has painted the barn, chopped down trees, moved rocks and shovelled concrete. Painted gnomes, cleared the stream and baked numerous things. In all honesty she has been so so good and a pleasure to be around.

I think the experience has made her feel more secure within the family and appreciative of the.

Every day is a different challenge in itself.

By evening, we generally all have a sense of achievement in some shape or form. Kids have all got on well for most of the time.

Sadly one girls’ placement has now ended as she was unable to isolate.

M and I quite like each other so we are good! In fact apart from not seeing our grandchildren we could go for another 6 months.

All those things that we were going to get round to are done (nearly.)

Despite all the sad and awful experiences others have. I can safely say that we are very proud to have triumphed.’

Meet Child A

A is a year 10 student and is a student at The Shoreline Academy- previously North Devon Academy. We first met A when he was permanently excluded from Holsworthy Community college in 2017.

 At this time, A was living at home with Mum, Step-Dad and three siblings, although, later during the year there were issues within the family home, resulting in A moving to live with his Grandparents and attending school near Launceston. The relationship between Mum and Grandparents deteriorated and A returned home to live. At this point he also returned to NDA.

Home-life was extremely difficult and violent for A and following several MASH enquiries from School, Social Care became involved and A was placed into respite care via a section 20 voluntary order.

This proved to be very successful and A has remained within this care placement, this is now permanent.

A transitioned back to Okehampton College in September 2018 and initially this was successful but the placement broke down and A returned to Shoreline where he is now following a blended timetable of learning to include an on-line learning package, time on site at Springfield Court and one day weekly with a third party provider.

This is currently working well for A.

Referral Timetable:

A has been at Shoreline over a period of time since 2017, and will now remain on roll until the end of Year 11.

Actions Taken:

Shoreline trialled a variety of blended timetables in order to engage A in both academic and vocational studies. Initially he displayed extremely dangerous behaviours. A was keen to return to a mainstream setting and was able to recognize the barriers that were preventing him from doing so. He worked hard with Shoreline to achieve what appeared to be a successful transition. By his own admission it was often difficult for A to detach himself from others behaviours, this jeopardised his place at his new school.

Discussions around him being dual registered again were discussed and at this point both A and carers were reluctant for him to return to Shoreline as it was felt he would view himself as a failure. After discussion a blended package was offered to include an online learning package, mechanics on site and one day weekly at a Forest School Setting.

This proved very successful. Once lockdown was imposed, he continued with the on-line learning package supported virtually by staff.

A returned to school in September 2020 as per Government guidelines and requested that he attend site for extra days, his blended package remains but now includes more time spent on site.


The support put in place for AD has meant that he has been able to re-engage with Shoreline and to remain in a stable educational environment where staff are equipped to meet his needs. He is able to make some academic progress with his learning moving towards Post 16 options.as well as beginning to show a better understanding of his emotions enabling him to control his behaviour and de-escalate more easily. He is able to self-reflect and rationalize incidents.

Pupil Comments:

A did not want to return to Shoreline following his failed transition at Okehampton but he now states that we have managed to give him a timetable that covers all the things he needs. He feels safe and comfortable back at Shoreline.

Parents View:

Initially carers were concerned that if A returned to Shoreline his behaviour may regress, this has not been the case and they are happy that A is settled back in so well and that he is engaging well in a bespoke timetable. His is making progress and on track to achieve good grades.

Lessons to be shared with the LA to improve practice:

It is important to complete a graduated response in the form of an Assess, Plan, Do, Review document to monitor and track what provision and support is needed as well as what is working and what is not. This can then be used to determine whether we, as a school, need to request an EHCP for a student. This process should be done efficiently so that a suitable, long term educational provision can be found. It is also important that a robust transition package is put in place in order for the transition to be a success. How -ever it should be noted that for some individuals, the trauma experienced in early life can mean that a mainstream setting is simply not appropriate and cannot afford the flexibility to implement a bespoke, individual timetable to enhance and promote further the learning of the student.

Meet Child X

Child X is a Year 8 pupil who has attended Stansfield Academy since September 2019. Prior to arriving, Child X had attended a significant amount of Primary and Secondary schools raising difficulties in tracking a consistent educational and emotional chronology. Child X arrived with little academic history or SEND assessments to identify need - due to the constant changes. In addition, Child X has experienced a range of adverse childhood experiences and remains living in a challenging and disjointed family unit. He currently resides with his Nan and Grandad and although mother refuses to release parental responsibility, she has frequently told Child X that he is not wanted or cared for. Since arriving we have been able to build upon his self-esteem and provide a safe and trusting environment built on a foundation of positive relationships. This positive engagement has enabled our staff and SENDCo to work closely with Child X, resulting in completed assessments to identify need. Child X has now received an EHCP Draft.

In Child X’s previous setting his attendance was 35.7%. His attendance has been consistent since arriving at Stansfield and is currently 91.6%, an incredible increase. The impact in the family home has also been positive allowing his grandparents to return to work and experience respite whilst he attends school. Due to positive changes both at school and in the family home, Child X is no longer a Child in Need and the family are receiving continued support from our Parent Support Group within school - currently on hold in response to COVID-19.

Child X lacked confidence when approaching his learning, his appearance was “grey” and withdrawn and behaviours would escalate to aggressive and violent towards staff and peers when challenged. Child X was working significantly below age related expectations, particularly within his reading and writing. Approaching any form of reading activity would trigger high anxiety, resulting in refusal and further dangerous behaviours. Once Child X had formed positive relationships with staff and felt safe to approach learning challenges and experience successes and celebrations, we began to see a real positive shift in attitudes to learning, behaviour and physical improvements in his health and well-being. Child X received additional phonic intervention to encourage and identify gaps in learning and is now engaged in his daily literacy sessions with confidence. Child X also now wears his glasses, which was previously another trigger for this young person.

We found that Child X’s confidence and attitude towards learning continued to excel during lockdown in response to COVID-19. The relationships staff had established with both Child X and his grandparents allowed us to continue support via our online offer and daily contact, therefore further develop and build on the progress he had already made.

“The time, effort, patience and understanding you put into this learning has changed his attitude to learning.”


Meet Child Y

Child Y came to River Dart Academy in November 2019 when she was permanently excluded after a managed move had failed. Factors in her permanent exclusion included physical assault against other pupils, verbal abuse of pupils and adults, theft, persistent disruptive behaviour and bullying. She was deemed as a risk to other students and was therefore permanently excluded. Throughout all of this, Child Y was not living at home but in a private arrangement with a family friend due to issues between mother and daughter resulting in Police being called to the home and a referral to the Youth Intervention Team. Outside of the home, she was involved with drugs and youth anti-social behaviour which was all exacerbating the concerns in the home. Y had a history of self-harm and a displayed a need to adhere to specific and rigid routines. Any disruption to the routines caused extreme emotional distress and dysregulation. It was felt that Y showed traits of Autistic Spectrum Disorder.

Referral Timescale

An Early Help Assessment was carried out in May 2019. This was followed by an EP report which was carried out in July 2019. The EP report recommended an OT assessment be undertaken to determine the extent of Y’s sensory integration difficulties. The report also recommended close work with a mentor, support from Careers South West to ‘establish the feasibility of Y’s career aspirations’ and an early planning meeting with Y and her parents. Following the EP report, an initial assessment for Speech and Language was also carried out. Y also accessed Youth Worker involvement through SPACE, and received support from the Family Intervention Team and CAHMS. Y stopped attending her mainstream school in July 2019 and was permanently excluded in October 2019.  As this time, Y’s predicted grades at GCSE were 3 in English, Maths and Science.

Actions Taken

Y began at River Dart Academy and was offered a safe space in which to work in small class sizes (a maximum of 5 pupils) and opportunities to develop relationships with trusted adults. Y was excluded at the beginning of her time at River Dart for aggression and violent acts towards another student. During this time, Y was offered support in establishing routines and planning using a bespoke timetable. She was also able to develop relationships with a key adult – this was especially important as Y was not living in her family home due to issues between mother and daughter. Due to problems with anxiety based around school, Y was offered a part-time timetable during which time she was supported with online learning and out-reach visits. Y was then offered a successful gradual reintegration into full-time education at River Dart. During this time, there was a temporary closure of River Dart Academy due to a building safety issue. Y was supported once again with online learning and outreach support to provide tutoring and welfare checks and to allow Y to maintain relationships with key adults. Y’s mum was also supported by staff from River Dart when Y moved back into the family home. Within two months of beginning at RDA, Y was engaging in lessons, learning to express her emotions, vocalise her feelings and utilise strategies taught to self-regulate and sooth when distressed.  Y was supported in new situations which had traditionally caused high levels of anxiety and, as a result, was able to successfully visit colleges and careers’ fairs to consider her Post-16 options. During this time, staff made continued efforts to develop a positive relationship with Y’s mum and parental engagement with the school increased as a result. Y was also successfully supported when her new-born sibling was diagnosed with a life-threatening condition. During this time, Y found maintaining relationships with her peers difficult. She was given increased time with her trusted adult in school and 1:1 support from teaching staff to provide both emotional and educational support.

During lockdown (due to Covid 19), Y was offered online lessons (which she engaged in) and daily welfare check-ins. Contact with Y and parental engagement was very good during this period and Y was successfully supported in revision for her GCSE exams. Y remained accessing her education online when school re-opened as her family were shielding due to her infant sibling.


Y expressed an interest in building a future career working in mental health/educational psychology as she wanted to help people and felt that her own experiences would help her to relate to and assist others. Y applied to Exeter College to study for three A Levels. The Careers Teacher, SENDCo and Vice Principal at River Dart Academy liaised with staff at Exeter College and reiterated Y’s drive and determination to succeed. As a result, Y was offered a conditional place at Exeter College to study her chosen A Level Courses.

Due to Y’s hard work and engagement (which was successfully evidenced in her books), Y achieved four G.C.S.Es(Centre Assessed Grades)– exceeding predictions and achieving 6, 5, 5 and 4 in Biology, English Literature, English Language and Maths respectively.

Parental Views

“Thank you for the results, Y and myself are very pleased. I would like to thank you and all the staff at Wave for getting Y to the end of her school life. There was a time when we had real concerns she was not going finish school let alone  get any G.C.S.Es but here we are now G.C.S.Es done and off to college  so a massive  thankyou to you all. Take care.”

Student Views

“I never thought I would get this far. Thank you for helping me.”


As of Oct 2020, Y was successfully attending college and working towards gaining her three chosen A Levels.