A school contacted us requesting support with mediating between a recently accepted student and his family. The boy had gained a place at the school based on his previous school reports and a brief personal statement. As the school had met neither the boy nor his family, they were unaware that his parents had limited English skills, as did the boy’s guardian.
In turn, this meant that the school’s attempts to communicate with the family where ineffective, much to the pupil’s delight!
The boy’s academic capabilities bore little resemblance to his reports and his attitude was similarly unimpressive. When his behaviour began to influence his peers, a radical solution was sought. On behalf of the school, we contacted the family and explained the situation. Understandably shocked and angry with their son’s devious behaviour, they suggested pulling him out of the school immediately.
Our mentor suggested against this potentially unproductive move. Instead she met with both the boy and housemaster to establish the reality of the situation, ensuring that the boy was aware of the potentially severe consequences of his actions.
The mentor spent the weekend with the boy, discussing what he hoped to achieve from school and life in the UK. After some clichéd and non-committal responses from the boy, the mentor’s tack changed. She enlightened him that his parents were fully aware of his poor attitude, misdemeanours and lack of respect for both them and the school. Initially met with resistance and aggressive defensiveness, the boy’s delusion did begin to recede and he accepted the situation as the reality.
In the following two weeks the boy and mentor spoke daily, enforcing the importance of motivation and discipline. In addition she spoke to the boy’s housemaster and tutor every other day, to ensure that the boy’s words were accurate.
The mentor continues to work with the family and the school. Targets are frequently set, monitored and revised. The boy’s progress continues to be steady and his behaviour has calmed significantly.