Harry Foxon attended Ambergate Sports College between June 2013 and June 2016.
The teenager has autism and struggled with his learning and behaviour. He had previously been excluded from school and was reluctant to return to education when he joined the Grantham school. Harry was eventually successful in achieving qualifications including an English GCSE.
He has now gone on to an apprenticeship at St Christopher’s Special School in Lincoln. With support from both Ambergate and St Christopher’s schools and encouragement from his parents, he continues to do well.
Harry’s is a success story worth telling and here it is, in his own words.
What happened to you before you attended Ambergate?
When leaving primary school I chose to go to a mainstream secondary school because I wanted to be with my mates and it was close to home. However, it soon became apparent that my needs could not be met there and my behaviours reflected this. At times I was in crisis. Unfortunately, this led to exclusion from school and my parents ‘home-schooled’ me. This made me socially isolated and I didn’t understand why I was doing school work at home; school is for school work and home is for relaxing. After nine months of dedicated trying, my mum finally encouraged me to return to school. I was reluctant but trusted her judgement and decided to give school another try, despite being very scared and not knowing what was around the corner.
What was it like for you, at first, attending Ambergate?
In order to get to Ambergate I had to access school transport and I found this experience horrific at first and had many attempts travelling in different taxi groups. It was noisy and I was surrounded by different and unfamiliar people. Staff continued to support me and eventually I settled. Upon starting at Ambergate Sports College I could barely read or write, nor could I manage my behaviour. However, with perseverance and determination from some of the most dedicated members of staff, I gradually learned these basic skills. I value those staff to this day.
As the days, months and years went by I struggled incredibly with my behaviour and emotions. Sometimes I needed support and had the help from some phenomenal staff who used strategies and interventions. They helped me get through some of the most daunting times of my life so far.
At times I felt that the school was working against me and trying to manipulate me into someone I am not. How wrong was I?
How has attending Ambergate improved your life?
Today, I can appreciate the staff’s hard work and determination in sticking by me and believing that I could become a better person. It actually inspired me to want to work with vulnerable children who are just like me. Although I still have my own issues to deal with, I am so passionate to help other students. I would like to encourage them to believe in themselves and remember that staff are there to help. I respect the staff at Ambergate, from admin through to the dinner-time staff (who always made my dinners to perfection) and thank them all.