Sarah is a young person who has been traumatised by domestic violence at home. Her school has focused on behavioural issues. Instead of support Sarah receives punishment via ‘behavioural points’. Sarah’s story highlights the urgent need for Sarah was referred to the Winch mentoring programme due to concerns about her well-being and the high number of school behaviour points she collected in a short space of time. She had stopped attending school and, when she did attend, wouldn’t go to her lessons. Sarah lives with her mum, who was experiencing domestic violence when Sarah was born. Despite receiving support from teachers, Sarah didn’t find it useful or relatable, stating she “didn’t get along with them.”

Following a serious incident that resulted in Sarah being hospitalized, the mentor from the Winch worked closely with the school to recognise the immediate care and support Sarah needed during and after school hours. The Winch mentor organised a meeting with school representatives, parents, and Sarah to decide on the best schedule and ways of working, along with identifying the most suitable people to deliver the necessary support.

“I’ve been going to all my lessons. You know, I’m so proud of myself and I was on time for the whole week.”

Given Sarah’s struggles with attending school and lessons and her lack of engagement with teachers and support staff, the mentor and head of year organised a reduced timetable to better support Sarah. These adjustments were made based on an assessment of the lessons Sarah engaged with most and, with her input, to ensure a smooth transition into her day to alleviate anxiety. With the new schedule and mentoring support during school hours, Sarah has drastically improved her attendance, behaviour, and well-being..

“I feel more confident to tell my teachers how I feel and how they can help me.”

The tailored interventions have helped her build stronger relationships with support staff and teachers and connect with new students. Sarah now attends all her lessons on time, engages with multiple pastoral leads, and feels more fulfilled, even supporting other students. Additionally, she participates in various services offered by The Winch outside of school, with ongoing support to monitor triggers and explore beneficial activities like sports and social action groups.