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Stakeholder Voice

Learners and parents have their say

A Learner Story

“Hello – I have been part of New Horizons (Kassia) on and off for the last three years and they have been amazing. We have an amazing school. We are like our own little dysfunctional family and I can trust all of them from the teachers to the reception staff at the desk, they all care.

I want to thank schools for working together in Warrington to enable me to believe I can be a success. Most of my school life I have had a dream but schools never suited me really – I had my confidence crushed and my spirit was non-existent. I was bullied about my sexuality from the age of 12, being judged over something I couldn’t help and something I didn’t fully understand. My behaviour was not good. I felt so alone I couldn’t tell my teachers or my parents, I was so ashamed. I don’t think everyone knew how alone I felt as life in schools are so busy these days and I couldn’t tell anyone, I just had to put on a brave face. I started to ruin lessons for me and for others – I didn’t mean to.

That led to me hating everyone and everything. I went from feeling happy and confident to someone I couldn’t even recognise I was in such a dark place. A place I wouldn’t even wish on my worst enemy. This ended up with me hating myself being ashamed of who I was. It led me to self-harming – I needed a different type of education to survive. I can admit I was a pain but it was how I was dealing with everything. I should have told someone – I was eventually excluded from 2 schools.

I was then sent to New Horizons (Kassia) by my head teacher – I was so scared because I thought this was a pupil referral unit – I was just thinking in my head, “I am going to be bullied by a bunch of horrible lads twice my age” – I was wrong. I have never felt more safe at a school than I do at New Horizons. It’s a place where it’s not just like a school, it’s a second home. I have teachers I can trust that accepted me for who I am. All the pupils here are in the same situation. We are seen as “out of control students” but we are not really – we are misunderstood. We just need a different, smaller type of schooling with different things and subjects as well as the usual subjects.

When I first got to New Horizons I was diagnosed with ADHD, dyslexia and dyspraxia – no wonder I couldn’t spell in French. I can only just spell in English. Since I have been there I’m getting C’s and above. I have a place on a diploma in fashion and a work placement and I think that is pretty good for someone who was told they were going to leave without a GCSE to their name.

Schools need to work together more to realise that these days’ education has to offer different things to different children. The social side is as important as the subjects – we don’t know how to deal with lots of things in life including dealing with problems and people! I have learned that schools have to be about solid foundations like support and relationships with teachers and most of all respect. I wish I would have never got to how I did – I am made up schools are working together more now – The world is hard but it would have been impossible for me without the input of different types of schools – thank you.”

A Parent's Story 1

To every single member of staff at New Horizons School. It is with a sad heart that I write this as our son is leaving the “Willows Family.” I cannot begin to thank you all for the kindness, support and unwavering care you have shown to our son during his time with you.

Each and every one of you, are the most fantastic individuals and we have felt so privileged to have you involved in our son’s school life.

You have shown care, compassion and understanding & allowed him to feel safe, as he has built a great level of trust with you all. He has loved every minute of every day with you and we wish he could stay at The Willows forever!

The impact you have had on our family life away from school hours is immense. Our home life is so much calmer as he is so much happier. He no longer hurts his sister who bore the brunt of his frustrations after a day in mainstream, where he struggled to cope and manage his emotions. As a parent, you totally removed the dread I used to feel at pick up time, waiting to see how his day had been!

Thank you so much for everything. 

A Parent's Story 2

Dear All at Horizons,
I would like you to circulate this letter of thanks to all employees, particularly the ones whom have dealt with MB born / /98.

After many years of struggling emotionally, xxx High School suggested a short spell at your school as MB was unable to concentrate. She would not go into school and I would say at best MB was in 3 days a week. Even on those days I would receive 1-5 phone calls a day with behaviour issues. Firstly, I would like to apologise as I always thought of New Horizons as a rough scary place to send my precious daughter and wanting to keep her from more harm was quite unwilling at first. The impression was that it was a school for naughty kids who will just bully and fight at every chance.

The reason for MB’s anger:

My ex-husband (a bully is the polite way to say it) had upset my daughter for the last time. He filled her head with rubbish about her not being wanted by me and my new husband as we had just had a beautiful baby boy and she was the outcast and would be better moving in with them. This I know will be money driven but how could I explain that to an 11-year-old girl with all the other changes taking place, high school, a baby in the house etc. She was confused and I, in her eyes, was the enemy. I know he has been working on and off without paying anything towards MB for years. But MB wanted to be in contact with her dad and he threatened that if I were to come to you he would not work and not see MB and it would of course all be my doing. So I opted for what I thought was MB’s best interest to be in contact with her father. However, as you can see from above that did not turn out to be the case. MB finally went to live with her dad for a year. She ended up smoking drinking and taking drugs, realising that her dad was not this nice guy he could pretend to be 1 weekend a month. She was stuck because she didn’t know how to handle it. All she had to do was call but she was scared of what her dad’s reaction would be. She eventually after a year told her step-mother she wanted to come home. They took all her things off her, mobile phone included, sent her to school and told her not to come back. Thanks to one of MB’s friends phoning me, MB came home to stay from that day. After years of counselling moving to a brilliant school called New Horizons she is very much better. I did not want to add to this by her being with more bullies.

How it turned out:

Thanks to the wonderful staff from caretaker to the head, my MB is back. She is stronger, happy, funny and still getting better and stronger every day. She even got to sit her exams and has ambition, goals, objectives, aims, targets and HOPE! The encouragement from you all, the involvement by yourselves…has been a massive part of a healing process. Day to day, hour to hour you have all been fantastic, and not just with MB but with a desperate and frightened mother. You have helped me to see there was a way out of this. You have helped me to help MB I could not ask more of anyone than that. You gave me confidence in how I was handling the situations and ideas to help encourage her. I am so grateful. I don’t think I could ever express the massive relief of pressure from your support. From the first day I met you, I have experienced, help, understanding, advice, support, honesty, caring and efficiency. I hope this goes someway to letting you all know you are doing a fantastic job.

A VERY BIG THANK YOU! If I were there I’d give you all a hug every day. Keep up the good work!
Best regards, lots of love D.