Welcome to Graduately Developing Futures....
Dear James and all at GDF.
I am writing as we draw to the end of the term to express my sincere gratitude to yourself, Lisa and the team for all the amazing work you have done with D since he started with you in September.
As your aware D struggled in a mainstream school environment. He struggled being in a traditional school setting, he often ran away escaping from the school grounds, showed some violent meltdowns, refused to attend school most days by running away and ripping his uniform off, refused to engage in any learning whatsoever and he was always very stressed and anxious at home the knock on effect of his school life.
Since starting at the farm school the progress is unbelievable. He is so happy. He is excited to attend his 3 days we never have any refusal to get up and dressed and ready. He is engaging in learning in his own way with a team that is patient and understanding to his needs. The running away episodes have stopped the violent outbursts have stopped. He is the happiest we have ever know him and this is down to the outstanding support he is receiving from everyone who is working with him at GDF.
The environment at the farm is perfect for D. He does not like to be stuck in a classroom and the farm gives him the opportunity to feel at ease. He has space and activities to keep him fully occupied and enable him to concentrate on learning rather than feeling anxious that there are too many people, too noisy he doesn't feel forced into doing anything and with his pathological demand avoidance this in the past has been a huge barrier to his learning.
I've just had a brief chat with D about how he feels about the farm he says
"They don't force me to do work "
"They explain my work in an easy way "
"I love the animals "
"I like the people like James and Amberley, and Lisa, Mikayla because they are nice and they understand me"
I think D's comments say it all!
Thanks again for making this such a positive experience for D we honestly can't thank you enough you have given us back a happy little boy and we couldn't be prouder.
I cannot imagine him now not with you he is such a changed happy and different little boy. He even reads every night before bed I have never been able to say this before he is enjoying learning now for the first time ever in his school career.
Your farm school is the perfect placement for children like D that cannot cope with a traditional school environment in either mainstream or specialised provision, the physical classrooms, amount of people, school routines do not work with D and many other children and the farm school is that in between that is so desperately needed.
I would never have any doubts about recommending this provision to other parents in a similar situation and am more than happy for you to share this letter with prospective parents and organisations.
May I take this opportunity to wish you all a very merry Christmas and we look forward to seeing what 2021 has to bring.
I just thought I would send an email to you to thank you from the bottom of my heart for all your hard work and dedication that you and your staff have shown towards J over the last 2 years .
When J first came to the farm he was literally a broken shell regarding his previous education or lack of. When he came to you he couldn’t write his name had no literacy or numeracy skills and was lead to believe he was just a disrespectful little boy who refused to learn anything.
You all showed him so much patience and respect which helped J to learn to both trust and respect his peers. Which lead him to believe in himself and his ability to start to learn.
Within a few weeks J had gained so much in all aspects of learning , respect and wiliness to engage in pretty much anything .
Having the animals there also helped J by measuring their food to ensure they were getting the right amount so J was using his numeracy skills without realizing it, totally brilliant. J also enjoys the cooking sessions and is so pleased with himself when he comes home with food that he’s help to make and explains to me what has gone into it and how it was cooked.
I have seen my Grandson go from a very confused, withdrawn, angry and troubled little boy, to a happy, confident, settled, calm, little boy who now wants to engage in learning and willingness to help others .
Once again I want to thank you all for what you and your staff have done to help J grow into this confident little boy, who’s now engaging in education and enjoying his learning .
M has definitely come out of his shell more since having a placement at the farm school.
He loves the practical aspects of it and has come home, majority of the time in a much happier mood albeit some days, mentally tired as a result.
He also has improved with his socialising skills there with the other students to the point he calls them friends. This has also had a positive impact with him.
If all schools had this approach I feel children would have a much happier experience of school.
Many thanks for all your current hard work as well as your team.