“Hello – I have been part of New Horizons 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 by my headteacher – I was so scared because I thought this was a 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 so 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 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 at Horizons 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 with out 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. It’s will be great to hear Marcus talking about schools of the future and how different things could be – that would have helped me 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.”