Craig: A Values Academy Success Story

Craig came to Values Academy aged 15. He was first referred at the end of Year 10 and spent just over a year with us.

Bright, but underachieving by miles, Craig had a much-disrupted education up to this point. His previous school attendance was very poor, involving fixed-term exclusions and managed moves, and he had experienced lots of failed interventions.

He found it difficult to form and maintain relationships with adults and his peers. He had no confidence, and very little self-esteem. In the end, Craig and his mom had become completely disenchanted and disenfranchised from education. After a string of failures on all sides, they had little hope that anybody or any institution would be able to help. With a lifetime of failings and disappointments, what’s the point?

But that wasn’t all. With a statement of special educational need for ADHD, social, emotional and behavioural difficulties, as well as literacy difficulties, Craig had a long hard road ahead of him.

We don’t believe in lost causes: his life changed when he came to Values Academy.

“You’ve made such a difference to our home life. I can’t thank you enough.” Craig’s mom

From the moment he joined us, Craig’s attendance was 100 per cent. He soon began to develop an excellent working relationship with his mentor and with constant individual support he worked in a very small group.

Improvements came thick and fast: he built confidence quickly and began to develop meaningful relationships with other adults, as well as with his mentor. Craig worked very hard, gaining the respect of his fellow students, and becoming well-liked by everyone.

“Thank you for giving me this opportunity to make something of my life. You could have said, ‘Forget it!’ when you saw my record but you gave me one last chance. I will try hard to make sure that you never regret it.

I want to say thank you because you gave me my life back. You gave me the chance to make my mom proud and to give her a reason to smile.” Craig

After 15 months with us, Craig left with qualifications, hope and a bright future ahead of him. He passed the equivalent of eight GCSEs (with six at Grade 6 or higher). Plus, he got a B in English and maths. Then he gained a place at college to study public services, which is a fantastic achievement.

All this – and he became a father half-way through his exams! Craig is working hard to make sure his daughter grows up with more opportunities than he had: he’s very hands-on, and brings her to see us regularly.

But perhaps the best thing he achieved is this: pride, self-respect and empathy. Craig is now volunteering at Values Academy himself, mentoring younger students two days per week. He’s got a bright future ahead of him.

It’s not magic and nobody is hopeless; this type of success stems from hard work on all sides. But it’s well worth the effort. Just ask Craig.