As the Service Manager for a local education authority, I have had to review two placements at Falkland House over the last 3 years. As reviewing officer, I have been kept well informed and have been updated regularly on their participation, their successes and of any incidents that might help to present a comprehensive picture of their academic achievements, health and welfare.
The school has recognised the need for programmes of active learning to support those who might otherwise disengage from education. The residential nature of the school allows common themes to be developed across contexts so that learning is not only embedded but applied and reinforced. The school has a very comprehensive through-care programme, which ensures that skills, interests, and employability are all assessed, so that the post-school transition is smooth.
The broad range of activities ensures that pupils remain engaged in active learning and discover interests and abilities that might otherwise have lain dormant. A particular strength of the school is in supporting young people to understand their own physical and mental health and wellbeing. Pupils are expected to become active in planning the weekly menu and in expressing views on a broad range of healthy eating options. Even those with conservative tastes are encouraged to try new dishes and to express their views.
Kieran spent the majority of his early school years at home with me due to his behaviour. It wasn’t until the age of 7 that we were finally able to secure a diagnosis of ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and ODD (Oppositional Defiant Disorder). Despite being prescribed medication, his behavioural problems continued. He invariably spent his days in the headmistress’ office or home with me. During this time he was turned down by two other schools, but we finally got him accepted into Falkland House at the age of 10.
Within weeks we could see a marked improvement. He could barely write his name or read, but with the support of the school he flourished in the small and calming classroom setting. Kieran now has just done his prelims; achieving straight B’s and he is performing above average for his year group. This is a testament to the school and the staff who have worked with him. Previously, Kieran was unable to interact with other children but he now takes part in activities after school. He was also a fussy eater, but has now been encouraged to try new things and enjoys cooking.
When I look at him now, I can’t believe he is the same boy as a few years ago. I cannot recommend Falkland House highly enough. The school can really help to bring out the potential you’ve always known has been there.
I knew very early on that Josh was different from his peers, and he was initially diagnosed with separation anxiety. I did not agree, and he was finally diagnosed with Tourette’s syndrome and an Autistic Spectrum Disorder at the age of five.
Josh had five primary school placements in seven years and his last three years of primary schooling were on a part time basis. His first high school placement broke down on day one as he was deemed too aggressive. He had a break down when he was 13 and was detained under the mental health act for six months in Gartnaval Psychiatric unit.
Josh is a bright, articulate boy who is of mainstream ability academically. He does not have learning difficulties, but he does have barriers to learning. Falkland house was my first experience of a facility that recognised that even when a child is extremely bright, they still need an opportunity to learn in an environment where staff ratios are high, class sizes are always small and due consideration is given to every aspect of the child’s condition. It was also the first experience I had of a service that supported me as a parent as well as addressing the needs of my child.
Prior to attending Falkland House, Josh had very little formal education. He left Falkland house with a variety of qualifications and has gone on to complete an NQ and an HNC in Digital media. He started a degree course in Computer Games Design in September. He has also been nominated by South Lanarkshire College for an SQA Star award.