FOUNDATION FOCUS: Catherine Averall
This week’s Foundation Focus concentrates on the educational side of The Albion Foundation and in particular, a student from the Girls Allowed programme, Catherine Averall. In her own words, Catherine details her life and her journey with The Albion Foundation:
I had an unsettled childhood; I moved between parents five times which made me feel sad and upset. My primary education was also unsettled because when I moved between parents/carers, I also moved between schools. In secondary school, I missed the last three months of Year 8 and the whole of Year 9 because I moved into a different borough and no schools would accept me. This caused me to fall behind my peers, prevented me from making friends and caused me to have a negative perception of education.
In Year 10, I was referred to The Albion Foundation’s Girls Allowed project and I settled in really quickly. The staff helped me to understand the importance of attending school and made me want to attend school. My attendance for Year 10 was 86% and for Year 11 it was 75% – I am proud of these figures because when I started at the Albion my attendance was 0%. At secondary school I was frequently sent to the Isolation Unit because I was disruptive and argumentative with teachers. At the Albion, I get on really well with the staff because they respect me, care for me and support me with my issues (in and outside of school) without judging me. After Year 11 I will be starting a study programme with Laundau to study Functional Skills and Child Care with an apprenticeship starting in February 2016.
Before I started at the Albion I had no confidence – I wouldn’t even take my coat off or eat in front of other people – my score on the Rosenberg Self-Esteem test when I started at the Albion was 7. The staff have helped me to love myself – I even took part in a photo-shoot – which has given me a much more positive outlook on life which is important because it will help me to become more successful in the future. My score on Rosenberg self-esteem test now that my placement has finished is 10.
In the past I have never liked sport and therefore took part in no physical activity whatsoever. However, since I’ve been at the Albion I have took part in five new sports that I have enjoyed but in particular, I took a keen interest in boxercise the most because as it has been an good outlet for my stress. I now take part in physical activity every week and as a result, I have managed to lose a stone in weight.
Being at the Albion has also helped to improve my skills. I have taken part in a Life Skills scheme which has given me a better understanding of money, employment and career development. I have also taken part in cooking lessons and I can now cook meals independently. I have recently moved into supported accommodation and these skills have been a massive help.
“Since Cat has started her placement at The Albion Foundation, she has matured and grown immensely both academically and personally. Her attendance has improved dramatically and her attitude to her education has also developed whereby she has now built confidence to start a new placement in a new training programme, which prior to the Albion, she didn’t have any confidence to do. I believe that this experience has built her for continued growth in the future” Erin Hicken, Key Stage 4 Co-ordinator.
For the last half term I have been volunteering as a peer mentor for a primary group. In these sessions I have been supporting the class teacher and supporting pupils with behaviour issues on a one-to-one basis. I will also be completing twenty four hours of voluntary work on several Albion projects over the summer.
“CA has been a great asset to the Primary Time Out Project and a valued member of staff as a volunteer. She has formed good relationships with the pupils and helped out in any way she could. She has shown a great maturity and I would suggest that she thinks about a career in Primary Education in the future” Chelsea Wood, Primary Co-ordinator.