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My brain has never worked like everyone else’s. I have dyslexia and high signs of dyspraxia.  These issues were not picked up until later on in my life. In primary school I was the “stupid kid”,  I couldn’t learn like everyone else, I was being pulled out of lessons for reading, writing and 1-2-1s for maths support. I got laughed at a lot by kids, I didn’t understand at the time and this made me hate school. To feel so low at such a young age and not understand why I was so stupid, this was so hard on me mentally.

The teachers just assumed I was being distracting, disruptive and trying to be the class clown. After asking for help so many times I was so embarrassed and stopped asking. 

Fast forward to high school I didn’t want anyone knowing how “stupid” I was, so if a teacher would ask me to read I refused, I felt like I couldn’t ask for help so I just refused to  do things. I was always labeled “defiant”, not willing to take part,  learn or just plain “bad”.

 No teacher ever picked up on the reasons WHY I behaved like I did and I was too far gone to ask for help, so I got kicked out of school and was put into “PALS” (I branch of the Pupil Referral Unit in North Tyneside)… little did I know this was the best thing that could have happened to me.

I was still the same “naughty child” until Foundation Futures came into my life.  I was taught so many lessons that I didn’t know I was being taught or even needed to be taught. They helped me understand and manage my emotions and how my behaviour affected others.  I had so much pain and anger and although they didn’t take it away, they were always there no matter what my behaviour was like. They showed so much compassion and commitment and they truly helped me ask for help, to let my guard down and my only regret was that I didn’t get this help sooner.

I honestly will never regret anything more than the way I treated these fabulous women in the beginning. The disrespect and torment we all put them through was crazy! Their kindness, determination, respect and resilience was outstanding.  They showed up everyday forgetting the last, no matter what was said or how we acted. They just kept on turning up.

I’d never had an older person be as nice to me as these two women. I always asked myself, “why were they so nice to us when we were so horrid to them?”  I grew to respect them and I loved their input into my life. They really pulled me back from the place I could have been and I’m so thankful for that. 

Anybody who is having  difficulties or doesn’t “fit the system” is always going to have a harder time at school.  The biggest difference between Foundation Futures and mainstream schools was they taught with genuine compassion. They are people who care deeply about their work and the impact they have on people’s lives.  They helped all of us if they could and would teach us the tools to cope if they couldn’t. 

My biggest memory is me saying I would never say please and thank you to them,  I didn’t know them, so why should I show them any respect?  I remember my last time working with them, all that came out of my mouth was please and thank you! 

They didn’t just stop there.  They have supported me through the last 7 years and I would never have had the great life I’ve built  if these wonderful people hadn’t come into  my life. 

Since leaving school (with 5 GCSEs) I have never stopped working. I now have a beautiful son of my own.

Chloe. (23)

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