21 Aug '14

News GCSEs at school of last resort: no grins, just pride and KFC for star pupil

At Roman Fields pupil referral unit, where all students have been excluded at least once, teachers celebrate 'phenomenal' achievementsKai Coates was five when he was excluded from his first school. He spent a year and a half at home with his mum and then, aged seven, was sent to a boarding school for children with emotional and behavioural difficulties. He did not thrive, and was diagnosed with autism, Asperger's and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Another residential institution followed. He didn't like it. After refusing to go to school two years ago, he was sent to Roman Fields pupil referral unit in Hemel Hempstead, a school of last resort for children no one else will teach. A few months in, he was taken into care, to live with foster parents Penny and Winston Shakespeare, in Luton.His outlook seemed bleak. Yet on Thursday Kai exceeded the expectations of his teachers so stunningly that Roman Fields' head, Trevor Orchard, contacted the Guardian to urge us to highlight the boy's achievements. Kai himself took a rather more nonchalant approach. Opening his envelope on the school's sunny decking mid-morning, he did not react like many GCSE students. There was no whooping, no jumping, no grinning for the camera. No amount of prodding could encourage him to crack even the vaguest of smiles for the photographer. Continue reading...

Read the full story in Guardian Education
Log in Join