Kacper, 14, is a student at Stoke Newington School who was struggling with his behaviour. Outbursts of anger saw his education suffer as he missed lessons and his teachers struggled to understand his needs. As Head of Year 9, Maria Yong, explains:

“Kacper was somebody that I would meet in the corridor at a time when he was supposed to be in a lesson, and I would ask ‘Kacper, what is wrong, where are going?’, and he would be a torrent of shouting and not making any sense with what he was saying because ‘nobody helped me… because this school is awful…’  He was always a frustrated, very angry young person and didn’t know how to channel that.”

As a result of those behavioural issues, Kacper’s teachers enrolled him on the Teens and Toddlers programme. Whilst on the programme, Kacper enjoyed mentoring his toddler, Destiny, whilst learning new skills which equipped him to better control his anger and communicate, including: self-control, eye contact and non-verbal communication. Consequently, he’s now able to communicate his needs clearly with his teachers, including Maria:

“Now, it’s quite amazing actually. When you meet Kacper, it’s ‘Hi Kacper, whats wrong?’ and he replies ‘Well, I cannot do this test because I wasn’t in the day when they did revision and I’m actually going to have a lot of difficulties with it, is there any chance I can do it on a different day?’ That’s a completely different conversation. I’m not making this up, this happened! I was very pleasantly surprised.”

Kacper has recognised that his improved behaviour at school has led to better grades, and people are finding him a nicer person to be around outside of school too. Kurt Lee, a Student Support Worker at Stoke Newington School, has seen the positive change the programme has brought about in Kacper, and foresees that change having an impact on both his performance at school and his maturity:

“He’s already said to me he’s proud of getting a [national] qualification [Interpersonal Skills] before he reaches Year 10 …and I think his journey so far, and the encouragement he’s got from the staff involved and the teachers in the school aware of the programme has been a massive encouragement for him. I think in terms of his own development, he’ll do really well at school and I think he’ll be that little bit more mature.”

Looking back on his time on the Teens and Toddlers programme, Kacper reflected that despite being hard work, it’s an experience he enjoyed and would recommend to other young people:

“It’s a really nice experience. It does involve some bookwork and looking into yourself for some answers, but the rest of it is spending time with your toddler and trying to build a really good, positive relationship.”