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VANESSA's story

Changing negative attitudes to improve both relationships and grades

16-year-old Vanessa was having a difficult time at home and it was making her act out during the school day. She particularly struggled with her maths teacher, who she just couldn’t seem to get on with, and as a result she wasn’t learning anywhere near as well as she should have been – the teacher had predicted she would only manage an E in her maths GCSE.


Thankfully Vanessa had just begun working with an east to west Relational Support Worker (RSW) at her school. So together they focused on developing ways to change the negative relationship with her maths teacher and give Vanessa a more positive approach to that class.


One small thing she put into practice straight away was simply to choose to put a smile on her face before she came through the door of her maths classroom. In the beginning she had to fake it, but it wasn’t long before this subtle change started having an effect on the way she and her teacher interacted – and soon she wasn’t faking her smile at all.


About six weeks after Vanessa began working with the RSW, her maths teacher told us that he had been walking down the corridor past the Head’s office and had seen Vanessa in there with her parents. He said he felt compelled to pop his head round the door and tell them that he wasn’t sure what had changed but she was now a pleasure to teach! That make Vanessa’s smile even bigger – and certainly pleased her parents too.


Not only that, but at the end of the year Vanessa was able to pass her GCSE maths exam with a C – two grades above what her teacher had originally predicted – thanks to the support and strategies put in place by east to west.

* All children's names and photos have been changed to protect their identity

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