Keira experienced significant trauma at a young age which resulted in cruel bullying. The only way Keira knew to respond was to physically fight back. Unfortunately, this resulted in her being excluded from primary school at a young age. But her story doesn’t end there!
KeIra needed the specialist support provided by TLG’s Reading Education Centre, which has been partnered with The Gate Church for 11 years. When she arrived at TLG, Keira had complex needs and was ‘difficult to work with.’ She didn’t want to be in the class, didn’t communicate and she would fight and attempt to destroy the classroom.
“Before TLG, my life was very destructive,” says Keira. “I didn’t go to classes at school, I was fighting all the time, I was disruptive… lots of ripping up books and destroying things. I struggled to control my anger. If someone annoyed me, I would feel very wound up and want to fight them. I would describe myself before TLG as a bit vicious, very angry and fierce.”
The teachers at TLG all desperately wanted to help Keira, offering her a safe space to let her know she was valued and cared for. Rachel, TLG Reading headteacher, recalls: “when Keira walked through the doors of TLG we were greeted with a feisty child. Underneath the anger and the hard exterior was a girl who needed to be heard, understood and have the opportunity to rewrite her future.”
“My teachers gave me time and space and didn’t rush me. That helped me settle in quickly because I didn’t feel under pressure."
Having known Keira throughout her time at TLG, Rachel is amazed by her transformation! “She now engages, contributes to lessons, wants to be in school and is about to make a successful transition back into mainstream education and study for her GCSEs.”
“Some of my best memories at TLG include sitting around a table before school,” Keira reminisces. “We would play cards and it was nice having everyone laughing together. I also loved having meals – especially at Christmas time! – it’s like a little school family.
“I’m moving on to mainstream school which will be a big step. TLG has helped me overcome my fears of things changing. They’ve taken me through what it will be like and made sure I know they will always be there if I need to speak to someone.
“I would say I’ve changed quite a bit from when I first arrived at TLG. I’m more down to earth and much less destructive now. I’m better at keeping control. My teachers at TLG have really been there for me.”
Keira has found support from her local church as well. “There’s a youth group that I’ve been along to. It’s a great place to make new friends outside of school and meet people, so I’m glad I’ve found that support too.”