Mason’s story

At just 11-years-old, Mason has already had a turbulent childhood. Mason was taken into care with his younger sister, with his Grandad and Step-Gran becoming their legal guardians. He has little contact with his mother and four older brothers who live in England. Sadly, his Grandad passed away a few years ago. Mason misses him and the rest of his family sorely.

“I didn’t used to be able to cope,” says Mason. “I would feel very frustrated and take it out on other things. I would shove people sometimes and I think I was a bit terrible. I was bullied which made me feel very upset and horrified at the names I was being called. I would get into trouble with my teachers sometimes and get very distracted in lessons.”

Mason started receiving support from his TLG Early Intervention coach, Beth, three years ago. “When I first met Mason,” says Beth, “he had been flagged up for having aggressive tendencies and anxiety. They were worried he would drop out of school. He was disruptive in class because he wasn’t in a good emotional place to learn.”

“Life before coaching was hard because I didn’t have anyone to speak to about my anger,” says Mason. “But I loved coming to school, even when it was a bad day. I love ICT and all the devices because I don’t have those at home. I love learning and my teachers! With Beth, I can now talk about my anger and how to deal with it. I remember the things she’s taught me when I’m in a difficult situation.”

Beth continues, “We do different creative projects together in our sessions and we have time to talk. One week he was upset because his peers could do their times tables but he was still struggling. So we looked at some flashcards together and the next week he came back beaming that he got all his seven times table right. These might seem like small moments to us, but they’re huge to a child. If you can just encourage children, it makes all the difference.”

“I used to feel like I might burst into smithereens but now I can keep up,” Mason exclaims. “I’ve changed a lot. I used to be hard on myself. I couldn’t cope with my anger. But it’s changed since I’ve had Beth to help me. I would say that I’m funny, generous and good at helping people!”

Mason feels especially proud that his teachers can see the difference in him. “My teachers have noticed how I’ve changed, they say that I can succeed at things. Their encouragement makes me feel good!”

“Yes, it’s been a real privilege to coach Mason,” says Beth. “My highlight was when one of his former teachers passed us in the corridor and stopped to tell him that she was so proud of him for the change in his attitude and how he had progressed. His whole face lit up!”

“My biggest achievement is managing my emotions better. Beth has been a star to me! I know what not to do and what is good to do.”

Mason has big plans for his future. “I’m a bit nervous about going to secondary school, but I’m excited too. After school, when I’m older, I would like to build houses for those who are poor.”

“My biggest achievement is managing my emotions better. Beth has been a star to me! I know what not to do and what is good to do.”