There were a number of reasons why Ella Williams, 16, from Hertfordshire, used to struggle to feel positive about going to school.
“I was bullied in Year 7 and I was assaulted, which had a huge impact on me. I had to move school and I didn’t settle in well there at all.
“My confidence was really low after what had happened at my last school, and I didn’t feel like I could trust anyone. I wasn’t comfortable going in on my own, so my mum had to take me every day, and my attendance ended up being low because of my confidence. I also have dyslexia, which makes school a lot harder for me.”
Ella joined the Prince’s Trust Achieve club at the Dacorum Education Support Centre (Desc), which gave her the opportunity to relate more positively to her school environment.
“Achieve is still like school, but you get to do activities, trips and socialising that you wouldn’t normally. It helped me gain confidence and make friends with the people that were in my class.
“One of my friends from Achieve also struggled with attendance, so we would motivate each other to both go in so that we could talk to each other.”
In Year 11, Ella’s attendance jumped up to 90% and she gained her Level 1 Achieve Award, a recognised Prince's Trust qualification that you can put on your CV or UCAS form. “I was more focused on learning and actually wanted to go to school. I even started helping other people on the Achieve course who needed support.”
Ella is now studying Level 1 Health and Social Care at College. “I wouldn’t have imagined I’d be studying at College and enjoying it because of the experiences I’d had before. I’m learning about all different aspects of health and social care, and I’m working hard to get the grades I need to go onto the Level 2 course. I’ve also realised that I want to work with children in nurseries, so it’s great having that to work towards.”
About the sponsor
We would like to say a huge thank you to Ascential, for sponsoring the Educational Achiever Award.
Ascential’s support of The Prince's Trust and TK Maxx & Homesense Awards since 2018 has made a real difference to the lives of thousands of young people across the UK, inspiring and motivating young people to achieve their best in life.
Find out more about Ascential here.