New College Worcester (NCW), Whittington Road, Worcester, WR5 2JX
Lauren was attending her local mainstream school when she suddenly began to lose her sight at the age of 13. Although she enjoyed mainstream school and had many friends, she struggled to cope in the classroom; unable to read the white board or access the work she was given.
It became clear to Lauren's parents that they needed to find a school that could support Lauren with her deteriorating sight and enable her to continue with her studies.
"We needed to find a school that would focus on what Lauren could do, not what she couldn't do. It was such a difficult decision to send her away from home, but we knew we had to if Lauren was going to succeed in life and fulfil her potential."
Lauren initially joined NCW as a part time student to ease the transition from living at home, to finally becoming a weekly boarder after three months. Understandably, she found the change in her life very difficult to deal with, and was both angry and frustrated at her sight loss.
Staff at NCW worked hard to support Lauren both emotionally and practically, as Assistant Principal Sian Shaw explained,
"The key to supporting Lauren through this really difficult time was giving her enough space to express her feelings but also putting into place strategies that would encourage her to learn new skills and find a way forward."
Over time, life not only became easier academically, as she could access her work, but she also had Braille, Independent Living Skills and Mobility lessons to support her in becoming an independent learner. Care staff in the Houses took time to support Lauren and make her feel at home and there were always plenty of activities happening after school with friends.
Over her four years at NCW, Lauren has embraced College life and has been extremely successful in her studies gaining 9 GCSEs, moving on to study A-Levels in the Sixth Form and gaining a place at University to study Applied Theology. She was also elected Deputy Head Girl in Year 13, playing a key role on the senior student team. As Lauren explained,
"I've had the opportunity to represent NCW at lots of different events, I've been able to organise fundraising for a local hospice and I'm also a mentor for our Year 7 students. Being Deputy Head Girl has given me so much more confidence in my abilities with people and I'm really looking forward to making the next step onto University."
Lauren's parents added,
"We can’t thank NCW enough for the support they gave Lauren in coming to terms with her sight loss. They helped her to see a way forward and to focus on what she could achieve. She’s a very determined young lady now. We’re just so proud of her."