The Write Time

Croydon headteacher focuses on meeting special needs of pupils

Samantha Hoyer always finds time to smile. Smartly dressed and engaging, she communicates positivity and excitement in her role as headteacher at The Write Time School (TWT) in Warrington Road, Croydon.

Samantha joined the secondary school, TWT, at the start of the 2021 academic year. Her pupils have a range of special needs including those that result from Autistic Spectrum Condition (ASC), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Social Emotional and Mental Health Needs (SEMH), Global Development Delay (GDD) and other learning difficulties.

“It’s only by breaking through barriers to learning that we can present new thoughts to our pupils.” – Samantha Hoyer

It’s an important stage in the school’s development, as Samantha and her team are working with increasing numbers of pupils as they return to their first full year of face-to-face schooling since the start of the pandemic.

TWT has taken a unique approach to address these needs by creating a tailored curriculum and becoming the first Glasser Quality School in the UK. This is important because it means that the school’s work and day-to-day life are informed by William Glasser’s Choice Theory and Reality Therapy as a means to understand and motivate young people.

The Glasser method has been used to create a happy school environment in which pupils can make positive choices without recourse to external control and punishment.

Samantha is now building on early successes by introducing further change. A head boy, head girl and their deputies have been elected and a school council has been formed.

Pupils now have a forum in which to discuss topical issues and priorities which soon led to a frank discussion about school dinners.

No one liked the food they were eating which led to the return of Ray Ekhator, outreach development tutor, as an on-site chef.

Now all pupils play a full role in choosing recipes and cooking and enjoying the food they eat by making use of the superb kitchen facilities offered at the Warrington Road site.

TWT is now firmly anchored by its implementation of Glasser thinking and adherence to four learning and skills components. These include a commitment to independent living, sports and recreation, accreditation and employability.

This approach ensures that all pupils succeed both at school and at home and create positive destinations after Key Stage 4 (Year 11).

With firm foundations in place, Samantha and her team are now considering expansion from 30 to 60 pupils and plan to open a Sixth Form in September 2022. This will be followed, at a later date, by Primary provision which will mean that TWT offers an all-through model based on a strong curriculum and the creation of positive outcomes for all concerned.

Having shared her thoughts, Samantha stands up and walks to her office window. Looking out she sees the difference the school is making already. Ray’s there with a number of the pupils viewing their new playing fields. Now, where’s that football?

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