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Mother of five-year-old thanks service for saving her child from permanent exclusion

PUBLISHED: 09:05 01 October 2020 | UPDATED: 09:05 01 October 2020

Five-year-old Ezra, son of Susie G, from Feltwell, faced permanent exclusion from his school last year but with help from Athena Educatoin Support his behaviour has completely changed. Photo: Susie G

Five-year-old Ezra, son of Susie G, from Feltwell, faced permanent exclusion from his school last year but with help from Athena Educatoin Support his behaviour has completely changed. Photo: Susie G

Susie G

The mother of a five-year-old who faced permanent exclusion from his school has thanked an educational support service, which she says has completely changed her son’s life.

Athena Education Support, a social enterprise, supporting families and children in and around Thetford. Photo: Emily ThomsonAthena Education Support, a social enterprise, supporting families and children in and around Thetford. Photo: Emily Thomson

Athena Education Support is a social enterprise based in Thetford, which has helped more than 150 families from across Norfolk since it was first set up one year ago.

The service offers training in special educational needs and supports parents who have children with autism, as well as offering short term alternative provision for children faced with permanent exclusion.

Susie is a mother-of-three from Feltwell, whose son, Ezra, was referred to the service last year when his behaviour became too much for his school to handle and would have seen him permanently excluded at only four-years-old.

But after Athena’s intervention, Ezra is back in education and for the first time ever he is enjoying school.

Sandra Govender, CEO of Athena Education Support (right), Julie Cox, pastoral support manager (left). Photo: Emily ThomsonSandra Govender, CEO of Athena Education Support (right), Julie Cox, pastoral support manager (left). Photo: Emily Thomson

Susie, 37, said: “The behaviour started from the week he started school.

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“He wouldn’t sit down, he wouldn’t listen, teachers couldn’t control his behaviour, he responded with violence aggression, and he was very disruptive. He was an angry and upset little boy.

“Its soul destroying when you don’t know how to help your child.

Five-year-old Ezra, son of Susie G, from Feltwell, faced permanent exclusion from his school last year but with help from Athena Educatoin Support his behaviour has completely changed. Photo: Susie GFive-year-old Ezra, son of Susie G, from Feltwell, faced permanent exclusion from his school last year but with help from Athena Educatoin Support his behaviour has completely changed. Photo: Susie G

“But Athena have been amazing. Without them I don’t know where Ezra would be right now. He is a different child and he is a lot happier.”

Working with the school, family and child, Athena use a holistic approach to modify the child’s behaviour, introducing mindfulness and using psychological therapies such as CBT.

Chief executive Sandra Govender said: “It has been a fulfilling year and we have made a difference in a lot of family’s live.

“It feels like we have made a contribution which otherwise would have seen more children permanently excluded and failing education, which snowballs into their life as adults.

Athena Education Support, a social enterprise, supporting families and children in and around Thetford. Photo: Emily ThomsonAthena Education Support, a social enterprise, supporting families and children in and around Thetford. Photo: Emily Thomson

“Thetford has higher levels of child poverty and exclusion rates in Norfolk is higher than anywhere else in the country, so it’s about improving their life chances.”

“If a family is struggling, they can give us a call for support or guidance.”


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