We will not give up on him.
Jordan is 16. He came to KESW two years ago as a foundation bursary student, also supported by another charity. A long story but he spent his early life swinging between neglect and fostering in various locations around the UK as his mother, separated from his birth father, suffered serious mental illness. Eventually, aged about 10 he and his younger half-sister were permanently removed from her and I believe she is hospitalised more or less permanently and he has no contact.
His father was traced and stepped in to take on both children, although only Jordan is a blood relation. The children went to live with his father when Jordan was about 12, and that was when they first met. His father has struggled as he has been trying to parent alone and hold down a full-time job, and it is clear that both children have been scarred by their upbringing so far. They came to know about King Edward’s and the possibility of a bursary here through a personal connection with a member of staff.
Jordan is a complicated individual: he is bright, articulate, humorous, delightful and resourceful but has learned not to trust others or plan much towards a future which hitherto has always failed him. As such he comes across as slightly diffident and in some respects older than his years, which can then cause others to give him more responsibility than he can actually handle.
He has been treated for depression by CAHMS until very recently but is bright enough to be frustrated by their procedure and rather heavy-handed approach to psychological assessment and therapy; he also distrusts it because growing up such intervention was a constant feature of life with his mother, on the one hand never making her better and on the other hand taking her away from him in the end. Things are complicated by Jordan’s cultural identity: his mother is Australian, his father originally a Ghanaian refugee who was then educated as a bursary student at a British public school, so he has various competing cultural norms to choose from without being wholly embraced by any.
Jordan’s home life continues to be pretty feral, and he will tend to spend too much time out all night with friends and on the fringes of petty trouble and drugs; he is very streetwise, which has caused the school problems as he played up to a cool street image amongst his rather more naive and insulated peers. He struggled, although he would admit not hard enough, to deal with the normal boundaries and requirements of a boarding school in terms of routine expectations and authority, playing sometimes on the leeway which his special status as undergoing CAHMS counselling inevitably gave him in the eyes of staff, but also becoming frustrated, angry and uncooperative when he felt he was being patronised or demanded of unreasonably, and thereby working his way up the sanctions ladder.
His Housemaster spent long periods of time with Jordan discussing how to manage his time and his relationships with other pupils and staff, but his difficulties meant he was not able to engage full-time with school in the run up to his GCSEs. In essence we got to him too late for him to make the most of the normalising environment we offer to disadvantaged children, and did not engage enough with his lessons to pass his GCSEs anywhere near as well as he could. Jordan is currently not in education or employment, although as a school we continue to work with his family to explore options for vocational training for him, as and when he is ready to engage with it, and a potential place here for his half-sister when she is old enough. We will not give up on him.