"Thank you for never giving up and believing in 'O' even though the turbulent and very difficult times he has had. 'O' is leaving Parkwood Hall Academy in a much better place than when he started, the skills he has been taught will help and support this next stage of his life."
"I would like to thank you for your care and support of 'A' during her time at Parkwood Hall. Your help and guidance was an enormous inspiration and comfort to our family and no words can express our appreciation and gratitude."
"I am "J's" grandmother. I feel I must write and thank you all for making last Friday such a joy. We imagine all the other children that come to Parkwood have had a rough ride before they come to you. As some may know "J" has not been with you very long and we already see a calmness and contentment that your school is giving him. On Friday it was so evident that it is not only 'J' but the whole school, all taking part, all so happy and all so well behaved. I do realise that you have many ups and downs and it takes a lot of hard work to achieve what you do. I just wanted to say a big thank you for all you do, it does not go unnoticed."
“When ‘S’ attended Parkwood Hall Academy at the age of 12, she spoke approx 5, individual words. She was known as "the little girl that sits in the window", from the living room, in our street, as everyone that walked past saw her, just staring out. As her mother I would have described her as quiet, undemanding, little confidence or desire to do anything, unhappy, withdrawn and unemotional. She seemed to live in an isolated bubble of her own. From time to time, she would go to her bedroom and sit on that window sill for hours at a time too. ‘S’ never asked or indicated she wanted anything, or anyone. I spent my time guessing that she might be hungry, sad, tired, bored and tried to invade her space constantly to try and bring her out of herself, into the world or even get a reaction from her. People came to see her and she never even looked at them. It was like she was mute and deaf. Attending the school as a day student, was a relief for me knowing that, at the very least she was with other people her own age, that she would be given lessons, learning, different activities, access to a more normal day and I prayed that she would be different and happy. As the next year unfolded, I saw some small improvements, or perhaps I was just telling myself that. ‘S’ still came home and sat in the window and didn't appear to need her mother at all. I knew that she needed more, much more. I eventually secured a residential place for her at Parkwood. As I struggled with the guilt of my actions, feeling that I should be helping her, not seeing her everyday and wondering if I had done the right thing, I realised that she was actually changing. It didn't happen overnight, there was no magic pill. The school worked with me, discussing main areas of concern, putting in targets, individual personal plans, activities she might like, rewards schemes for good work, behaviour management, sensory input, social stories, picture exchange diary, daily visual plans, monitoring progress against obvious difficulties, the list was endless. Coupled with all this, was the everyday, normal things going on around her. Adults, peers, cooking, music, TV, games, sport, trips out, swimming, dancing, horse riding, singing, laundry, self care. Everything a child should have in their life. It was a process that was breaking down her barriers, creating a desire for her to talk, ask, be involved, want something, like something, dislike something. She was showing emotion. I was happy to see her cry! ‘S’ was making choices, saying "yes", "no", or using pictures to express herself. I could finally see that she, herself wanted to be part of the world and realised that she didn't know how to do it, so she needed the extra input of living at the school for her to realise this. Being away from home, away from me, her bedroom and the window sill, was best for ‘S’. I wondered why I was unable to do all this for her. But home life was very different, as it is for everybody. Over time when ‘S’ came home, huge things started to change. She retreated to her bedroom less and less. She started using the home computer, making herself drinks, asking for dinner, making choices, washing and dressing herself. She was telling me what she wanted and what should be happening next in her world. She needed routine and she had expectations that may fail from time to time, but she was expressing herself. I saw a personality blossom, that I thought would never come. The child that I described as, quiet, unhappy, distant and many other sad and worrying traits, had gone. ‘S’ has now left the school and I can describe her as, loud, cheeky, lively, strong willed, bouncy and much more. Of course there is her autism and that will always come with her, but we can deal with most things now. The one thing that everyone says about ‘S’, is she is HAPPY and she NEVER sits on the window sill now....”
“’’Z’ went to Parkwood Hall when she was 10 years old, as her Primary School felt she would not be able to cope in senior school because she was unable to read and write. She is now nearly 19 years old and has been at Parkwood Hall since November 2007. She now has limited reading, she can do some number work, her writing and maths, letter recognition has improved tremendously. ‘Z’ is now a very confident young lady. She boarded at Parkwood from the age of 16 years which has helped her independence skills. Parkwood bring out the very, very best in all their students and promote their individual talents, from playing in the steel band, being in the choir, sport, dancing, gardening and all academic subjects. The school trips and educational holidays are fantastic and help the young people to both learn and mature. We can honestly say Parkwood Hall has been the best thing ever for our daughter, she has been so very happy there and she has flourished and developed tremendously. She certainly does not want to leave! ‘Z’ has grown into a lovely mature young lady, and is a delight to be with. We would recommend Parkwood Hall every time.”