Student B Case Study


Subject Impact: Music Case Study – September 2018

*Written with permission and in conjunction with parent views and quotes

  • B had a diagnosis with severe autism aged 3
  • B joined High Grange School on 10/09/2012 as a Year 8 student
  • B left his final school to become a student at High Grange School, after many failed attempts to find an educational facility which met his needs. He was frequently unable to access lessons at school and was becoming extremely distressed with the provisions made available to him. Parents have had periods of home-education, which they were happy to deliver although keen to find a placement which fully met his needs. His mother (J) has commented that High Grange School was to be her ‘last resort’ after many years of dissatisfaction with the education system
  • Extreme difficulties in accessing an educational environment including lessons affected B’s academic progress, with a reported loss of five levels of learning (via J) and he had a distinct lack of trust of students and staff
  • B suffered a great deal emotionally in his educational experiences and was subject to being labelled as ‘vicious, vile, rude and aggressive’ and was deemed to be ‘un-educatable’ by one of his previous placements
  • J has quoted that they as parents ‘had no confidence in any educational setting and were not prepared to subject B to further abuse at the hands of so-called professionals.’
  • B’s academic levels were static at best, and he was deemed to have lost five levels of progress during his variety of placements. When B started at High Grange School he was well below the national average in attainment for a pupil of his age
  • B presented as an emotional student who was nervous, mistrusting and shy (due to the negative experiences at his previous placements) and found it extremely difficult to access a classroom scenario. On transition visits he had difficulties in communicating with students and staff and needed full support and early intervention to meet his classroom needs, both emotionally and educationally.
  • Due to very low self-esteem B would not consider playing the piano for others to listen to, never having being heard playing the piano in front of anybody outside of his immediate family. Furthermore, he had never taken part in any public performance of any description.
  • Philip McBride (PM) has encouraged a ‘critical student friend’ approach within his GCSE Music class, where students feel safe to give appraisals to others and receive feedback on their performances from a variety of sources including students, staff and management
  • PM has seized multiple opportunities for B to perform for an array of visitors to the Music room during his timetabled lessons, on many occasions this being unannounced
  • PM has provided opportunities for B to feel comfortable to perform confidently in front of peers, staff and parents in public performances, raising his self-esteem and self-worth (High Grange Presents; December 2014 onwards)
  • A full-sized new electronic piano with touch response was made available for B to practice during form and lunchtimes, with PM on duty for tuition and support at these times during the initial period
  • Short and long-term schemes/overviews of the GCSE course made available and explained to B, with an initial focus upon performance studies which relates to the assessment criteria
  • Regular duet practice with PM to prepare B for ensemble performance requirements for the GCSE course element
  • Audio recordings of B repertoire (available via PM) for B to monitor progress and self-reflect on learning opportunities with PM and Music students
  • Encouragement and assurance for B to perform in the ‘High Grange Presents/Winter Showcase’ concerts since December 2014 onwards
  • Regular communication with Jane regarding progress in the GCSE Music course
  • Daily tutor sessions with PM at the end of each day to monitor progress and

discussion for improvement

  • B has gained a great deal of self-confidence, self-esteem and public acknowledgment and praise from students and staff from performing in the ‘High Grange Presents/Winter Showcase’ concerts
  • B currently achieves at a high level in Music and understands the importance of study at Advanced Level and accessing a pathway towards university.
  • B has accessed a variety of musical concerts out of High Grange School with parents as a member of an audience


  • Maths (Grade 5 in Summer 2017) + Grade C in November 2016
  • English (Grade 7 in Summer 2018) + Level 2 Functional Skills English (in Summer 2018)
  • Science (Grade C in Summer 2017)
  • Computing (Grade C in Summer 2017)
  • Geography (Grade C in Summer 2017)
  • Music (Grade B in Summer 2016)
  • ECDL (Distinction Grade in July 2017)

A/S Levels:

  • A/S Level ICT (Grade C in Summer 2018)
  • A/S Level Music (Grade C in Summer 2018)


*Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (in Summer 2018)

*Grade 8 Piano (in Spring 2018)

Current Courses of Study:

  • A2 Maths
  • A2 Music
  • Double A Level in Cyber Security at Burton and South Derbyshire College

I feel that I have been really encouraged to be who I am and to believe in my talents and interests. Staff at High Grange encourage me to try my hardest and treat me as an individual with the patience and consideration needed to allow me to flourish in my education.

Since joining Post-14/16 education I have been able to study the subjects I enjoy most in much more detail which is very challenging at times but well worth the effort from my teaching staff and myself. I feel that I will be able to achieve my future goal of being able to study at an even higher level and maybe one day go to university to become a computer gaming designer.

Most of all, I feel very happy and cared for at High Grange School, where staff value my opinions and treat me with respect and encouragement.

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