One of the best ways to measure the success of a young person’s time at EMA is where they find themselves once they leave us. Through the combination of their diverse learning and work experience, their path to adulthood and employment will always be unique, but the end result of new found confidence, and a vision of the next step, is really what makes all the hard work worth it, and we have a proven track record of students de

Student Case Studies

Kyle Cullen

Kyle is a fourth year student at Thorngrove and started his EMA journey at our Gillingham Campus in 2018, Kyle was previously at a residential school which supported his behaviours and education. Kyle did have lots of placement breakdowns before the previous setting so the transition from his current setting to EMA was always going to be challenging for Kyle. Kyle requires lots of physical activity to support his diagnosis of ADHD and classroom based learning was a challenge.

Kyle started at EMA in 2018 and he voiced from the beginning his love of building work, maintenance, and outside work. EMA was able to provide an individualised timetable to support Kyle to remain engaged in sessions with a balance of classroom sessions and physical activity.

Kyle used to be supported by his Mum to get to and from EMA and home life relationships did affect his attendance and behaviour at times.


Kyle’s attendance was low and his progress in his functional and vocational studies was slowed. Kyle found it difficult to sit in his reviews in the first two years and struggled to engage. Kyle was often distracted by his phone and his life outside of EMA, EMA supported Kyle to keep education and home life separate.

As Kyle was going into his third year, EMA supported Kyle to reduce his timetable to 3 days a week and also supported Kyle getting to and from EMA each day. Kyle’s timetable became heavily work based with experience in the estates team alongside the head of estates Chris Dinan. Chris was able to support Kyle to work from a job sheet each day incorporating his functional skills from English and Maths and Skills for Independence and Work. Kyle’s behaviour was much improved, and he matured over this time. His attendance was greatly improved too with EMA collecting and dropping him home. The period of time during COVID was difficult for Kyle and engagement and attendance was poor, EMA supported Kyle by regular socially distanced home visits and phone calls. Kyle needed the emotional support from EMA to support him through this period.

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Kyle has spent most of his last 1.5 years at Thorngrove working in the maintenance department under the guidance of Chris. Kyle has shown himself to be a very capable worker and is very independent when given a task to do, he has a really good work ethic and is more than capable of producing a good job when asked to complete a task. Most of the work Kyle has carried out has been around painting, minor building work and gardening all of which he enjoys. After the covid lockdown Simon our Work Placement Officer and Kyle spoke about external work experience opportunities, and he told me he would love to get into construction as a career. After looking at a few options, we agreed that working at Sydenhams builders’ merchants would be a really good opportunity for him, as it was difficult to arrange supported work experience on a construction site and working for Sydenhams he could see the construction industry from the retail/merchant side of it.

Kyle began his work experience at Sydenhams in March 2022 and is really enjoying his placement. He enjoys working as part of the team there and is learning really good skills around following instructions and working as an important part of the team. He will continue to work as part of their team until he finishes his education at Thorngrove and there is a possibility of him transferring to their Westbury depot in July if it can be arranged.

Kyle has achieved outcomes in all areas whilst at EMA, educationally he has been able to sit in classrooms and learn the functional skills in English, Maths, and ICT. He has learnt what having a job entails and what makes your employable, attendance is key and Kyle has shown huge maturity in his attitude to this. He is able to leave home issues at home and come into EMA and work experience and focus on the tasks set. Kyle has voiced that he would like to explore supported living options, and this would be supported by the skills he has learnt in Independent Living Skills. Kyle has been learning how to budget and manage his money.

Kyle has progressed so far in his time at Thorngrove and is proving to be a real asset to the maintenance department and at Sydenhams. Kyle has taken exams this year which is something Kyle has always struggled to engage in and sit throughout the entire exam. We are hopeful Kyle has passed these exams and will be supported to apply for jobs for the Summer onwards.

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