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Maple Hayes Gets to Say Real Goodbye to Year 11 Cohort

A leading specialist school for pupils with dyslexia has bid goodbye to it’s latest cohort of Year 11 after being unable to do so properly in 2020 due to the initial impact of COVID-19 lockdown.

Maple Hayes Hall Dyslexia School, based at Abnalls Lane in Lichfield, has held its traditional leavers assembly for those departing the school since its inception in 1981, but was unable to do so in 2020.

Determined that the same wouldn’t happen this year, school staff worked tirelessly to make sure the event could be held outside with social distancing measures in place.

The traditional leavers assembly includes prize-giving ceremonies and offers a chance for pupils to say goodbye to one another before starting the next chapter of their lives.

Headteacher Dr Daryl Brown said: “When our pupils join us, they are often really struggling due to their dyslexia and have a lot of catching up to do.

“They can often be shy and withdrawn due to feeling isolated in their previous school.

“By the time they are in Year 11 and ready to leave us, the transformation they have undergone is vast and it really is something that we want to celebrate.

“Nobody really knew what was happening or going to happen this time last year, so that cohort basically got a very simple goodbye - it isn’t what they deserved after working so hard and it wasn’t how we wanted them to leave.

“Schools are a community and everybody from pupils to parents and the school staff have all worked hard to make sure we got to say a proper goodbye this time around.”

Maple Hayes’ unique teaching method centres on the “icon” system devised by school founder Dr Neville Brown, father of headteacher Daryl.

Due to its specialist provision, Maple Hayes welcomes pupils from across the West Midlands, as far apart as Leicester and Staffordshire.

This year’s Head Boy, Jacob Green, from Stoke-on-Trent, said: “I have been here four years and it’s been a rollercoaster, i’ve learned so much I don’t know where to start. I am excited to move on now - i’ll be focusing on my favourite subject, Geography, at college.”

Head Girl, Sophie Fletcher, from Walsall, said: “My time at Maple Hayes has made me feel more confident - I can talk to people now, i’m better at speaking and listening and feeling comfortable with myself.”

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