Our Learners' Stories

The case studies below give examples of the typical progress made by the children and young adults who have been referred to New Leaf Triangle.

The New Leaf Triangle approach, used so effectively for these students, includes following each individual’s interests, ensuring the environment suits their needs, and introducing the use of animals and the natural environment in a therapeutic way to help them gain self-esteem, confidence and develop the ability to express themselves. Relationships with New Leaf staff are key, and our success is based on the use of positive psychology approaches - creating positive experiences and emotions and building on each student’s individual strengths to promote happiness, wellbeing and self-belief.


When he joined us at New Leaf Triangle, Alan, a 15-year-old student, had been excluded from both mainstream schooling and also from a specialist centre for SEMH/challenging behaviour. Alan has ADHD; he is a ‘looked after child’, has regularly absconded from care, and is a youth offender. He shows extreme anti-social behaviour and language. Alan now attends New Leaf Triangle for two sessions a week, each session lasting three hours.

During his time with us Alan has made exceptional progress. Stakeholders have stated that New Leaf has been the only positive experience in his life and have been amazed by his engagement and the change in his attitude and manner. He has become a valued member of our team. Alan’s particular areas of progress have been his participation, manners, behaviour, social skills and empathy. He is much more respectful of others and is more able to manage his own emotions. He has become very self-motivated and is able to work consistently hard each week with a range of New Leaf staff.

Alan has achieved C&G NPTC Horse Care Entry Level 3 and has learnt to ride and care for a horse from scratch. He has progressed to coaching some of the younger children in football and has given talks and demonstrations in horse care to other New Leaf students. He has just started the British Horse Society Changing Lives course.


Gary came to New Leaf Triangle at the age of 16. He has autism, ADHD, dyslexia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Myers Irlen Syndrome. He is unable to look at anything very bright or coloured white, for example, fluorescent lighting and white décor or equipment. When he first came to us, Gary had been out of school for two years; he had gone through two school placement breakdowns and had lost confidence in anyone being able to meet his particularly challenging needs.

The New Leaf team worked with Gary, his family and his occupational therapist to adjust the environment to suit his requirements. We built up his confidence, self-esteem and stamina. Gary’s progress has been remarkable; he has achieved C&G NPTC Skills for Working Life Entry Level 3 Animal Care and has progressed to achieve an Award in C&G Work Based Animal Care Level 1. With the support of New Leaf staff, Alan has now transitioned to a main stream college where he is completing another Animal Care course.


Paul first came to New Leaf Triangle when he was 14 years old; he has undiagnosed autism, ADHD, extreme anxiety, PTSD and learning difficulties. Coming from a disadvantaged family with long term social worker and police involvement, Paul had been out of school since the age of 12 and all but refused to leave the house.  He could only write his first name and a few letters and numbers. When he first joined us at New Leaf he was initially very withdrawn and would not look at or talk to anyone.

Paul is now 17, he has learnt to read and write, can read most texts and write simple sentences. Has achieved C&G Reading at Entry Level 2, and is working towards Entry Level 3 Reading and Entry Level 2 Writing and Maths. He has achieved C&G NPTC Skills for Working Life Horse Care Entry Level 2 & 3.

Paul now regularly goes out into the local community, he uses shops and cafes, he understands and is able to use money. Paul’s level of confidence has grown significantly and he will now speak to both familiar and unfamiliar people, and will work with different staff at New Leaf.

Paul has successfully completed a work placement at a small holding. He interacted well with his employer and worked effectively and consistently throughout the placement. This achievement would never have been dreamt of two years earlier! In 2017, with the support of New Leaf staff, Paul transitioned to a main stream college to undertake a course in Animal Care for one day per week. This was a very big stretch for him but he has achieved regular attendance and has returned this September to continue the course.



Simon is nine years old, he has Autism and ADHD, and was referred to New Leaf Triangle following multiple exclusions from mainstream school. He originally attended New Leaf for four-hour sessions, three time per week.

Simon was unable to regulate his own behaviour which could become extreme at times; he was considered a risk to other students. The New Leaf team used activities linked to his interests to increase his ability to concentrate and stay on task, to increase his confidence and self-esteem, as well as regulate his own behaviour, and consider the health and safety consequences of this behaviour.

Initially he worked on his own and then within small groups. His placement has been extremely successful and he has learnt to regulate his own behaviour much better, to understand the consequences of his behaviour and has learnt to work with others whilst maintaining focus. His confidence and self-esteem have significantly improved. He has now successfully transitioned back into school full-time by slowly reducing his days at New Leaf. His school has been particularly pleased with how he has learnt to regulate his behaviour and with the wide range of learning that he has undertaken, including, maths, English, science, Forest School activities, art, sport and music, as well as therapeutic work with the animals.


David is seven years old and attends New Leaf Triangle for three hour sessions three time a week. He previously attended a main stream primary school but was unable to cope with the environment and structure due to Autism and possible Pathological Demand Avoidance.

David exhibited particularly challenging behaviour and withdrawal from day to day activities, he would not communicate or work with school staff and had withdrawn in to 'his own world'. He sat under the classroom desks and wove himself a web with wool around the table legs to keep everyone out. He would only emerge to throw items at staff.

Initially at New Leaf, he remained in 'his world’ and was very shy and withdrawn, finding it hard to be around anyone.  The New Leaf team supported David by following his interests and he slowly began to trust us and allow us to enter ‘his world’. Over time staff were able to encourage him to try new activities and engage in routines they had set. David now works and communicates with a range of staff and will follow a schedule of activities agreed with him. He is completing English and maths activities and has made very good progress in reading, writing and numeracy. He will now speak with other members of staff with whom he is unfamiliar and will play and work with other children. His mainstream school has been extremely pleased and surprised by his progress. He will transition to a special school as soon as space becomes available, with the support of New Leaf staff if needed.