Here’s what our clients say about us

Here’s what our clients say about us

Dawn Kent, Matron, Abbey College Cambridge, 2024

We have been working with Lee Parker, of Cambridge Academic Performance for ten years and in the last year Caroline Bone, also started working with us. In the early days we used to send specific students to Lee and many of these had already spent a lot of time with senior members of the pastoral team. Now we have a service level agreement with CAP which means we have Lee in for two full days a week. This means that we always have appointments available for those students who really need it. It is invaluable to have such a high level of expertise on tap and know that our students are able to access this level of advice and support at any time during the school day.

What makes CAP unique in supporting our students is:

  1. The professionalism of CAP, their clinical expertise and experience.
  2. The fact they are always prepared to go above and beyond the work of seeing students on the two days, for instance, going to doctor’s appointments, being available on the phone, giving advice etc.
  3. The deep level of understanding they have of our students and now our staff as well.
  4. The fact that CAP are here for two days a week, every week, means we can embed this support and it is good for every member of staff to know we have that support on site.
  5. How easy it is to work with them, there is a shorthand to our communication due to this high level of cooperation.
  6. Bespoke and tailored training for our staff, host families and parents.

The high success rate we have in getting the right referrals, treatment and care plans for students is in large part due to CAP. Lee writes these wonderful reports and often attends appointments either with the GP or specialist services such as the eating disorder clinic. The fact we are sending our mental health occupational therapist with a student, and the obviously strong rapport Lee has with that student, makes a big difference to the way in which a GP appointment can go. Lee is their advocate and will then feedback recommendations to me which I can disseminate into our safeguarding meetings and to our boarding team to ensure wraparound support.

Working with CAP has meant we have created more opportunities for students who may previously have been sent home, but in terms of the number we are now able to support and keep here, it is incalculable. That is so important for us as a school because now we are not letting any of our students down, we can support them, and they are getting access to education and succeeding.

Recently we have started working with CAP to offer supervision to our staff. Staff currently get a session once a month and it has really impacted positively on staff wellbeing. It can be the difference between feeling good about your job and not wanting to come to work. To have access to a clinical professional with an embedded understanding of education is incredible. This gives staff a good feeling about the college and enables them to do their job to the next level and feel supported in that.

I couldn’t do it without the support we get from CAP, it is one of the most important resources we can allocate budget to. By embedding CAP into the support that we offer our students we are facilitating so many more opportunities for more students to succeed. The impact of this embedded approach is a mindset shift for everyone and a better system of early intervention and referrals.

The way in which we approach safeguarding and wellbeing was rated outstanding by OFSTED and that is in large part due to the close relationship we have with CAP.

Dr Lucy Sweatman, Cantab Education, Director, 2021

I have known Lee for four years now. With over ten years’ experience as a senior leader in top independent schools in Cambridge I am well aware of the challenges teenagers face and the support some of them desperately need to achieve their full potential. I am equally familiar with just how tough it is to find someone who actually makes a difference. There are plenty of kind and well-meaning individuals around, but Lee is by far the best at actually making a difference on a practical level.

I have seen students he has supported make remarkable progress, academically and in terms of their well-being and mental health, in a matter of weeks. Those I have been extremely concerned about have gone on not only to secure a place at a top university (something unthinkable prior to his support) but to thrive there equipped with resilience, independence and the confidence to ask for support when it was needed.

What makes Lee different is that he is much more than a ‘friendly, approachable, independent ear’, though this is undoubtedly true too. Actual, practical advice is the foundation of every interaction. ‘Homework’ is given and it makes a difference. Progress is measured and visible to the individuals involved. Discretion and confidentiality are a given and never in doubt. Were a member of my own family to be in need of support and mentoring, his would be the first number I would call. I cannot recommend Lee highly enough.

Parent and Vice Principal of a Cambridgeshire Secondary School, 2023

My 13 year old son has found Lee’s input invaluable. Lee has worked alongside him to increase his self-awareness of feelings and actions through his early adolescence and in doing so, he has afforded him with effective coping strategies.

Lee’s approach has been perfect for our son. He has provided him with a safe space in which he actively listens to his experiences, adds humour and works with him in creative and imaginative ways.

Lee has always been flexible regarding sessions furthermore, he has been swift to respond to us requesting a session.

I have learned lots from my son via Lee’s expert advice and guidance. Lee has accelerated his levels of emotional intelligence and it never ceases to amaze me how articulate my son is about how he feels and acts.

Parents of a GCSE student 2014

I just wanted to draw your attention to a service that we have found and used which I think could be of tremendous benefit to other students.
Our daughter is a very able student, who can over-worry about exams and can sometimes crumble under pressure to achieve her potential and reach her own very high expectations. She, like many others, is very capable of academic excellence but can worry herself into a frazzle.

I took a recommendation from a friend whose son is in his 2nd year at university who has found great success with an academic coach. The idea is to equip students with techniques and tools to manage their worries, help with revision structures, achieve a balance of ‘work, rest and play’ and mentor in a professional sense that we would typically associate with the workplace. These coping skills are learnt; they are not instinctive for most students and once learnt, they are there for life, helping the student throughout their academic and working life.

Our daughter has had 3 individual sessions over her exam period and the decrease in her stress and worry levels has been remarkable. Combined with practical tips, advice on lifestyle during term and exam times and with very personalised and pleasant meetings, she has met with the mentor to develop strategies to manage her own performance.

It seems to me that most schools are aware of their student ‘stress’ levels but other than telling them not to worry, there is little practical advice on how not to worry! This approach is a very valuable tool that schools and colleges could offer to students either by recommendation or by bringing this company in house. It fills an obvious gap that is not purely about revision technique and is not counselling for emotional problems, but falls into the middle area of academic stress and worry that many students have to deal with. I really hope that you find this useful, it has been absolutely superb.

Best wishes
V and R

Written by Stan’s Mum 2021

Back in Sept 2021, we found ourselves in what we can only describe as the most stressful and desperate period in our lives as parents. We have two children, a daughter aged 9 and a son who at the time was entering secondary school. He was making this transition with a group of good friends and apart from the usual nerves and uncertainties we genuinely thought he would be ok. He is very bright, very sociable and confident.

Sadly, he didn’t settle at all, he found the entire process completely overwhelming and as a result resisted it; a much larger student population, moving classrooms within a set time frame, new teachers, new rules, new homework apps, new friends. We found ourselves with a child who now found even crossing the threshold of the house too difficult to comprehend. As parents we had never dealt with the level of distress he was going through. Sometimes the anxiety and panic would begin the second he opened his eyes, other times he would get dressed and it wouldn’t kick in until he was just about to leave with his friends. On occasions when we had managed to get him into the car his anxiety was so heightened that he would kick and scream and attempt to open the door of the moving car to get out.

School were very accommodating and tried to work with us to do what they could. On the days we could persuade him into the car and then out again the other end he began coming into school early to avoid the crowds and would wait in ABI (Absence, Behaviour and Inclusion dept). This worked in the sense that we were able to get him out of the house and physically into the school building but this began to evolve into him arriving in this room and then not being able to leave. I would on occasion get phone calls to say he hadn’t been able to leave ABI all day. He would be very upset, unable to stop crying, sometimes mute. He was missing a lot of classes and this was adding to his anxieties. We were monitoring the success of each day by the number of lessons he had made it to.

We were at our wits end, everything he expressed a concern about the school jumped on; worrying about getting changed in front of everyone for PE – he was allowed to change separately with a friend; worrying about homework – he was given a homework exemption; worrying about moving around school in the crowds – he was allowed to leave class 5 mins early to get to his next lesson. But anxiety would still rear its head and knock him back down, it was relentless and we didn’t know what to do for the best. We tried ‘good cop, bad cop’, we talked, we listened, we advised, other family members tried to chat with him but nothing seemed to help.

We didn’t know where to turn next…then we found Lee. He was recommended to us by a family friend and we really didn’t know what to expect. No one in our family had ever had therapy before but we were willing to give it a go. And all I can say is: THANK GOD WE DID!

Lee spoke with Stan once a week via video call, his approach was gentle and soothing and normalised something that in our house had become this gargantuan beast of stress and negativity. He helped Stan to understand what was happening to his body when he was experiencing episodes of anxiety, panic and surges of adrenaline. Lee drew basic sketches while they talked and presented them to Stan so that Stan had a very clear visual representation of what was happening to him. He gave him techniques to help alleviate the adrenaline surge and Stan’s inbuilt reaction to flee/avoid a situation that he perceived as ‘dangerous’ or ‘threatening’.

Each week they worked through different elements to adjust Stan’s mindset and help him to understand what it was that was bothering him so much and how he could resolve those issues himself. Building his confidence and his self esteem also played a major part in this. Lee encourage Stan to keep a very basic daily diary of his achievements, and this definitely helped him to see that he was achieving things on a daily basis. Each session was incredibly positive and really focussed on the successes of that week no matter how small. And bit by bit we started to see improvements and by the start of the Spring Term he was going in to school every day without any problems. We are aware that his anxieties are still with him, albeit to a lesser degree, and we work on a regular basis to keep them in check and employ the techniques Lee has taught him, but I genuinely don’t think he/we would have made this progress without Lee’s support and ability to shine light on his darkest of weeks.

I asked my son how he would describe Lee and he said;

‘He’s very friendly and very empathetic. He unscrambles my worries and he always stays calm. Sometimes you (mum and dad) get a bit emotional about it, Lee helps me to talk about things without getting frustrated or upset. I always feel better once we’ve had a chat.’

As a parent, seeing your child in any form of distress and not having the tools to ‘fix the problem’ is heart breaking. I will be forever grateful that we were introduced to Lee.