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18. The Team

Before the Roll of Honour evening, Eydon Vale was always unstable: afterwards, there were days it felt safe. By the last week of the Easter Term, recorded Disciplinary Concerns was 330, half of where we started. Through noticing, praising and rewarding individuals’ commitment and concentration, day in day out, moment by moment, we had been reshaping group behaviour.

Noha’s mother was delighted by her progress at school. She contacted Dr Awad and asked if he could possibly tutor her in the holidays. Together, they created the following novella about the time Noha spent at the future Olympians training camp.

Noha was a middle-distance runner.

She would be trained in 400 metres,

half a mile and a mile.

But what she was looking forward to

was the fun run.

It was up the side of a mountain.

After the first meal,

an Olympian called Trevor gave a pep talk.

He had won gold for GB

and knew all about her granddad.

He told them all

to push themselves

harder than they had ever done

in their lives.

But he said they were a team.

They all had to look out

for each other.

Noha was always in the pack

at the front of each race.

After a couple of days,

it was clear to everyone

how fast Noha was.

No one her age came near her.

She was still only 14.

Yet she was faster

than any of the other under-15s.

But every day,

Noha had the feeling

it could all go wrong.

She was on a tight rope

and could fall off

at any moment.

That week in Wales

was like a dream come true for Noha.

The girls in her dorm

would steal out in the night.

They would go to the dining room

for midnight feasts.

On the day of the fun run,

there was snow on the ground.

The hill fog had come down.

The under 15s set off

before the under 18s.

Noha led from the front.

Then the older ones

started catching her up.

As Harry passed her,

she stepped off the path.

She slipped on the ice

and fell hard.

She cried out in pain.

What was Noha to do?

If Noha stopped to help Harry,

she would lose the race.

But she could not leave her there

out in the cold.

Then another 18-year-old called Jane stopped.

She said, “Harry is my friend.

I’ll look after her.”

Noha decided to run back

to get help.

As she ran back down the track,

the other kids cheered

and cracked jokes.

None of them knew

what she was up to.

That night, Trevor spoke to them all.

Harry had not broken any bones.

But the hospital was

keeping her in

for checks.

It would be some time

before she could run again.

Trevor thanked Noha and Jane

for looking after her.

He let the others know

what they had done.

“They gave up all hope

of winning the race.

They knew the cost

of being team members!”

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