Fritz is a new student in Year 5 at a large primary school in a coastal town. He enrolled at the school in the middle of Term 2 and was absent for five days during his six weeks of attendance. The staff member who conducted Fritz’s enrolment interview noted that he appeared shy and nervous, and made limited eye contact, including with his parents. He answered questions politely, but offered little information about his personal interests.
Fritz’s class teacher, a playground duty teacher and a specialist music teacher have independently expressed concerns to special education staff and the Wellbeing Team. They have observed that Fritz prefers to sit alone at all times and appears uncomfortable when other students say hello or ask him questions. When sitting alone, Fritz doesn’t use a device, read or entertain himself; he simply watches others. In class, Fritz asked his teacher if he could use one of the sensory toys available to all students. He has since kept the toy in his desk and uses it during discussions.
The population of the town Fritz and his family have moved to is transient. All new school enrolments participate in a brief transition program to ensure they feel welcome and can navigate their new environment. One week after Fritz enrolled, another new student joined his class. When his teacher spoke with the boys and suggested they could be buddies, Fritz became highly agitated, said ‘No’ firmly and walked out of the classroom. His teacher called Fritz’s parents to discuss this incident and her other concerns; however, his father simply described Fritz as a loner.
Contact with Fritz’s previous school revealed a high level of absenteeism and similar behaviours. The Wellbeing Team at Fritz’s current school are monitoring him and planning scheduled check-ins after further consultation with his parents.
Fritz has completed end-of-semester literacy and numeracy assessment tasks and despite only enrolling recently and having some absences, has achieved high results for both.