"...This initiative is long overdue and desperately needed by children who have suffered trauma and their parents. It is clear the project will make an enormous difference to these families and provide ground breaking best practice to change the future outcomes for our most vulnerable children."
Sarah Naish
CEO of National Association of Therapeutic Parents, adopter and author

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OUR VISION

To open a short stay, specialist school in every Local Authority across the UK, exclusively for children who have suffered significant early life trauma.


Based on the latest evidence these schools will recognise that children who are overwhelmed first need a period of stabilisation - an early intervention so they can feel safe, where relationships can be prioritised and families supported. 


Each child will receive a specialist intervention that targets their unique developmental profile, delivered by an on-site, multi-disciplinary team, with the aim that children attending, can begin to access their learning and quickly be reintegrated back into their host school. The provision of a key adult for each child (from the host school), will be central to our work.


Outreach support will be essential to the provision, providing a continuation of care, a service for older children and those who do not need to attend the school.


Each school will be a Centre of Excellence, providing high quality training for schools and other professionals, in the area, whilst we ourselves continue to learn about the very specifc needs of these children, in order to make a lasting difference. Our provision we call, the Norwich Model.


Our vision is achievable, but it has to start in the first instance, with one school…


Better place to be.

Better place to learn.

Better place to heal.

All part of what we're putting in place...

ABOUT US

DANIEL THROWER

Executive Headteacher for Early Years and Key Stage 1, at the Wensum Trust in Norfolk.

Daniel has been in teaching for 26 years and more specifically a headteacher for 13 years.

HELEN MARCUS

Integrative Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist in Norfolk.

Helen has worked with children with early trauma for 13 years both as a senior social worker in local authority post adoption teams and as an Integrative Child Psychotherapist.

ANNE OAKLEY

Attachment Lead working in Norfolk Schools.

Anne has supported children with special educational needs and autism for 14 years and over the last 5 years, children with developmental trauma and attachment difficulties.

BACKGROUND TO OUR STORY

A COMPELLING EVIDENCE BASED APPROACH

This vision is informed by objective evidence from a 2-year pilot study funded by Norfolk County Council. The pilot, called Attachment Outreach Support (AOS), is a multi-disciplinary, educational and therapeutic outreach support project, for children who have suffered early life (or complex) trauma and attachment difficulties. 


Whilst we are school led, our work incorporates psychotherapy as well as sensory integration therapy (from specialists senSI, in Norfolk) and our approach is suitable for any child who has suffered early life trauma.


The outcomes of the pilot project were very positive, seeing 83% of the children (with the highest level of need) saved from exclusion. Families and schools commented how the support and training provided by AOS and our therapists had increased understanding of the child’s needs, helping to stabilise every environment.


However our research indicated that for those children who have suffered the most significant trauma, much more is needed.


“My experience of what works best for children with complex trauma is when everyone works together in order to address the many ways that complex trauma impacts a child’s life – the developing brain and body, family life and academic achievement. We need to make a radical shift towards on-site multidisciplinary teams to provide holistic interventions for our most vulnerable children.” Helen Marcus


Our vision is heavily research based and has been developed over the past 24 months. It is informed by the latest brain based research that we have worked with and crafted, forming our own unique model. We have visited two similar provisions in Denmark. All of this has resulted in a provision that works for the child, their family and the school.

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More knowledge.

More understanding.

More specialised support.

More things in place...

THE NEED

EARLY LIFE TRAUMA

Early life (or complex) trauma occurs when a child has been exposed to multiple adverse experiences or prolonged levels of neglect or abuse, as a developing baby in the womb, and/or during their early years.


The impact of these experiences can result in developmental trauma and attachment difficulties, affecting the way the child develops healthy relationships, learns, feels and behaves. Typically the child may be:


Unable to trust adults

Overwhelmed by fear, particularly in our schools

Unable to stay calm

Unable to learn until earlier developmental gaps are filled


A child’s distressed behaviour is often masked or misunderstood in our schools, causing escalating stress on all levels. 


If these issues remain unresolved then children are often moved to inappropriate provisions, home schooled or excluded, leading to family breakdowns, mental health difficulties and life-long problems.

EXAMPLES OF ADVERSE

CHILDHOOD EXPERIENCES (ACEs)


Physical, sexual, emotional abuse

Physical, emotional neglect

Loss of a parent or separation from birth mother

Domestic violence before or after birth

Prolonged exposure to drugs or alcohol as a foetus

Postnatal depression or household mental illness

Parental separation or divorce

Long-term hospitalisation

   

MOUNTING EVIDENCE...

Whilst there are many pockets of expertise in this area around the country, there is mounting evidence suggesting that children who have suffered early life trauma and their families, are left feeling isolated and unable to reach and achieve their full potential. It is time for change.


Adopted children are 20 times more likely to be permanently excluded than their peers.


Adoption UK Schools and Exclusion Report 2017

Bridging the Gap – Giving adopted children an equal chance in school 2018

Outcomes for children looked after by local authorities in England, DfE  March 2017

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THE SCHOOL

   

  

  

   

   

   

   

   

WHAT WE ARE PROPOSING

  

An Alternative Provision Short Stay Free School for children aged 4-7 years, integrating education with continuous on-site therapeutic support.

To create a welcoming hub of knowledge to support families, reducing isolation, compassion fatigue and improving well being for the whole family.

All our on-site teaching staff will be trained in attachment and trauma, Theraplay, Mentalization Based Training and will be beginning to use the Dyadic Development Psychotherapy principles (level one), as a minimum requirement. 

32 places (our starting point). 16 children at any one time, but with opportunities for a further 16 children to attend part time. This will give us a reach of at least 40 children per calendar school year.

A new build, designed to provide classrooms, multiple therapy rooms and a specialised sensory integration room, to meet the specific requirements of these children. There will also be provision for group training.

An environment where a nurturing, trusting relationship with a consistent Key Adult, from their own school, can develop.

An individualised, multidisciplinary learning environment to promote healing and recovery for the child.

Comprehensive assessments combining the latest neuroscience to identify and treat the very earliest developmental gaps (The Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics (NMT) – a program developed by Bruce Perry from The Child Trauma Centre in America).

A length of stay depending on the child’s level of need, with regular visits to their own school.

Comprehensive training for the Key Adult and host school staff, to ensure the child is fully supported on return and knowledge disseminated with the host school, other cluster schools, other professionals and beyond. The reach of one child in the school is considerable.

To continue our existing outreach provision and establish an attachment and trauma Centre of Excellence to provide high level training (including Teacher Training institutions) and opportunities to research the needs of these children further and become part of a world wide research body on trauma.

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  


SUPPORTERS

WE HAVE STRONG POLITICAL SUPPORT AND THE SUPPORT OF THE MOST EMINENT NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL EXPERTS IN THE FIELD OF TRAUMA.

CHLOE SMITH

Conservative MP for Norwich North leading strong cross political support across Norfolk MPs.

MINISTER NADHIM SAHAWI

Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Children and Families – gave positive feedback about our proposal in a recent meeting (June 2018)

RT HON NORMAN LAMB

Liberal Democrat MP for North Norfolk – Member of Parliament and Chair of the Science and Technology Select Committee, currently examining the strength of the evidence linking adverse childhood experiences with long-term negative outcomes.

PROF PETER FONAGY OBE

Psychoanalyst and Clinical Psychologist, University College London and Chief Executive at the Anna Freud Centre in London. Peter has been involved with this proposal from its inception. 

DR BRUCE PERRY

Psychiatrist, The Child Trauma Centre, Houston in Texas

DAN HUGHES

Clinical Psychologist from Maine, America. He founded Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy (DDP)

BRENDA MCHUGH

Consultant Psychotherapist, Co-Founder of The Family School London, Co-Director of the Service for Schools the Anna Freud National Centre Children and Families. Patron to our vision and Your PLACE, Norwich.

FAMILY FUTURES

Adoption agency providing assessment, treatment and post adoption support.

ADOPTION UK

Leading charity providing support, community and advocacy for all those parenting or supporting children who cannot live with their birth parents.

LOUISE BOMBER

Specialist teacher, therapist, trainer, author and founder of Touchbase™

SARAH NAISH

CEO of National Association of Therapeutic Parents, trainer, author and adoptive mother of five children

NICOLA MARSHALL

Founder of BraveHeart Education. She is a speaker, author, coach and trainer along with being an adoptive mother to three children.

SHOW SUPPORT

Political Support.

Expert Support.

Parent Support.

Are all in place...

CONTACT US

PLEASE BE AN ADVOCATE FOR OUR VISION. TO DO THIS, REGISTER YOUR SUPPORT BY CLICKING SUPPORT US.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR OWN EXPERIENCES

Email Daniel, Anne or Helen at [email protected]

WE HAVE A VISION TO OPEN A SHORT STAY SPECIALIST TRAUMA SCHOOL IN EVERY LOCAL AUTHORITY. OUR VISION HAS REAL MOMENTUM AND NEEDS YOUR SUPPORT. WE HAVE TO START IN NORWICH, BUT THE MODEL OF WORKING IS EASY TO REPLICATE AND SCALE UP ACROSS THE UK.

IN SUMMARY:

Evidence across the country tells us that this provision is needed.

Our model is built on a successful two-year pilot study funded by Norfolk County Council. 

We have eminent political support.

Key experts at a national, European and International level support our vision.

Our vision has a strong business model. It will save Norfolk £7.8 million in 5 years. No new money is needed as the cost savings will fund it.


HOW CAN THIS NOT BE SUPPORTED?

SHOW SUPPORT

   

ALTERNATIVE PROVISION FREE SCHOOL APPLICATION PROCESS 2018-2019

DEF invites Local Authorities to show an expression of interest in opening an Alternative Provision Free School

Local Authority completes forms to show their interest in opening a AP Free school and explain how it will help their locality

The DfE considers all expressions of interest and chooses 30 projects to approve

Local Authority opens competition to find a group to commission school

Local Authority considers all applicants to commission school and recommends the best bid to the DfE

SECRETARY OF STATE SIGNS OFF PROJECT

  

LATEST NEWS

11 November 2018

Local Authority unable to support our free school bid

For a number of reasons, the LA are not able to support our proposal via the Free School route and we accept the position they have taken. What is very encouraging however, is that in a high level conference call, between Sara Tough, Chris Snudden, other senior LA Officers with MPs Chloe Smith (Conservative MP for Norwich North) and Norman Lamb (Liberal Democrat MP for North Norfolk), Sara Tough insisted that our 'undiluted' proposal could still be delivered through a Specialist Resource Base. Sara Tough also made it clear that she would welcome academic involvement and thorough robust evaluation. Excitingly, this means both the significant research and training arms of this project will go ahead. The model will still be able to lead the way, so further Your Place School provisions can be established elsewhere in the UK.        Discussions continue, but we will update you again soon. 

2 October 2018

Report in the Guardian

We are delighted to announce that Your Place was featured in a report by The Guardian yesterday. The article was written by journalist Haroon Siddique and talks about our plans to help children, across the country who are currently being failed by the educational system. Please see the full report here 

21 September 2018

Forthcoming Article in the Guardian

Thank you for your continued support. An article about Your Place should be in Monday's edition of the Guardian. The Guardian approached us having been introduced to our website by a tweet by North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb. The article will essentially say that Your Place has the potential to help children currently not being adequately catered for by the education system and creates a template for others to follow in it's footsteps.  

10 September 2018

Much more than a school...

Peter Fonagy recently tweeted the following: 

A great initiative to create another school which heals as it teaches and teaches how it heals.’  Your Place will be much more than just a school. We will provide through a core offer support for children, their families and the host school. This is crucial. However we will provide a significant training arm that will teach others about our work. Finally, we will participate in and be led by the latest research from around the world, so that what we give our children, families and schools, will be the best provision and support, all the time.

5 September 2018

Sir John Jones...

We are delighted that Sir John Jones has agreed to be an advocate for our proposal. Sir John recognises the need for this provision across the country and wholeheartedly supports both our plan for Norwich and our wider vision. 

Sir John is esteemed in the world of education and is recognised on the global educational stage 

4 September 2018

Meeting with the NSPCC

We are delighted to tell you that the NSPCC have approached us because they are interested to hear more about our plans. We are due to meet with them in London, next week and will update you all again soon. 

30 August 2018

Words of support from Prof. Peter Fonagy OBE (UCL)

"This initiative is at the core of what education can and should do to reduce the risk of substantial mental health and social problems later in development. This initiative is timely and essential. It reflects farsightedness on the part of local health and educational authorities" - Peter Fonagy Aug 2018

30 August 2018

"Family Futures wholeheartedly supports...

                     ...this brave new venture designed to meet the educational needs of traumatised children including adopted children. Policies of inclusion have their limits. In our experience many traumatised children require a much more holistic,wraparound, therapeutic and educational provision to meet their developmental needs. We wish the Wensum Trust success and hope that this could be a model for alternative school provision for this cohort of children around the country. Family Futures is very happy to offer its expertise and experience in working with this group of children." 

26 August 2018

Thank you for your continued support

We have been overwhelmed with support from parents, carers and professionals. It is very evident we have support from all over the UK and indeed parts of Europe and the USA. Thank you so much!

Please do share Your Place School on social media and encourage friends, family and work colleagues to look at the website and sign up their support. Our vision is achievable and together with your support, we will get the first of Your Place Schools commissioned in Norwich.

Daniel, Helen and Anne   

25 August 2018

Scott Casson-Rennie (Adoption UK) Supports Us

"I am delighted to see that a Multi Academy Trust supports such an idea that by treating all children the same, we 

are actually treating them all differently. ...Children and parents embracing this model will surely see the positive outcomes and benefits for the longer term needs of the child, to ensure they achieve what they are capable of." Scott Casson-Rennie (AUK)

25 August 2018

Adoption UK supports 'exciting proposal'

"We frequently hear from our members that mainstream settings are ill-equipped to meet the complex needs of their children and rather than being an environment where their curiosity thrives, school becomes a constant source of stress for many adoptive families... Adoption UK hopes that this school can provide a blueprint for meeting the needs of traumatised children that can be replicated in other parts of the country."

23 August 2018

Endorsement from Chloe Smith MP

"...This is the type of provision that Norfolk sorely needs - our county has one of the highest primary exclusion rates in the country...This proposal stands to change children's lives in Norfolk and it could blaze a trail nationally too. I've been hugely impressed by the passionate dream of Daniel as a local headteacher so am helping convince ministers in Westminster and the county council of the need to make this a reality." 

22 August 2018

PLACE is so much more than a name...

The name for our school is derived from an approach already helping children who have experienced early trauma.

PACE was developed by American Clinical Psychologist, Dan Hughes and helps children explore and understand their feelings, whilst limiting feelings of shame. 

It is an acronym for Playfulness, Acceptance, Curiosity and Empathy. We just added a sprinkling of Love too - forming PLACE. 

We will be sharing more endorsements from our supporters regularly, as well as giving you updates, so please keep visiting our site and supporting our plans. 

Please share our website with family, friends and colleagues and encourage them to sign up their support.  

15 August 2018

Eastern Daily Press shares our story

The Eastern Daily Press has already picked up on our story and shared our vision of opening a trauma school – believed to be the first in the country – in Norwich. 

The article, written by Education Correspondent Lauren Cope, explains more about our proposal to cater for young children who have suffered early life trauma. It also includes background information on the impact of early trauma on children, examples of those who already support our visionary project and details of some of the wider benefits our school could bring; including easing pressure on social, mental health and public services. To read the full article visit EDP24.

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Thank you in anticipation of your support