Monday, 18 April 2016

A Very Special School Trip

Today our oldest son went on a school trip. Seems normal for most children, but this trip is a special one. He has attended a specialist school for the last 3 years. This is the 4th trip he has attended, as this is an annual trip at this time of the year at his school Gloucester House. But this is the last one.

I asked him on the way to school this morning how he felt about that this is the last trip “Well, this means that I have moved on and am ready for mainstream. We can always visit New Forest as a family” was his answer. I’m sure he had some mixed feelings which are sometimes hard to put into words. He has started to get used to the idea of moving back to mainstream school full time after the summer break, as he has already started taster sessions once a week.

They are staying in the New Forest for 4 days, sharing lodges with children and staff from Gloucester House. The trip has been planned down to the smallest detail by school. Children have done their part of the planning, activities have been discussed and code of conduct has been explained.

Over the next 4 days all of the 13 children and 13 staff will do activities like mountain biking, zip wire, yoga/mindfulness, kayaking, canoeing, bush craft and swimming. This is great way to build friendships between the children, but also to build a stronger bond between the children and the teachers. I am very impressed with all the passion from the staff and all the effort they show. 

For the last 3 years Gloucester House has been our saviour. Back in 2013 we were almost at breaking point as a family, as the current mainstream school wasn’t able to manage our oldest son, then aged 8. They asked us to keep him at home for 2 days a week. In addition he was excluded most of the three other days, or was asked to be picked up early. When he started at Gloucester House we felt that finally someone had an understanding of what we were going through as a family and they were able to help both our son and us.
I’m sure that they all will have a fantastic time in the New Forest with lots of great memories. For many of the children, this would have been the first time away from home. At home the house feels empty without him, and also when his two other brothers are arguing and bickering, I’m missing him!

We are a leading independent special school with a fully integrated specialist clinical team located in a large Victorian house in Hampstead. Although we are in a separate building, we are part of the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service of the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust. For over 40 years Gloucester House has pioneered therapeutic educational work with children. We are a very small school working with up to 21 children aged between 5-14 (Ks 1, 2 & 3).

Gloucester House provides a model of good practice that fits the new Education, Health and Care Plans. Therapists, specialist nurses and education staff work closely together to support the learning and development of children with social, emotional and mental health difficulties, their families/carers and the professional network around them.

Gloucester House is warm and welcoming, friendly and purposeful. We believe that all children can progress and achieve. We take great pride in our outcomes for children and families. Developing children’s independence, resilience, progress in learning and understanding of themselves is at the core of our vision.

We believe that the children and families we work with benefit from therapeutic education provided by clinicians and education staff working closely. We work with the children in a variety of ways including individual work and group work.

At all times we try to understand and learn from children and their families. We provide opportunities for self-reflection as well as nurturing children’s self-esteem and positive social relationships.

Enjoyment, excellence and achievement are at the heart of our curriculum through which we aim to develop a love of learning alongside core competencies in basic skills. We provide a curriculum through which children of all abilities can learn through a rich variety of experiences.

In our last Ofsted we were awarded outstanding status.

We aim to provide outstanding education and care that will prepare them for the next steps in their future. We also hope that children and families who come here will enjoy their time as well as learn from it and leave us with positive memories.

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