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Pupils who attend The Lifehouse all have one thing in common .... their previous experiences have proved that mainstream approach to education just isn't for them and that they prefer a more individual approach that can take into account their sometimes complex needs. They benefit from being in a setting that has high support and low arousal. We have pupils who have had difficult histories, perhaps now in formal care situations, who need specific help and guidance not only with their academic achievement but also with their peer relationships. Many of our pupils have multiple diagnoses, including those on the autistic spectrum. All of our young people benefit froma staff team that individualyl plans for both their curriculum and their support. We are highly experienced at dealing with young people with complex needs.

Our registration as a Special School states that we can accept pupils with emotional and behavioural difficulties, those on the autistic spectrum and those with moderate learning difficulties. Our school is run on a nurture group basis, and is not specifically attuned to being an ‘autistic friendly’ environment, but through experience we have discovered that it does suit some with autistic diagnoses.

Our setting especially benefits those who need:

  • Close support to sustain relationships and manage free time
  • A curriculum that is tailored to their interests and strengths
  • Individual attention to specific areas of learning to help them reach their educational goals
  • Therapeutic input to help make real and sustainable change
  • Good family liaison to support making a real difference

The Therapeutic Element

We are very aware that the therapeutic element of our setting is what really sets us apart from the majority of other schools. Every minute of the day is supported and provides a scaffold for the children to build confidence, widen social experiences and develop the skills needed to have successful relationships. All of our staff are highly skilled at working as a team to ensure that children build on success, have opportunity to experiment and try new things and cope with their feelings in a wide variety of situations and pressures. 

Alongside this we have our own in house therapist. Kate is a psychodynamic practitioner with 25 years’ experience of working with children and young people in organisational and individual settings. She is a senior member of APPCOS, (The association for psychodynamic practise and counselling in organisational settings), and is currently undertaking continued professional development into accreditation to the British Psychoanalytic Council, completing the course Psychodynamic Approaches in Educational Settings. This will support the fundamental development and holding of a safe base for learning for children who have extreme and complex emotional needs. Her approach integrates all aspects of the child’s life and aims to offer growth and emotional learning to all who surround the child and to support environmental security.

The Lifehouse also has a very clear understanding of the importance of working with families and supporting the child through integrated working with those at home, as well as the children themselves. We dedicate time to ensuring that parents and carer’s are included in planning the pathway, and supported to manage any crisis along the way.  Our close working relationships with families has been applauded, and is another element that makes our approach unique. Work can involve direct, home based focused help to manage certain behaviours, support learning and ensure a consistent and clear structure is in place to help the pupil make a smooth transition into adulthood. Our trained staff and therapeutic workers are there to support families every step of the way.