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The Mulberry Bush School - Oxfordshire

The Mulberry Bush School is an acclaimed therapeutic residential special school for children with severe social, emotional and behavioural difficulties. These are children who have suffered early trauma, neglect and abuse and their behaviours are often very high risk, chaotic, aggressive and/or sexualised.

The School is in Oxfordshire and is a non-maintained residential special school. It provides a 3-year programme running for 38 weeks a year, delivering therapeutic care, treatment and education for boys and girls aged 5-13. In addition, the School can now provide a 52-week service in our new house - the 52-week service is a step-down provision where children then move into the 38-week model at some point. Furthermore, the school works with the families of children placed, in order to support a successful and stable home base for the whole family.

Mulberry Bush provides individualised care, treatment and education plans, overseen by a multidisciplinary treatment team of highly trained professional staff, including a therapist. Group living in residential households, National Curriculum education, individual drama and music therapy, individual psychotherapy, group work, family work, VIG work, family therapy training and consultation, all located on one outstanding site are provided as appropriate to meet identified needs.

The School can now provide a 52-week service on-site in our new house. The 52-week service is a step-down provision where we expect children to move into the 38-week model at some point.

Mulberry Bush is a charity and so is not for profit. It continues to guarantee a 0% fee increase for children one placed, for the duration of their placement. The School's Statement of Primary Task is: 'To help primary aged children who have been unable to live in a family or learn in school, who have deep and complex emotional troubles and had developed antisocial ways of being, to discover helpful ways of living with themselves and others and to see themselves as learners and achievers.

For further information please see our Statement of Purpose https://mulberrybush.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/52-Week-MBS-Statement-of-purpose-March-2018.pdf

 

Who to contact

Contact Name
Angus Burnett
Contact Position
Referrals and Partnerships Manager
Telephone
01865 300202
E-mail
aburnett@mulberrybush.org.uk
Website
www.mulberrybush.org.uk

Where to go

Name
The Mulberry Bush School
Address
Abingdon Road
Standlake
Witney
Oxfordshire
Postcode
OX29 7RW

Time / Date Details

When is it on
School times are 9.00am - 4.00pm, Monday - Friday, for our 3-year programme (38-week provision). 52-week placements now also available.

Other Details

Costs

Table of costs
Table of costs
AmountCost Type
On application

Availability

Referral required
Yes
Referral Details

The document on our website https://mulberrybush.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/MBS-Placement-Request-FLOWCHART.pdf sets out the process whereby a child's admission to the Mulberry Bush School takes place. The document follows the progress from initial enquiry, through the referral stage and up to the point of admission. On the admission date there will be a 'Getting to Know You Meeting' attended by the child, their carers and the lead professional. We would then begin our assessment and expect the LA to liaise with us to arrange reviews.

At the early stages of referral, it is useful to get an overall picture of the child. The documents forwarded by the Local Authority (or any other referrer) should be able to help us decide on the appropriateness of the child's referral to the Mulberry Bush. The sooner we are able to do this then either - the referral can proceed efficiently with the confidence that the child will be suitably placed or, we can let you know that the child may make better use of a different provision and, where possible, make recommendations. The documentation will also allow us to define indicators and contra-indicators for progress.

We hope that the flow chart and notes are helpful, but if you wish to talk at any stage, please call Angus Burnett on 01865 300202 ext 228 or 07775 441730

 

Local Offer

Description

http://www.mulberrybush.org.uk/our-school/local-offer-faq

Contact Name
Angus Burnett
Contact Telephone
01865 300202
Contact Email
aburnett@mulberrybush.org.uk
Local Offer Age Bands
5 -11 Years

Schools Extended Local Offer Response

How does the setting/school/college know if children/young people need extra help and what should I do if I think my child/young person may have special educational needs?

The Mulberry Bush Schools supports children with severe social, emotional and behavioural difficulties. The children we help come to us from a wide range of needs and a variety of diagnoses. The children we work with suffer from attachment and/or trauma difficulties. In some cases, they might have a secondary diagnosis. Our service therefore provides for children suffering from one or more of the following diagnoses:

  • Attachment Disorder
  • Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
  • Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
  • Challenging Behaviours
  • Complex Needs
  • Complex Trauma Disorder
  • Developmental Trauma Disorder (DTD)
  • Learning Difficulties
  • Mental Health Conditions
  • Mental Health Needs
  • Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)
  • Social, Emotional and Mental Health Difficulties (SEMH)
How will early years setting/school/college staff support my child/young person?

We provide specialist residential therapeutic care, treatment and education for primary aged children made vulnerable by their severe emotional and behavioural issues. In support of this core service we work closely with the children’s families to support them with the changes they need to make to enable them to live together as a family. We carry out a needs assessment of each child and their family during the first 12 weeks of each child’s stay. This provides base line assessment information from which we develop our education, care and treatment plans and ensures we can closely monitor progress in all areas. We work with families to support their understanding; the difficulties they face and enable adaptation and change where appropriate.
We are committed to being flexible in tailoring our provision to meet the needs of each child and family. We are keen to think and work with you to achieve agreed goals.

How will the curriculum be matched to my child's/young person's needs?

‘It is my experience that my son, although following the class topic is given tasks appropriate for him and at a level that he can follow and work at. I believe this is achieved through staff assessment and communication with all staff.’  Parent A

Academically, although the results tend to vary more widely with different cohorts, progress tends to be either good or outstanding.  

Our most recent Ofsted Inspection of the Education provision was in November 2012 and rated the school as ‘Outstanding’ in all areas:

  • Teachers and other staff work exceptionally well together to give pupils excellent opportunities for success.
  • The school is an outstandingly safe environment within which pupils learn and thrive supported by the care, patience and encouragement of the staff.
  • Pupils’ behaviour is outstanding and the school successfully develops their confidence and self-esteem with highly effective personalised support.
  • The quality of teaching is outstanding. The tracking and assessment of pupils’ learning, the quality of questioning and teachers’ adaptability to the needs of pupils as lessons progress, are all excellent.
  • Staff at all levels continually try to find ways of doing things better and there is a very strong commitment to giving pupils a new start.
How will both you and I know how my child/young person is doing and how will you help me to support my child's/young person's learning?

“This was a big question of mine before X started at the Mulberry Bush! It is my experience that the staff at school work incredibly hard to build trusting relationships between child, staff and the child's peers, I believe that supporting the child's emotional wellbeing is the core value of the school. The child's care plan is constantly reviewed ensuring that all parties involved with the child are working together to support the "whole child" ‘  Parent A

We work with families to support their understanding; the difficulties they face and enable adaptation and change where appropriate.

We are committed to being flexible in tailoring our provision to meet the needs of each child and family. We are keen to think and work with you to achieve agreed goals.

We talk with the family from their first visit about the issues they face and develop an understanding of what the work will be for them in support of long term change for them all as a family.

  • We run regular residential family weekends. These involve working with invited families for two or three days at the school individually and in groups
  • We also work more intensively in sessions on a one to one basis with the family or individual family members.

This work can then be continued through the placement of their child. Our aim is to work together to create a home base which can support and enable the child to return to their community and a local school.

Parents’ and professionals’ views on practice and progress are sought at regular intervals.

Children’s key-workers talk with parents and carers weekly by telephone to keep them informed on their child’s daily life.  The assigned Family & Network Practitioner will also talk with parents and professionals regularly to ensure that we are working together on any topical issues.

If you wish to talk at any stage, please call Angus Burnett on 01865 300202 x228 or 07775 441730.

What support will there be for my child's/young person's overall well being?

‘I believe that the school have a strong internal plethora of specialists within the school, it is also my understanding that they have strong links with CAMHS who visit the school and will begin to see children at school rather than at clinic, they also have a school nurse on site.’

Children continue to engage well in our ‘Life and Social Skills program’ – ‘You’ve Got Skills’ and value the awards achieved. These positively reinforce skill development in all aspects of the school’s work including the school council and curriculum areas through homework. Please do ask to have a look at your child’s achievements and the You’ve Got Skills Program. 

  • Our Outward-Bound experiences were very successful and enjoyed by all children. This year, for the first time, we made these experiences available to all children at a level appropriate to them with an Oxfordshire based group and a group based at Rhos-y-Gwaliau in North Wales
  • We continue with our successful partnership with Dunmore School in Abingdon. The children from Thames Class develop pen pals at the school and then attend half a day a week, joining their pen pals class. This initiative provides a valuable mainstream experience for our children.
  • We have continued to build on the work of the Mulberry Bush Outreach in supporting schools in surrounding counties in their work with children on the verge of exclusion. This work now has been extended to work with health and social care teams in Oxfordshire Hubs, as well as school teaching and leadership teams.
  • Our Peer Review system for schools working with children who have Emotional, Social and Behavioural Issues has been extended this year to include 12 schools across Oxfordshire, Hampshire, Swindon and West London.
  • We achieved Outstanding judgments in both our Care Standards Ofsted Inspection (September 2013) and our inspection focusing on the Education provision (November 2012).
  • The choir continues to be a highlight in the week for many children. This year they have sung with another choir in a harvest concert and to the elderly in a local residential home.
  • The focus we put on tracking the children’s progress using multidisciplinary input has enabled us to very effectively identify next steps of learning and tailor our interventions to support progress.
  • The warmer Shifford space outside the classrooms has been decorated and the flooring will be changed this year to further soften the environment.
  • Our residential family weekends and afternoons for foster carers have continued to be well received. This year we are piloting a blog for foster carers of children placed at the school to use, at their request. (please ask our Therapies and Networks Team for details)
  • We are in our fifth year of a 7-year Research/Outcomes project in conjunction with the Institute of Education in London looking at the effectiveness of the work of the School.
  • We have two staff members now studying for Doctorates. Both studies should provide valuable information about how the Mulberry Bush can continue to improve its practice and so outcomes for those with whom it works.
What specialist services and expertise are avaliable at or accessed by the setting/school/college?

The Mulberry Bush School provides individualised care, treatment and education plans, overseen, in each case, by a multidisciplinary treatment team of highly trained professional staff, including a therapist.

The service comprises of group living in residential households, National Curriculum education, group and individual drama and music therapy, individual psychotherapy, group work, family work, VIG work, family therapy, training and consultation, as appropriate to meet identified needs. All parts of the service are located on one outstanding site.

 

What training have the staff supporting children and young people with SEND had? Are any being trained currently?

Our staff are among the most highly trained in the sector and we pride ourselves on excellent training and support for them. We strongly believe that if we do not look after our staff well, we cannot expect them to feel able to look after the children well. Staff are well supported through supervision, performance support, training and reflective practice sessions.

All front-line staff are trained to a level 5 Foundation Degree level which integrates the organisation’s theoretical understanding of the work.

The work of our Therapies and Networks Team is carefully integrated into the school’s provision, providing individual therapy for some of the children and working alongside staff at every level. This helps to achieve a full understanding of each child and therefore a genuinely integrated approach to managing and nurturing each child.

We have two staff members now studying for Doctorates. Both studies should provide valuable information about how the Mulberry Bush can continue to improve its practice and so outcomes for those with whom it works.

Our Special Needs Co-ordinator has responsibility to oversee the following areas of work:

  1. That learning difficulties are identified as soon as possible. We employ an Educational Psychologist who assesses all identified children and is available to look at ongoing areas of concern. We also employ a Speech and Language Therapist and an Occupational Therapist to assess identified children early in their stay and then to advise staff on strategies to help children in identified areas. The specialists also provide intensive 1:1 work with children where necessary.
  2. To provide individual and small group programmes to meet individual needs. Once a problem area has been identified the teacher plans work to help the child to address this.
  3. To provide support for teaching teams in planning for individuals. The Special Needs Co-ordinator is able to use her experience and knowledge to assist the teaching teams in their planning or for putting them in contact with others who could help.
  4. To use external professionals and agencies to work with children and support staff in their work. We have developed a range of links with local agencies that are available to support our work. These include our local GP practice, Hearing Impairment Service, Speech and Language Unit, and a specialist teacher for dyslexic children.

 

How will my child/young person be included in activities outside this classroom including school trips?

Children continue to engage well in our ‘Life and Social Skills program’ – ‘You’ve Got Skills’ and value the awards achieved. These positively reinforce skill development in all aspects of the schools work including the school council and curriculum areas through homework. Please do ask to have a look at your child’s achievements and the You’ve Got Skills Program.
Our Outward Bound experiences were very successful and enjoyed by all children. This year, for the first time, we made these experiences available to all children at a level appropriate to them with an Oxfordshire based group and a group based at Rhos-y-Gwaliau in North Wales.
We continue with our successful partnership with Dunmore School in Abingdon. The children from Thames Class develop pen pals at the school and then attend half a day a week, joining their pen pals class. This initiative provides a valuable mainstream experience for our children.

How accessible is the setting/school/college enviroment?

Access Plan

How are parents involved in the setting/school/college? How can I be involved?

We work with families to support their understanding; the difficulties they face and enable adaptation and change where appropriate.

We are committed to being flexible in tailoring our provision to meet the needs of each child and family. We are keen to think and work with you to achieve agreed goals.

We talk with the family from their first visit about the issues they face and develop an understanding of what the work will be for them in support of long term change for them all as a family.
We run regular residential family weekends. These involve working with invited families for two or three days at the school individually and in groups
We also work more intensively in sessions on a one to one basis with the family or individual family members.

This work can then be continued through the placement of their child. Our aim is to work together to create a home base which can support and enable the child to return to their community and a local school.

Parents’ and professionals views on practice and progress are sought at regular intervals.

Children’s key-workers talk with parents and carers weekly by telephone to keep them informed on their child’s daily life. The assigned Family & Network Practitioner will also talk with parents and professionals regularly to ensure that we are working together on any topical issues.

If you wish to talk at any stage, please call Angus Burnett on 01865 300202 x228
or 07775 441730.

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