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Vision Statement

We aim to be the best in class in every area in which we operate

The vision for Our Place is to:

  • Give the children and young people a home in which they feel cherished and secure, happy and safe, clean and healthy, fulfilled and content

  • Give the children and young people a person centred and seamless approach to education, therapy and care

  • Provide children and young people with special needs with an individually tailored, flexible, needs led service which is responsive to change and that promotes an ordinary home environment.

  • Provide a first class short breaks service for children, young people and their carers

Our Place provides its children and young people with a first class home and first class care, combined with a first class, relevant and fulfilling education.

Small is Beautiful

We intend to keep the home and school small, to allow for greater flexibility for the children and young people whilst achieving consistency of approach and communication. We believe, and research evidence is now supporting, that children and young people with learning disabilities flourish better in small, family type homes.

Teaching Methods

Staff Ratio

Staffing will be on a ratio of 1 young person to 1.5 staff or higher dependent upon the activity. Methods used include Free Flow, interactive learning programmes, Intensive Interaction, Sensory Integration, Social Skills Training, PECs, Total Communication, Makaton, TEEACH as well as more traditional methods.

Gentle Teaching Style

Gentle Teaching often starts in one-to-one contact between the child and one of their teachers, teaching assistants or support workers. It is important that the child learns eventually to feel safe with the other children he/she lives or works with.
Learning for our children is a waking activity. The tools of gentle teaching are always carried with us. They are our hands and touch, eyes and gaze, speech and words and staff presence. We develop new values which are congruent with the principles of the psychology of interdependence. A child isn't to be judged for what he/she does, but valued for who he/she is. Everybody needs to feel safe, cherished for themselves with an understanding of how they are connected to others. We believe trust is more important than obedience; interdependence is more important than independence.8

Celebrating Achievement

At Our Place pupils are taught to recognise and reflect on their own progress and achievements and to help plan the next 'step' in their learning. Staff use a combination of praise, encouragement and positive reinforcement to instil a sense of pride and self-worth and to actively promote motivation for learning. Pupils' achievements are recognised by all and publicly acknowledged with frequent opportunities to celebrate success. Incentive/reward schemes are used as appropriate to individual pupils.

Curriculum Policy

All pupils at Our Place are offered choices and opportunities within the context of a relevant and fulfilling education. We constantly strive to make learning accessible, meaningful and transferable to all aspects of our pupils' lives, enabling them to help shape their own futures and achieve their full potential. It is our philosophy that we teach the way each young person learns. All young people at 16 years take a QCF qualification in Personal and social Development/Life Skills, selecting units which will enable them to develop independence skills relevant to their adult lives.
At Our Place, we are fully aware that learning is an on-going process and that good education is not confined to the classroom. We believe in the development of the "hidden" curriculum; at all times and in a variety of situations, staff promote and foster the development of trust, co-operation, self-esteem, confidence and motivation through our fully integrated approach to education and care.

The School Year

The school year runs with a four week summer break, extending the autumn and summer half term breaks to two weeks each. The intention is to facilitate family holidays whilst shortening the terms to more acceptable levels for children and young people with learning disabilities.
However, the breaks still have a consistent structure and activities for the children and young people to enjoy.
All family birthdays are recognised so that the children and young people keep up to date with their family. We also make sure that the children and young people have a birthday celebration that suits their personal preferences, for example, a meal out and the swimming pool or a party and disco.

Leaving Education

Children with Statements of Educational Need/Education Health care Plans are entitled to remain in full time education until the end of the school year in which they are 19. The decision as to when it is most appropriate for a child or young person to leave is made through the review process. Children may also leave when their need for the intensive support offered by Our Place is no longer required. Transition planning starts in the academic year in which a child or young person is fourteen (usually Year 9). At this time, social services departments become involved in identifying the type of provision the young person will require. Adult Services become responsible following the 18th birthday of the child.

Individual Care and Support

Individual Care

It is the stated aim of Our Place to provide individual care for all of our children and young people. This is implemented through:

  • Continuous assessment and developmental planning, taking all needs into account and used to assist learning

  • A designated Key Worker who will have been chosen for that position taking into account the child or young person’s preferences alongside the employees skills and suitability

  • Individual Care Plans identifying the child or young person’s needs. These are then implemented and monitored by the Key Worker with support from the child or young person’s teacher, and in consultation with all involved professionals

  • Diet and nutritional needs monitored by the Cook

  • Recording the child or young person’s daily intake in their daily diary so as to assist in the planning of meals to allow children to have a good choice of food

  • Taking children’s views, preferences and consent fully into account in carrying out personal care including the timing and preference of staff to assist with particular tasks. The child or young person’s dignity and privacy are to be maintained at all times

  • Keeping each child or young person’s daily diary. This document is used to keep records of all the activities that the child or young person does during the day, their diet, their moods and level of cooperation to help assist with analysing situations and informing staff as to the child or young person’s preferences.

  • Keeping an individual permanent file in a safe place. This holds all relevant information and is maintained by the Key Worker.

  • Having the Key Worker review the daily diary, permanent file and Care Plan at least monthly by the Key Worker to ensure that they hold current information. Out of date information is transferred to the child or young person’s confidential file and stored in a locked storage area. The permanent files and Care Plans are reviewed quarterly as part of the quality assurance system.

Our Place provides its children and young people with a first class home and first class care, combined with a first class, relevant and fulfilling education.

Advocacy and Self Expression

This policy will guide staff in the provision of an environment in which there are fair and equitable services and opportunities for all those cared for within the home. As the children live in a group home it is even more important that their individual needs are recognised. Staff will support the children to make their desires and requests known. This will be done through a variety of methods from teaching basic communication skills – like/don’t like, yes/no, good/not good – provision of a Key Worker for each of our children through to the provision of an external advocate service.

Developing new relationships

Our Place sees no impediment to children developing new relationships and in fact this shows a developing maturity and emotional progress. However, the emotional vulnerability of those involved will be taken into account and if it is considered by all parties - professionals and parents - that one or other of the parties are likely to suffer serious personal harm, efforts will be made to distract and deter the relationship from developing any further.

Self Expression

Our Place encourages self expression and to support this provides the following:

  • Access to computers with web cams, email, internet with nanny service, letters, phone calls and photos or videos to their parents subject to written parental authority

  • Careful induction planning and preparation e.g. visits, sleepovers, personalised information packs

  • Access to on-site qualified staff and external therapists including Mental Health nurse, psychologist, psychiatrist, speech and language therapist, occupational therapist, music, art, dance, drama therapy and other health or psychiatric services as required as well as local NHS services.

Our Place provides its children and young people with a first class home and first class care, combined with a first class, relevant and fulfilling education.


In every area of their experience during their stay at Our Place, our young people are treated as individuals, with individual needs and preferences. Both in care and education, we work on the positives of a young person’s character and help them to develop skills and development. From the top down, everything we do, plan and develop in the school is primarily aimed at providing positive outcomes for our young people. Although every aspect and activity is part of a structured programme, we have staff who will go the extra mile to support and encourage the young people in their care – and they show true joy in seeing positive progress and achievement.
Our success stories are testament to the approach of Our Place and the attitude its fine staff.



The home and school is run by a Senior Management Team (SMT) of Head of Facilities (Responsible Person), Head of Care (Registered Manager), Head of Education, Head of Business & Administration and Care Managers.
A senior manager is on call 24 hours a day.
In the home a Duty Manager leads each team of support workers.
There are three teams who work a shift rota. The support workers provide additional support to the children in school. Each team will have a mix of male and female staff and age ranges above the minimum 21 years. The school employs qualified teachers with experience in the field of Severe Learning Disabilities and challenging behaviours. Each class will be taught and supported by one teacher, one teaching assistant and support workers to bring in a ratio of one child or young person to one and a half staff. Members of the care and education staff are supported by ancillary staff including an experienced and qualified maintenance team, landscaping team, catering team and administration team.
We hold a single central register listing all staff qualifications and safeguarding information, this is only open to examination by those who have a legal right to do so.


A large proportion of the staff team have had prior training up to NVQ3 in Caring for Children or equivalent or higher qualifications, those that don’t hold the minimum qualification (NVQ 3) prior to starting will undertake training for the Level 3 Children and Young People’s Workforce Diploma or Advanced Apprenticeship in Children’s Care and Learning Development soon after completion of their probationary period.
Many of the staff will have previous experience in the field of Severe Learning Disabilities and challenging behaviour and will have additional qualifications such as B.A (Hons) degrees in other areas such as Drama, Art and Music education

Senior Staff

David French - Executive Director

David French has held a number of senior management posts and is experienced in start ups, MBOs, IPOs, acquisitions, disposals and turn arounds. He was appointed Investor Director in March 2013 and is responsible for operations and business development. In addition to his operational role, he is a member of the Board of Governors.

Lena Greatwich - Director

Lena has a great deal of experience in the sector. She holds qualifications in counselling skills, NVQ 4 Health and Social Care - Children & Young People as well as the NVQ4 in Leadership and management in Care – Children & Young People. She has previously been a Support Worker and Team Leader within a residential home for young adults and children. She went onto become the manager of a small home unit.

Sarah Davies - Head of Care - Registered Manager

Sarah has 18 years’ experience working in residential special education and 7 years in senior management, where she has achieved Outstanding Quality of Care. She has worked with young people with MLD, SLD, ASC and EBD, and has introduced communication methods such as PECs and Makaton and therapeutic interventions. She has also worked successfully with issues relating to substance misuse.

Sarah has previously held the position of Independent Complaints Advisor for a local authority in the children’s and family team and has been an independent Regulation 33 visitor for two services. She holds an Advanced Diploma in Health & Social Care Level 3, a Diploma in Health & Social Care Level 4 and a Diploma in Leadership and Management Level 4.

Lauren Tallis - Acting Head of Education

Sandra Jones - Head of Procurement

Sandra has 25 years experience working in accounts as Office Manager. She has been a Director of J&CM Brook Limited for 15 years prior to working at Our Place. Sandra holds responsibility for managing the financial department of Our Place. Sandra has an insight into children with Autism through personal experience

The Our Place Schools Ltd Board of serving Governors are as follows:

  • David French (Chair)

  • Lena Graham

  • Sarah Davies

  • Sandra Jones

Total Communication Policy

Our Total Communication approach is used to develop the functional communication of children attending Our Place. This means that we encourage the use of all appropriate means of communication including verbal skills, signing, body language, written text, picture symbols and other low tech and hi tech methods.
Total communication means that we encourage the use of all appropriate means of communication:

  • Verbal skills including speaking and listening

  • Signing including gesture and body language

  • Written text

  • Picture symbols accompanied by written word(s)

  • Photographs

  • Objects of reference

  • High Tec. communication aids (such as the Go Talk range)

  • Low Tec. Aids e.g. symbolic/pictorial representation