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Mulberry Bush School

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
E-mail
aburnett@mulberrybush.org.uk
Website
www.mulberrybush.org.uk

Where to go

Name
Mulberry Bush School
Address
Standlake
Witney
Oxford
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

Availability

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

Other notes

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)

Local Offer

Description

1.How will the school /college know if I need extra help?

‘Staff will know we need extra help as they keep an eye on incidents and talk to us if they feel things are going badly.’  School council members’

As well as creating and maintaining an open culture which provides plenty of formal and informal opportunities for children to talk about any problems and anxieties that they may be having, the school has developed or adopted tools to help identify the help that each individual child needs.

Although some of these tools help identify deficits and patterns of negative behaviour, the main focus is on identifying how to help children progress and feel successful.  The Head of Group Living has a schedule for analysing different aspects of behaviour and feeds the positive and negatives back to staff teams to be acted on.

Similarly, academic progress is constantly under review so that we can intervene and support quickly to ensure that children do not fall back in progress and begin to lose belief in their abilities.

2. What should I do if I think I need extra help?

‘We should speak to grown-ups or our key-workers’ School Council members

The staff at the school promote a culture of open communication and provide a lot of formal and informal opportunities for children to discuss problems, feelings and anxieties.  Most children have time with therapists which allows them to explore more personal feelings that may be difficult to discuss with others.

There is a robust complaints system for children to use.  Children are also able to use the School Council to raise collective problems if they arise.

We also use Coram Voice to provide a visiting advocate who spends time with children to listen and take up issues on the children’s behalf.  This is also supplemented by the installation of a free and direct dial phone in each house which connects with Coram Voice.

The Childline telephone number is also prominently displayed in one of the main areas of each house.

3. If I have difficulty taking part in school/college activities what different arrangements can be made for me?

The aim and expectations of the school are that children will take part in classes and learning.  If children are struggling, we aim to help them recognise and understand what it is that is causing them to struggle so that we (staff and child) can work together to find a solution in order that they can get back into class and continue with their learning. 

We recognise that, periodically, some of the children that get referred to us need a reduced timetable with opportunities to learn in different ways than a classroom setting and we will adapt the curriculum to meet that need but keep the process under constant review in order to not undermine the child’s prospects of academic progress.

As we are a provision for primary aged children, we do not offer vocational alternatives to education.

4. How will I participate in planning my targets?

‘We get asked to assess ourselves in meetings and community (House) meetings.  We help decide what our next set of targets should be and discuss them’

Children’s targets are regularly reviewed with them and achievements recognised.  The school has developed a format (the ESAPP) for identifying and recognising progress by breaking areas such as ‘Being Healthy’ and others down into 132 small, achievable steps.  This makes progress attainable and allows children to select realistic targets for themselves and to know when they have managed to reach them

5. How does the school/college know how well I’m doing?

The school uses Academic APPs and our own Emotional & Social APPs to measure children’s development in these respective areas.  We also track children’s academic progress using standardised scoring.

6. Who will help me to be more independent in school?

‘The teachers and key-workers’ School Council members

7. Who will help me to be more independent in my community?

School staff work closely with parents and/or foster carers as well as Local Authority professionals to make sure that children develop social skills and acquire other practical skills to enable them to navigate everyday situations.  These range from practical mathematic skills so that they can plan how to spend their money and feel confident handling interactions in shops to sustaining friendships and getting the balance of trust appropriate when meeting new people.

This is achieved by their learning in both the classroom and from the people they live with as well as opportunities to join groups that interest them and they wish to develop skills in e.g. football clubs, scouts, guides.  Children in their third stage of education with us will also spend half a day each week being supported in a local primary school in order to develop new friendships and confidence.

8. How will my parents/carers be supported to encourage me to be more independent?

‘Family workers will visit our parents and talk to them about what we are doing well and about any difficulties.  They also help our parents think about different ways of managing things at home.’

Our Therapies and Networks Team work closely with parents and carers to ensure that there is a close working partnership.  This helps the child to feel helped by experiencing a consistent approach but one that is not so identical that it undermines the everyday experiences of family life.

The team can also help families identify changes that they may need to make as a group in order stop problems reoccurring.  This also removes some of the burden on the child and gives them hope that things can be different and that everyone is committed to working on problems.

9. Who should I speak to if I’m worried about something?

‘Key-workers but any adult’ School Council members

The staff at the school promote a culture of open communication and provide a lot of formal and informal opportunities for children to discuss problems, feelings and anxieties.  Most children have time with therapists which allows them to explore more personal feelings that may be difficult to discuss with others.

There is a robust complaints system for children to use.  Children are also able to use the School Council to raise collective problems if they arise.

We also use Coram Voice to provide a visiting advocate who spends time with children to listen and take up issues on the children’s behalf.  This is also supplemented by the installation of a free and direct dial phone in each house which connects with Coram Voice.

The Childline telephone number is also prominently displayed in one of the main areas of each house.

10. How do school/college staff get extra help from other experts?

‘Not sure’

The school actually has good links with local CAMHS teams, local Safeguarding teams as well as local and national organisations.  We also work in partnership with professionals from the referring Local Authority to ensure that there is good dialogue and a network of experts around each child placed with us.

 

Contact Name
Angus Burnett
Contact Telephone
Referrals and Partnerships Manager
Contact Email
aburnett@mulberrybush.org.uk
Links
SEND Information Report
Local Offer Age Bands
Young Adults (16 to 25)
Primary (5 to 11)
Secondary (11 to 16)
Needs Level
High
Low
Medium
SEN Provision Type
Specialist
Universal
Targeted