Since 2010, a continuum of therapeutic interventions has been developed at Homewood College in response to a growing awareness that Homewood College learners have extremely complex and challenging emotional and social needs stemming from their past/present family and life experiences. These interventions are rooted in Homewood College’s philosophical approach which can be described as a “family model “approach towards children. This approach looks at each learner and his/her individual needs and tailors our responses and interventions to them. Homewood College’s approach is evolving rather than static and has developed a large number of therapeutic interventions which have emerged organically from individual needs.
Therapy meets the complex mental health needs of Homewood College learners and helps support staff in their interventions with learners which should have a therapeutic underpinning at all times. Frederique Lambrakis-Haddad, our Child and Adolescent Therapist, provides individual therapy for learners, in addition to other types of therapeutic work like peer, group and family/foster family support.
In addition to our Child and Adolescent Therapist who provides some family support in and out of school, Sarah Coulson is Homewood College’s Early-Help coordinator. Her role at Homewood College is working to improve the welfare of learners and their families who are facing multiple challenges. Through positive and assertive engagement she undertakes specific interventions with families held within a wider team in order to improve outcomes for family households, individuals and the local community.
In response to increasing concerns about lack of consistent positive role models in most of our Homewood College learners’ lives, our Child and Adolescent Therapist developed a mentoring programme which allows the learners to build an attachment and relationship with an adult staff person during school hours. Typically, a relationship between a mentor (a Teaching Assistant) and a learner is built around the principle that the mentor is providing the learner with a positive role model who is consistent and reliable. Our hope is that the learner will not only learn from the non-judgemental discussions he/she has with his mentor but will also be exposed to experiences which may broaden his/her horizons. Learners go out with their mentor once a fortnight.
In an attempt to build on social skills, a social conscience and the experience of giving to others, this befriending intervention was developed by Teaching Assistants (TAs) to develop those learners who show an ability to have empathy towards others. Befriending provides companionship for isolated people in the local community, and the chance to develop a relationship with a vulnerable person (the aged in this scheme), by visiting the person one a fortnight. The activity is on a volunteer basis and our hope is that the learner develops compassion and an appreciation to help a person who is in need.
LEARNER REVIEWS (Whole Staff Supervision)
Once every half term, the full staff team participates in an in depth, therapeutic review of 2-3 individual Homewood College learners. The discussion lasts for an hour and a half and encourages all members of teaching staff to think creatively about how to best address individual issues and to increase their therapeutic understanding of the learner and his/her circumstances.
‘KEEPING CHILDREN IN MIND’
Homewood College has developed a practice of sending individualised cards/post cards to all learners during the winter and summer.