The principal aim of the school is to support each young person to develop independence through a broad learning experience in an environment that offers warmth, security, consistency and understanding within a 24-hour curriculum. A purposeful and calm atmosphere is encouraged through the professional approach adopted by all staff. Trust and a positive rapport between the young people we support and the staff underpin the ethos of the school.
We aim to meet the spiritual, social, moral and cultural needs of everyone by promoting the following principles:
- Helping them develop their self-knowledge, self-esteem and self-confidence;
- Helping them to distinguish right from wrong and to understand rules and co-operate with others;
- Encouraging young people to accept responsibility for their behaviour, where this is possible and appropriate, given their specific needs; and to show initiative and to understand how they can contribute to community life;
- Providing young people with a broad general knowledge of citizenship in respect of public institutions and services such as the police and emergency services at a level appropriate to their understanding;
- Assisting them to acquire an appreciation of and respect for their own and other cultures, in a way that promotes tolerance and harmony between different cultural traditions.
Positive, non-aversive strategies are used to change or reduce the severity and frequency of complex and behaviours that may challenge us to meet. All behaviour is seen as satisfying a particular need, or occurring for a specific reason. We therefore make sure we understand and identify what may underlie or trigger particular behaviours; and what might be done to address such behaviours, which may challenge or trouble the young person and/or those around them.
By encouraging and reinforcing behaviour which is more positive and helpful for the young person and those around them, distress is reduced and the individual supported and enabled to engage more positively in an enjoyable and meaningful life. This can of course take time, and there are often ups and down in progress. However staff remain committed to enabling young people to maximise their potential in this and other ways. No actions that threaten the dignity of a child or young adult are either used or permitted. All staff attend training in the Hesley Enhancing Lives Programme (HELP) which emphasises empathy and proactive support.