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Following the accreditation of three of our schools with the Bronze award earlier in 2021, We are delighted to announce that Fountain House School, Park House School and The Spires School have received the Silver Attachment and Trauma Sensitive School Award (ATSSA)!

ATSSA, a nationally recognised award, acknowledges the commitment schools have made to building a culture of attachment and trauma-sensitivity. To be eligible for the award, schools must prove that they have taken steps to provide education which is sensitive to children who have faced adversity, such as looked after children.

All three schools provide education to children within the Five Rivers Residential Service. The Spires also accepts day pupils, and Park House School offers our alternative education provision, 1 ACE: A school without walls. Many of the children within the schools will have experienced Adverse Childhood Experiences, such as trauma, abuse, and neglect.

James Hall, Head of Education, said: “We are delighted that Fountain House, Park House and The Spires have been awarded the Silver Attachment and Trauma-Informed School Award. The award highlights our continuing commitment to supporting and enabling children to recover from the impacts of adversity. Our approach is underpinned by Five Rivers’ latest research into the impacts of trauma, which is undertaken as part of our social enterprise reinvestment”

“We understand that many children who have faced adversity suffer from learning or behavioural difficulties; our schools don’t base achievement on standardised testing. Instead, we pride ourselves on offering bespoke, individualised support which empowers children to reach their own academic targets. Our specialist teaching and support staff work closely with the children to ensure that they are supported and enabled to reach their goals, receiving a good education in a sensitive way.”

After successfully achieving the bronze and silver award, our trauma-informed schools are now planning and preparing for the gold accreditation.

The following feedback was given by Dr Jennifer A. Nock, who is responsible for granting the ATSSA Awards:

Fountain House School

“Practice at Fountain House enriches experiences and feelings, and creates opportunities for agency, mastery, choice and voice. Children’s voices are elicited through a range of practices; they are heard and responded to.”

Park House School

“The personalised, individual approach to all pupils is evidenced through numerous practices, including induction and information gathering, ongoing formal and informal assessment and observation, transition planning and reflective dialogue and practice. Knowledge of each pupil’s needs across the developmental spectrum underpins relationships, interactions and planning, and you, along with other members of staff, provided particularly powerful evidence of this.”

The Spires School

“Eliciting pupil voice at The Spires is not limited to formal methods, such as Pupil Council, although formal methods are used well. Every opportunity is taken to have meaningful encounters, which can take place at any time: in the playground; having lunch; in the classroom; on transport, as well as in formal sessions. At The Spires, there is an authentic and passionate desire to truly ‘hear’ and ‘see’ children and young people. Staff are authentically curious about what matters to the pupils. This is a particular strength of the school.”

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