Residential schools are supporting children with increasingly complex needs and it is vital staff teams are equipped to work positively and effectively to help young people achieve positive outcomes and the best possible quality of life. Jake Shelton, Head of Care at Wings School Nottingham, explains what the school is doing to ensure staff are able to do so.
“We embrace a range of training here to make sure we are ahead of what needs young people may come to us with, so that we can begin supporting them for their own individual needs from the day they join the school.
“For example, we have all undertaken training and workshops in how to support a young person who identifies as a different gender which helps us ensure we are using the right interactions and language and therefore able to provide the best possible support. We also work with specialist training agencies to enhance our skills to meet the changing needs of young people.
“It is about staff being best equipped to work positively with not just the young person affected but to also support the other young people at the school, informing their language and interactions. It helps our team be more confident in supporting a young person and to understand more how they are feeling as well as helping the young person articulate how they are feeling.
“It can also help us in supporting families and their responses to a child identifying as a different gender to that they were born to, or who identifies as no gender at all for example. We can help signpost to help.
“This sits alongside a range of other training we have undertaken as a team including self-harm training. This helps us understand the signs and potential triggers and helps us work with children for whom this is an issue. It helps the team understand risks and to manage those positively and confidently.
“Additionally, we have covered restorative justice training and bullying and we are about to undertake mental health first aid training. We have also all taken Prevent Duty training which helps staff working with young people recognise radicalization and what to do if it is an issue.
“The aim of undertaking this training is to ensure we are prepared for as many eventualities as possible and so we can be trained in advance, allowing us to hit the ground running when a young person joins us.
“That in turn allows us to provide robust and appropriate support from day one, giving staff confidence that they can meet a child’s needs even if they are complex and to empower them to help children address their challenges, whatever they might be.
“We are always aiming to increase our expertise and knowledge base for the benefit of the young people we support.”