Elmbank comprises of both a learning centre and children’s home which accommodates up to five young people, all of whom are female and have experienced trauma.
Trauma informed practice underpins all of our work and all staff are trained in this approach. This is a strengths-based framework grounded in an understanding of and responsiveness to the impact of trauma, that emphasises physical, psychological, and emotional safety for everyone, and that creates opportunities for survivors to rebuild a sense of control and empowerment.
The typical length of placement is between 12 to 18 months, during which time each young person follows a highly personalised and structured treatment pathway which clearly identifies key milestones enabling progress to be recognised and, importantly, celebrated.
Following the successful completion of the treatment programme young people will often step-down to one of our other settings or return to their home communities, dependent upon their personal circumstances.
Most young people are likely to be traumatised due to CSE, compounded in some cases by other traumatic experiences such as neglect, and physical and domestic violence. Traumatic experiences mean that these young people are very vulnerable, with substance abuse, self-harm, depression, violent behaviour, low self-esteem, and sleep and eating disorders often being common.
The chaos that typically characterised these young peoples’ lives before moving to Elmbank is also often reflected in disengagement from education; lack of positive activities; lack of positive friendships and support networks; and health issues ranging from sexually transmitted diseases to very unhealthy lifestyles.
Our treatment pathway
Our treatment pathway is designed to achieve two main objectives:
1. To reduce risks (e.g. deal with absconding and addiction, and prevent contact with CSE perpetrators).
2. To build the young person’s resilience (e.g. build self-confidence and positive relationships, have positive interests and engage with education).
Our ultimate aim is that the young person moves on from their experience of CSE and that the risk of CSE is eliminated or greatly reduced, such that they could have a more ‘normal’ life going forwards. To reach those aims each young person will need to achieve a series of incremental steps and to understand that they were being exploited prior to arriving at Elmbank.
We regard the recognition of CSE as an enormous breakthrough, and achieving it relies on several factors, including:
- Young people beginning to value themselves
- Comprehending ‘consent’
- Appreciating the components of healthy friendships and relationships
- Learning how to keep safe
- No longer desiring contact with perpetrators
Our learning centre
At Elmbank we don’t just provide a specialist trauma service but also high-quality education through the delivery of a truly personalised curriculum. Our onsite learning centre enjoys excellent staffing ratios with 2 full time qualified teachers supported by 3 teaching and learning assistants. We recognise that education is key to enabling young people to make the right choices in order to keep themselves safe and allowing them to maximise their life chances. Education is not just an add-on service at Elmbank but is key to everything that we seek to achieve.
The curriculum at the learning centre embraces all that is learned through school, whether in lessons or as part of informal learning within and beyond the school day. It includes not only the requirements of the National Curriculum but also the wide range of individualised activities that the learning centre provides in order to enrich the experience and learning of the young people. All students have access to a bespoke teaching and learning programme with access to nationally accredited courses, including GCSEs and vocational qualifications throughout their studies.
The learning centre has a clear focus on the personal development and wellbeing of each young person, as well as on their academic progress. Each student has access to a bespoke curriculum tailored to their developing needs as well as their aspirational goals. We utilise a wide range of teaching strategies and technology, including LEGO education, throughout the curriculum to engage students in creative thinking and bring to the fore transferable skills in education.
We support our students to grow into positive, responsible individuals who can work and co-operate with others whilst developing their knowledge and skills, so that they achieve their full potential. We encourage students’ enthusiasm for learning through high-quality teaching in an environment where their achievements and excellence are valued and celebrated.