Leeds school teaching children too traumatised to attend mainstream lessons is given national award

A school that provides education for children in Leeds who have suffered adversity and trauma to the extent they can't attend mainstream learning has been given an award.

Wednesday, 26th May 2021, 12:32 pm

Fountain House, based at Beeston, has received an Attachment and Trauma Sensitive School Award (ATSSA) which is nationally recognised for schools that can prove they have taken steps to provide educational provision sensitive to children and young people, aged between seven and 18, who have faced adversity, such as children in foster care or living in children's homes.

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The school is part of Five Rivers Child Care, a nationwide social enterprise providing therapeutic children’s services and now, having received this Bronze Award, is eligible for the Silver and Gold Awards.

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Matthew Palmer, headteacher at Fountain House school in Leeds.

James Hall, head of education at Five Rivers Child Care, said: “We are thrilled that Fountain House School has been awarded an Attachment and Trauma Sensitive School Award and we are eager to continue our good work. We have no doubt that we will be achieving our gold award soon enough.

“Many children in care suffer from learning or behavioural issues and find mainstream school incredibly challenging. When this is the case, it’s unlikely that a child will enjoy, or even attend school. Fountain House provides tailored support and does not base achievement on standardised testing, but helps each child reach their own academic targets. This, paired with our specially trained teachers and support staff, helps to ensure that children in care attend school and receive an education.

“Our 1 ACE model, which is unique to Five Rivers Child Care, uses a combination of high-quality education underpinned by therapeutic support, to help children recover from neglect, abuse, trauma or family breakdown, as well as giving them an education and the skills to be able to live independently in the future.”

Fountain House opened in 2015 and is led by headteacher Matthew Palmer. It has capacity to take six pupils at any one time.

When assessing Fountain House, Dr Jennifer A Nock, who was responsible for granting the award said: "Staff are trained to a very high standard and show an excellent understanding of attachment and trauma related issues. Relationships, safeguarding, mental health and wellbeing are prioritised, with an understanding of the necessity of putting the child and his or her overall well-being and secure development at the center of education, in order for them to achieve academically.

“There is a strong focus on multi-sensory learning and play. This, combined with the emphasis on making learning fun and individual attention for each child, is an excellent recipe for helping children to become fully engaged with learning.”

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