Our service is child focused and intent on delivering the highest quality of standards in an environment that is stimulating, nurturing and homely. We aim to ensure that every young person fulfils their potential.
Below is a selection of case studies about the young people who live in our children’s homes to give you a better insight into the residential care we provide at Priory Education and Children’s Services.
“Before Rachel* started, we spent a long time asking questions about how things would work with her living in care. It was such a massive decision for us! We were never made to feel silly, even though we asked questions about everything and anything.
We were really positive about Rachel moving in and felt reassured that things were well-organised and her best interests were always at the centre of the staff's concerns. The first time Rachel visited, what stood out was the attention to detail.
The staff had bought lots of lovely things for her to personalise her room and make it similar to her bedroom at home. Having soft toys and soft fabrics was important as Rachel has huge sensory issues.
When she first saw her new bedroom, it wasn't a sparse, characterless room but instead had lots of lovely warm, soft things that she was immediately drawn to. The staff picked up on her liking for arts and crafts so had provided storage boxes that she could decorate and photo frames for her to take home and bring back to fill with pictures of her family. They helped Rachel feel at home straight away by having things both in her room and downstairs – for example her taggie snuggle blanket that she likes to watch TV with is always down on the sofa - just like at home!
I was so touched when, one night soon into her placement, I received a call at about 8.30pm. My heart stopped as I assumed she was crying and upset at bedtime - but it was nothing bad - they just wanted me to know her baby tooth had come out (it was wobbly already) and to check the 'tooth fairy procedure' in our house! They were very sweet, putting the £1 under her pillow like we do at home then discreetly giving me the tooth when I collected her. It's the personal touches like that, which make me feel that Rachel is being loved and cared for as an individual.
I feel Rachel is very safe but not over protected. She is allowed to climb trees and to help with cooking. They let her take normal 'healthy risks'. I feel really confident that they are watching her closely, but at the same time they are not smothering her. Rachel is allowed to be a child. It is obvious there are clear protocols in place but there’s no 'health and safety gone mad' feel – it’s all very natural and home-like.
I also like that the staff are honest with me and don’t try to hide things. They told me when she had got upset and explained exactly how they had comforted and calmed her down. We are really happy that Rachel is being well cared for and that she is happy. I asked her to tell me about living at the home and what the staff are like and in her own words she said ‘They don't shout at you. They are really kind and fun. They let you watch a movie and play outside. They look after you if you're sad and they help you if you find something hard.’
It was the hardest decision of our lives 'letting her go', but we really do feel that staff have her best interests at heart and that we will work together to help Rachel to grow and develop.” (Rachel’s Mother)
Priory Education and Children’s Services first came into contact with Sarah* when she was a 13-year old schoolgirl. She had been removed from her local area due to her behaviours, staying out all night, not attending school and receiving ‘presents’ – i.e. mobile phones and clothes from an ‘older boyfriend’. Her family believed she was going ‘off the rails’ and there were significant concerns regarding her involvement in sexual exploitation.
At first, Sarah was reluctant to open up to staff members, however, as her relationships developed, she began to feel safe and disclosed details regarding her relationship with her ‘boyfriend’ and his ‘mates’. Information was recorded and reported to the appropriate authorities whilst staff members continued to support Sarah and reassure her that she was safe and cared for. She was helped to recognise herself as a victim of a crime, not to blame for the things that had happened to her.
Particular work was undertaken with her to increase her awareness of child sexual exploitation, healthy relationships and staying safe. Activities were undertaken to promote her self-esteem.
As Sarah began to disclose the trauma of what she had suffered it became clear and it was evident that she had been groomed and exploited by a number of men. Once she had told her story, the staff supported her in making statements to the police, undergoing medicals as well as supporting her through the subsequent criminal prosecution, which was successful.
Telling her story was a big ordeal for her but having the courage and support was a turning point in her life. Since being enabled to face her ordeal and being supported to develop her self-esteem she was able to focus on her future and particularly her education and her GCSEs. After passing these she went on to further education and subsequently moved on from Priory Education and Children’s Services after her transition into independence was supported.
She chose to remain in the area local to her former Priory Education and Children’s Services home and Sarah regularly keeps in touch with staff members she was able to form strong and lasting attachments with. She continues in her studies and goes from strength to strength.
*Names have been changed to maintain confidentiality.