Who this service is
Formerly known as the Tavistock Mulberry Bush Day Unit, Gloucester House is a specialist unit, which provides treatment and education for up to 16 primary and early secondary aged children.
Children who attend Gloucester House have complex and long-standing health and educational needs that cannot be met by their local community services. In addition to difficulties with their education (they may have been out of school for long periods of time, been receiving only part-time education, or have attended a local learning support or pupil referral unit) they may also be carrying other specific vulnerabilities.
In many cases local child and adolescent mental health services or social services are also involved.
Why refer to this service?
Gloucester House is unique in providing a joined-up health and education service within a single setting, in line with government initiatives to bring together different services for troubled children.
We work together to support and encourage children's emotional, social, and educational development. We do this by providing a therapeutic environment which involves both paying attention to the everyday detail of a child's time here, and offering opportunities for more focused work.
The service encourages parental involvement at all stages where appropriate.
The staff at Gloucester House aim to offer children and their parents or carers a positive experience of education. Children receive full-time education in small class groups with a staffing level of two children to one adult. We also encourage children to control their behaviour, and to learn from the way attention is given to what they do and from self-reflection.
We offer a range of psychological therapies. We try to be as creative and flexible as possible in matching each child’s needs to our resources.
Gloucester House provides improved outcomes for these children with complex needs. The service acts as a stepping stone from which children can move to a more appropriate and permanent educational placement.
This specialist service is staffed by a group with contributions from child psychiatrists, teachers, teaching assistants, child psychotherapists, a social worker and an educational psychologist. Our staff work closely together in order to make the most of different team members' expertise and skills.
What we offer
The children at Gloucester House have a package which includes full-time school together with clinical treatment which may include:
- group and/or individual psychotherapy
- other therapeutic groups and activities
- parent work
- family work including family therapy
- psychiatric supervision.
The work also includes liaison and consulting to the wider professional network surrounding the child and family.
The weekly programme involves education, behaviour management, work with parents and families, therapy work and, where appropriate, medication.
All pupils follow the national curriculum and participate in maths and literacy, as well as having full access to a broad and balanced curriculum. Pupils have individual education plans, based on behaviour and social skills as well as literacy and numeracy targets. Teaching staff and the educational psychologist keep a close eye on how the children are progressing, and assess them regularly.
The unit behaviour policy is based on positive behaviour management strategies including a clear system of rules, rewards, and consequences.
Work with parents and families
Once a child is attending regularly, we have fortnightly or monthly meetings with the parents/carers. We decide with the parents/carers about whether or not to have the child and or other family members present at these meetings.
These meetings provide a chance to talk about a child’s difficulties and progress, both at home and at the unit. We also discuss how the child's progress affects, and is affected by, those close to them. They are a very important part of the work we do in the unit and help the child feel connected to the place.
There is also regular contact between parents/carers and the child's class teacher.
Gloucester House has a strong tradition of psychotherapy; children can be seen between one and three times a week, and treatment can sometimes continue even after a child has left the unit. We also provide opportunities for family therapy, group therapy, cognitive-behaviour therapy, and other creative therapies.
Some children may require medication (e.g. Ritalin for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). If, after careful consideration, we think medication is necessary we would discuss and agree it with parents/carers.
How long do children normally stay at Gloucester House?
Children leave the unit when they are ready to take the next step, and when it is clear where they are moving on. Length of stay can therefore vary - it is usually between two terms and two years.
How to refer
Please contact our administrative manager Alex Goforth on 020 7794 3353 (8.30am -5.30pm) for more information.
All children who come to the Day Unit must have funding agreed before starting. Many have a Statement of Special Educational Needs, allowing their Local Education Authority (LEA) to contribute to their funding. In other cases health and social services may share funding.