A SPECIALIST school in Taunton offering alternative education provision to children in care, has received the gold Attachment and Trauma Sensitive School Award - the highest recognition.

Park House School proved steps have been taken to offer educational provision that is sensitive to children who have faced adversity.

The school provides specialist support to eight to 19-year-olds who have had to overcome trauma and adversity and struggle in mainstream school.

Many of the students are currently in foster care or live in children’s residential homes and have learning or behavioural issues and find mainstream school challenging.

Park House provides tailored support and does not base achievement on standardised testing, but helps each individual reach their own academic targets.

Paired with specially trained teachers and support staff, it helps ensure children in care attend school and receive an education.

Park House is part of Five Rivers Child Care, a nationwide social enterprise providing therapeutic children’s services.  

To be eligible for the gold award, Park House School had to show it met all criteria which ensures all aspects of the school reference attachment and trauma-informed practice, including the physical environment, recruitment, and people management, all forms of communication and that they are a beacon of best practice for other schools working towards attachment and trauma sensitive practice.

James Hall, head of education at Five Rivers Child Care, said: “This is such fantastic news to end the year on.

"We have invested a lot of time this year in making Park House School, and all of our Fiver Rivers’ schools, attachment and trauma-informed and are thrilled to have been awarded the gold award.”

Dr Jennifer A Nock, who is responsible for granting the ATSSA awards: “It would be impossible to communicate adequately...the breadth and richness of your practice.

"In short, Park House School is a trauma-informed and trauma-responsive organisation, which prioritises humanising systems, making them healthier, more relational and interpersonal, more integrated, more reflective, and more interconnected, not only focusing on the pupil population, but by ensuring that trauma-informed knowledge, language, values, principles, assumptions and processes are embedded deep into the culture of the organisation; and are owned and shaped by everyone who is a part, regardless of role.”