Moore House Academy Butterstone, based in Dunkeld, offer a number of specialist day services, including therapeutic support, for children and young people aged 11 to 18 years, who require significant additional support for their emotional and learning needs.
What are the challenges our children and young people experience?
The emotional challenges that our children and young people face on a daily basis are more important than any specific diagnosis. These challenges can include:
- Social difficulties;
- Sensory issues;
- Developmental immaturity;
- Mood disorder;
- Trauma; and
- Avoidance, including school refusal.
By promoting the unique abilities of each young person, we help them work through and overcome their own personal challenges.
How do our Mission, Vision and Values support our children and young people?
The ethos we create in Moore House Academy – Butterstone provides our children and young people with a happy, friendly and stimulating learning environment where they feel safe, secure and valued. Our nurturing approach is promoted through training for all staff in Dyadic Developmental Practice (DDP) – a therapeutic approach that prioritises a child’s need to develop relationships – with its underpinning Principles of Playfulness, Acceptance, Curiosity and Empathy (PACE).
Our calm, purposeful and supportive environment is built on mutual respect, with staff who understand the importance of supporting our young people to develop resilience and to grow in confidence, in order to re-engage in their learning.
The peaceful rural environment of Butterstone House School presents a myriad of opportunities for outdoor learning and lends itself to naturally therapeutic approaches.
What are the skills of our staff team?
Our staff team have been recruited and trained to work effectively with young people who have undergone challenges in previous educational placements, often as a result of experiencing high levels of anxiety, difficulty with forming and maintaining relationships and, as a result, not being able to fulfil their potential. In recognition that the needs of our children and young people are significant and complex, our substantial in-house staff team includes a range of teaching, care and support staff. Our strategic team provide leadership and management in supporting the growth, development and quality of our services.
In addition, Moore House Academy – Butterstone has access to:
- Psychological Services and Intervention (PSI);
- Specialist consultants for attachment, trauma and resilience;
- Professional Advisors
How do we ensure we listen to the voices of our children and young people?
Our ethos promotes openness, acceptance, and mutual respect. We encourage our young people to develop trust and confidence in expressing their views. Each young person has a key teacher and dedicated key time, and can approach them informally whenever they need to. Small group settings and calm surroundings help to ease tensions and promote resilience in young people who may struggle to deal with noise and busy situations. Our staff receive training and support in listening to and counselling young people to help build their confidence and self esteem. School assemblies and celebrations of success provide a forum for interaction and to recognise achievement. Focus groups for Eco Schools and other outdoor activities such as those provided by through Duke of Edinburgh and John Muir Award schemes encourage young people to experience the natural world, develop their skills and gain achievements.
Who are our partners?
Partnership and collaboration are at the heart of what we do. The needs of our young people are better supported through joint working with other agencies and services.
We work closely with:
Local authorities who place their young people with us and which have invested their trust in us as providers of care and education for their most vulnerable children. We ensure the progress of each young person’s learning, health and wellbeing needs are tracked and reported to them on a regular basis.
Parents and carers of our children and young people are key partners in their children’s learning. They provide us with the most valuable insight into their children and help us understand their anxieties and fears, their strengths and interests, their likes and dislikes. Regular review meetings and parents evenings provide the opportunity for parents and carers to be updated on their child’s progress. Informal contact is encouraged.
Health colleagues including mental health and wellbeing practitioners who provide us with essential specialist advice, particularly in respect of the emotional wellbeing of our young people.
Social services who provide support, such as respite care, for some of our children and families.
Local community services such as leisure services, community learning and development and specialist support groups who provide our young people with wider opportunities.
Skills Development Scotland Who engage with young people at an appropriate stage in their academic life and provide support through their transition into employment, training or further/higher education.
What is our curriculum?
Moore House Academy – Butterstone works within Scotland’s Curriculum for Excellence (CfE), developing young people to become:
- successful learners;
- confident individuals;
- responsible citizens;
- effective contributors.
Our young people engage in Broad General Education from Secondary 1 until the end of Secondary 3, when they transition to the Senior Phase. We ensure full entitlement within the BGE curriculum across all eight curriculum areas:
- Languages (and literacy)
- Mathematics (and numeracy)
- Expressive arts
- Health and wellbeing
- Social subjects
- Religious and moral education
Each young person is carefully assessed on entry to the school so that we can personalise our learning pathways to meet their individual needs. The young people at the BGE stage engage in Interdisciplinary Learning, which allows them to focus on a topic of interest while reinforcing knowledge and skills across several curricular areas. Wider achievement is promoted through participating in the John Muir, Duke of Edinburgh and Personal Development Awards. Ongoing monitoring and assessment ensures that each young person’s curriculum remains appropriate to their needs offering appropriate pace and challenge to broaden the scope of their development.
Our Senior Phase (S4 to S6) offers flexibility. We have high aspirations for its young people and offer SQA accreditation to Higher level across many curriculum areas. The needs of many of our young people require us to provide a range of courses and programmes. These include SQA National 1 to 5, as well as opportunities for wider achievement. At the Senior Phase there is a focus on preparation beyond school and on further development of Skills for Learning, Life and Work. SQA programmes such as Enterprise, Rural Skills, Digital Skills and Personal Achievement help to develop our young workforce and prepare them for a positive destination in future education, training or work. Curricular and personalised planning ensures the school sets sufficiently challenging learning targets that can be assessed, monitored and tracked so that progress can be reported regularly and accurately.
How do we safeguard our children and young people?
Since all our young people are vulnerable, we have a strong focus on health and wellbeing. We take full account of the GIRFEC wellbeing indicators and track each young people’s wellbeing in line with these. All staff have good information about the mental wellbeing and/or levels of anxiety or fear of each young person and are clear about support strategies. One of our Principal Teacher has the overview of pastoral care and provides advice and guidance to all staff on a regular basis. All staff receive training in safeguarding and child protection and updates as necessary. The Senior Manager, Education is the designated Child Protection Officer. Robust assessments are carried out to identify levels of risk for each young person and appropriate risk management strategies are implemented and followed.