Every Child Matters
The purpose of Swanwick Lodge is to provide a safe and secure child centred environment in which children can begin to address the issues that have led to the loss of their liberty. Licensed since July 1997, Swanwick Lodge is a Local Authority Children’s Home where every child matters. The work at Swanwick is underpinned by the shared belief that all children are capable of change, to engage and achieve, leading them to make more positive choices about their lives in the future.
We recognise that all children have individual needs and each child placed in our care has a bespoke Placement Plan, the reference point for all activity and intervention, based on the 5 tenets of Every Child Matters.
The key aim is to ensure the safety and security of children at Swanwick Lodge by providing a purpose built safe and secure child centred environment within which children can begin to address the issues that have led to the loss of their liberty.
Our key aim is to ensure the safety and security of children at Swanwick Lodge. As all our children are subject to detention as a result of a court order, we are legally obliged to ensure their security and restriction of liberty. We recognise that every child has the right to live free from discrimination and bullying but that cannot be achieved without active interventions and preventative measures.
Children are subject to ongoing risk assessments at the point of admission. These risk assessments are regularly updated, taking account of behaviour changes and emotional responses.
Swanwick Lodge is part of Hampshire Children’s Services and is fully committed to the principles and procedures as laid down by the Local Safeguarding Children’s Board. These procedures are adhered to rigorously.
Children at Swanwick Lodge are kept safe through high levels of supervision, comprehensive and constantly updated risk assessments from the admissions process through to their release. These risk assessments are regularly updated, taking account of behaviour changes and emotional responses. Any breach or attempted breach of the security is dealt with in a manner that ensures the ongoing safety and security of the child and other children placed at Swanwick Lodge. In the event of a child absconding, agreed procedures are followed.
As previously mentioned, all staff employed at Swanwick Lodge are recruited through Hampshire’s Recruitment and Selection Procedures, and are in accordance with Protection of Children Act 1999 and the Disqualification for Caring for Children Regulations 2002. All staff receive appropriate training and supervision in relation to child protection issues and procedures.
All placing authorities are required to provide an initial contact point and procedural details regarding their own child protection procedures. The placement reviewing procedures within Swanwick Lodge ensures regular monitoring of each child’s welfare and takes account of how their placement influences or is affected by other children.
Independent Visitors recruited through Action for Children, an Advocacy Project, offer children an independent contact person whilst at Swanwick Lodge. They visit weekly to meet with the children and can be allocated to individual children or act as an ‘advocate’ for individuals or group of children (e.g. in Young People’s Meetings)
Troubled children and children in trouble need the very best facilities in custody and it is critical that they should be happy and healthy, safe and sound, well educated and helped to live fulfilling law abiding lives. Good facilities, consistent care and access to education, therapy and good healthcare are necessary to achieve these objectives and prepare children and young people to return to their communities. The key aim is to ensure the safety and security of children at Swanwick Lodge and as our children are subject to detention as a result of a court order, we are legally obliged to ensure their security and restriction of liberty. In addition, Swanwick Lodge is committed to reporting child protection incidents (and other reportable incidents), to Ofsted and the youth justice board, as required by regulation.
Swanwick Lodge’s unique and discreet design, location, good living, sporting and educational facilities and competent care, education, health and psychological professionals provides a good foundation for troubled children. Opened in 1996, Swanwick Lodge was purpose built on the site of an existing children’s residential complex. Its innovative design incorporated some of the existing building including a large gymnasium, extensive kitchen and some administrative areas. Security was achieved in the design of the building and the unit benefits from discreetness, as it is devoid of unsightly perimeter walls or security fencing.
Externally, building security is maintained using CCTV, situated on the building walls. There are no high walls or visible fencing as Swanwick Lodge wishes to maintain a discrete, friendly presentation to children, their families, visitors and our neighbours. Internal CCTV monitors movement in the public areas (CCTV recording of living and education areas is only available to senior management) and we have recently introduced a biometric facility for the safe storage and distribution of keys as part of our ongoing security programme.
All fire precautions are compliant with the standards as laid down by Hampshire County Council (Children’s Services Health and Safety Guidelines). Our policies and procedures relating to health and safety are checked by the Children’s Services Health and Safety Inspector. In addition, all staff and children are made aware of the fire procedures and checks and drills are made on a regular basis and recorded in the appropriate manuals.
Be At Swanwick Lodge we define health as physical, mental and emotional well-being. By observing the child holistically, we offer a range of assessments and interventions thus promoting a healthier lifestyle and positive lifestyle choices.
The physical, emotional and health needs of each young person are promoted throughout the young person’s placement at Swanwick Lodge. Each child is ‘reviewed’ holistically and a range of assessments and interventions promoting a healthy lifestyle and positive life style choices will be made.
Every child and young person entering our care will have an admission medical within one working day which is undertaken by the local GP (the child/young person can state a preference in respect of the gender of the doctor). The GP is supported by our nurse and all health checks are completed with the child or young person and are in consultation with their parents/carers. They are undertaken to assess individual needs and ensure that we are aware of any ongoing health care needs and allergies, thus enabling us to incorporate treatments into their individual placement plans. All young people are provided with advice, guidance, support and access to the relevant health care professionals, pertinent to their specific need, or on a more general and personal level using the services of our on-site nurse. Every child has an individual health care plan as part of the overall placement plan and where appropriate, arrangements exist for a child to attend specialist medical diagnosis and treatment that are unavailable on site. The children and young people are also offered routine health checks as well as those for hearing, vision and dental health,
Healthy eating is encouraged through a well-balanced choice of meals and a wide range of physical health and fitness programmes are available thus ensuring a good balance between nutrition and exercise. A programme of leisure pursuits is available evenings, weekends and throughout the school holidays
Within 5 working days of admission, the children and young people are also assessed for substance misuse by the PRISM network7, with their individual placement plan clearly identifying any interventions required. If clinical intervention is required, then that will be undertaken by 8Catch 22.
Through the substance misuse plan, overseen by the substance misuse worker, we are able to offer a variety of related interventions for Substance misuse, Smoking cessation, Alcohol misuse and Harm minimisation. The main approach that we take to substance misuse, at Swanwick Lodge, involves the use of workshops which use the medium of drama as a learning experience. As with all aspects of the health service at Swanwick, the delivery of the substance misuse programme offers a multi agency approach to allow the children and young people to have access to the best levels of care in this area. The SMUworker will ensure the onward referral of the child or young person, to the drug intervention services of their responsible authority and we see their role as vital in building on the positive changes in attitude achieved, while at Swanwick Lodge.
The Swanwick Lodge Nurse ensures that all the components of a young person’s health and well being are combined in a specific health care plan, for which she has responsibility and that on discharge the relevant information follows the young person. This includes any mental health intervention identified through the UAT Psychological Therapy team, including medication.
7Hampshire County Council’s (HCC) PRISM service undertakes the initial drug & substance assessment with all young people within 5 days of being admitted to Swanwick. They also undertake 1 to 1 follow on work as required.
8Catch 22 is HCC’s clinical intervention service, commissioned by Hampshire DAAT
Enjoy and achieve
We ensure that children receive a varied, stimulating and engaging learning experience within the national curriculum, the Youth Justice Board’s Learning Journey and through a wide variety of recreational activities and special events.
At Swanwick Lodge, we provide an education curriculum, timetabled from 9.00 to 15.45, providing opportunities for each young person to experience a range of subjects and activities. We follow the National Curriculum as far as possible, differentiated to meet the needs of the individual, as indicated by their sentence or remand plan and their educational assessment. Within the curriculum, we emphasise literacy, numeracy, creativity, citizenship and offending behaviour and work-related learning. We have a highly qualified and experienced staff team, motivating young people to experience a period of enjoyable and successful education and empowering them to aspire to further education and training.
We are well-equipped with networked computer facilities in the main teaching rooms, specialist technology facilities, a library and a multi-skills vocational area.
Our young people are all of school age and our primary target is to return them to mainstream education equipped to reintegrate into their educational setting at an age-appropriate point. At the same time, we recognise that many of our young people lack the skills and base knowledge of a typical teenager and that they require support and encouragement to acquire those skills and knowledge. As soon as their assessment is complete, the young person will be offered support and, where indicated, smaller group or individual tuition in literacy or other subject areas according to need and interest. All staff will be aware of the Individual Education Plan (IEP) and targets for each individual and will ensure that all tasks are presented to suit a range of learning styles and adapted to individuals where appropriate.
Many of our young people have rejected education in the past and are apprehensive about re-entering the classroom. We provide them with a calm but energised educational environment, where they feel safe to explore and learn again. We achieve this by offering small class groups, often with less than four young people. Each group will have a teacher and a member of care staff, acting as student support, at all times. Each young person has a Personal Tutor who meets with them weekly to discuss their current and prospective education and training and to review their IEP and Individual Learning Plan with them.
At the same time there may be young people who have been attending school regularly and who are potential high achievers. We engage with these young people at their level and in whichever subjects they are anticipating taking to examination and help them to maintain the momentum in their studies. Occasionally we have young people who have completed Key Stage 4 and who are starting their ‘A’ levels. Again, their tuition is adapted to their needs. Private study may be undertaken in the young people’s bedroom or quiet area, such as the library of the Unit, and very effort will be made to encourage their progression.
Flexibility is the key to our education. Although we operate to a timetable, we recognise individual needs, interests and requirements and adapt to provide whatever is best for the individual whenever possible.
Our standard timetable currently engages young people in English, Maths, Science, ICT, Personal Development and Learning/Citizenship, PE, Art & Design, Food Technology and Resistant Materials Technology, Humanities, Music and Work-related Learning. This timetable is enlivened by Cross-curricular topics, when much of the work in all departments includes elements of the selected topic; Impact Days, which revolve around a particular subject area; Talks and Workshops, run by visitors to Swanwick Lodge; and the World of Work, a concentrated work experience timetable. Other subjects, such as modern languages, are offered as individual or small group sessions as suits the particular group of students at any time. All subject areas can be offered to GCSE where young people have begun a course or are anxious to pursue a particular subject.
Swanwick Lodge is an examination centre for all examination boards. We expect our young people in year 9 to sit SATs or the below level 3 equivalent. We also gain accreditation through AQA Unit Awards, ASDAN, Functional Skills, AQA Adult Numeracy and Literacy tests and GCSE.
Obviously, having many short-stay pupils,’ means that good links with the Youth Offending Team, children’s services and school placements are essential, to enabling the young people to return to education.
We are embracing the new 14-19 curriculum and are part of the Eastleigh Consortium. Although the constraints of time and space (the average length of stay is currently 2.5 months), make offering full Diplomas impossible at present. In addition, we have been piloting the Functional Skills tests in English, Maths and ICT and are intending to offer the Extended Project, where young people are entering year 12. At the same time, we are working with our colleagues in the consortium in order to be able to support any young people, who have already started a diploma elsewhere, in maintaining their courses. To this end, we have adapted a workshop to be a multi-skills environment, where young people can learn bricklaying, plumbing, painting and decorating skills and more. We are keen to benefit from the Foundation Learning Tier initiative and are keeping abreast with developments as this goes into the pilot stage. We are also developing the use of the internet and e-learning within the curriculum.
Make a positive contribution
A programme of structured activities is offered to each child to ensure that they gain in confidence and are empowered to make informed choices in their lives in the future, and can go on to lead a crime free life.
At Swanwick, we believe that the strength of our interventions is the inclusive, holistic, joined up approach we take, namely that the child or young person is fully assessed by a range of professionals from the G.P and nurse to the behavioural team and education department. Due to the emphasis on care and the care/control continuum, the young people learn to:-
Swanwick Lodge manages a child’s behaviour by offering clear and consistent boundaries and routines, engaging the child in the process of understanding how their behaviour impacts on others and through the use of pro-social role modelling. Sanctions are utilised in line with those approved for use within the Children’s Homes Regulations 2001.
Staff act as positive role models and the constructive relationships they have with the children and young people enable them to reflect not only on their lives, but learn to trust adults who are positive role models, resulting in enhanced self esteem through an awareness of self image. The restorative approach used at Swanwick Lodge, uses lifestyle packages which allows the young people to see situations from their own and others perspective, focusing on victim awareness. The packages are delivered against a fundamental belief that young people are capable of change and have the resources to make different choices to the ones they have made in the past. This service is delivered in a diverse range of interventions as it is recognised that positive life choices and education are the fundamental protective factors to prevent re-offending
In the education curriculum, through personal development activity, young people reflect on their existing relationships and friendships as well as many other parts of daily living. Independent living skills includes vocational training such as plastering, decorating and plumbing and ‘our innovative world of work week’ which affords young people the opportunity to experience potential training and employment such as animal care and hospitality, floristry and car mechanics.
At Swanwick Lodge we also recognise the power of shared learning and group activity; using groups as a teaching aid and these address current themes such as substance misuse and domestic violence. Much focus is placed on lifestyle choices, the role of the family and the infrastructure system surrounding the young person.
At another level, children are actively encouraged to partake not only in the activities provided for them but to constructively feed back information to us, both positive and negative, in order that we may continually improve our services to them. Swanwick Lodge staff, recruited to work with the children, are also subject to a children and young people’s panel of interviewers. This group, led by a senior social worker, comprises 4 children (2 male and 2 female) who ask their own questions and who feedback their opinions to the management team as an integral part of the decision making process. In fact our current Head of Swanwick Lodge had to go through this process too before he was appointed in 2007.
Achieve economic wellbeing
We show children how to respect themselves, others and their surroundings leading to a change in values to prepare them to live harmoniously in their communities.
It is our main aim to equip the children and young people with the skills that they need to have, to be successful in their lives and help them to discuss any issues or problems they have and try to work through them. The child or young person’s ability to learn and understand the consequences of their behaviour is fundamental and can impact, either positively or negatively, on the success of their integration into their community.
At Swanwick Lodge, we work in a multi systemic way, whereby we always acknowledge the difficulties a young person may experience when they return to their neighbourhood. We try to pre-empt such issues via the programmes we run, individually for that child or collectively for a group of young people, by delivering sessions on scenarios that a child may face. We also recognise that no matter what intervention we provide and what changes a young person makes, they often return to the same community and neighbourhood. We, therefore, try our best to ensure a smoother transition back into that same community by encouraging informal meetings to take place with the child or young offender such as with
a member of the police, local to that person
a member of the educational staff from the placement school
to demonstrate the change in both the attitude and behaviour of that child/ young person in our care. We have found that this enables them to take pride in demonstrating their achievements whilst at Swanwick Lodge, by showing the officer/ teacher samples of their educational work and extra curricular activity. This has proven to be successful in challenging the assumptions held and shows that a young person can change and that that change can be maintained if supported by adults in the neighbourhood.
Swanwick Lodge also has excellent links with the Connexions Service, offering the services of a personal advisor visiting for nearly a day per week. She leads general sessions and has one-to-one interviews with the young people, with regard to careers, liaison with other CNXs offices and generally obtaining any help/information which the young people may require (careers or personal). The group work sessions the Connexions Service offer includes a variety of stimulating topics such as:
Jobs and post 16 options,
Skills and qualities
All sessions are flexible enough to encompass a topic according to the needs of the audience.
In addition to the Connexions Service, a senior member of our education staff is an active member of the Hampshire Careers Curriculum Development Group which meets regularly and involves local teachers in the way forward with regard to the careers curriculum. The Connexions Service is also actively involved in the work-related curriculum during the Business and Enterprise module where the children and young people:-
Learn about forming simple businesses
Aim to raise money for a good causes
Learn how to use numeracy and literacy in the work place
Learn about team work and working with others.
At Swanwick Lodge we believe that by giving children the opportunity to achieve wellbeing they are offered alternative recreational choices, with the objective of diverting them from undesirable activities that may have led or contributed to them requiring a secure placement. We enable children to respect themselves, others and their surroundings leading to a change in values to prepare them to live in their communities.