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A Public Zone Production Tel: 020 7267 4774 Publisher Jonathan Simmons Production Manager Lucy O’Keeffe Designer Ana Acosta Editor Sarah Gonshaw, Communications Executive, The Place2Be

Printed on 75% recycled paper and 25% FSC virgin fibre

A word from Benita Refson OBE, Chief Executive Congratulations BenNY Benita has received an Honorary Doctorate of Law from the University of East London ‘to celebrate the lifetime achievements of individuals who have made a distinguished contribution to their field of endeavour.’ Benita was shortlisted for a ‘First Woman’ Award 2009 in the Public Service category. The finalists were all recognised as “women whose primary focus is the contribution they make to society and the economy as a whole, through the outstanding work that they do for organisations that impact on our daily lives.”

“Investing in children says something about the people we are and the society we hope for.”

‘Benny and her dog Mia’ by Gisele Ronson, aged 6

Fifteen years ago, back in 1994 when The Place2Be received charitable status, one of my trustees said that I should apply all the sound and diligent principles of a well run business. Initially I was taken aback, this is a charity, not a business, we help children and their families who are overwhelmed and confused by life. We don’t deal in equities, our currency is a human currency with a social return on investments not a financial one.


hen I realised once you have clients (in our case vulnerable children and families and schools and investors, from Government, health and education and the private sector), once you have employees (200 today) and Volunteer Counsellors (over 560) you have a moral and legal responsibility to ensure that your service is managed diligently. It goes without saying that the core offer must be delivered in the most professional, principled and cost effective way in our case offering counselling and support to children, families and teachers, and training professionals to do the same. Today’s global crisis has highlighted the need for investors to scrutinise business models – they need to know that their backing will produce a return on their investment. We recognise this and our Business Impact Analyst measures our wider impact on children, families and schools and demonstrates our performance and how we provide value for money for example the cost breakdown for a child to come to The Place2Talk and talk with a counsellor for 15 minutes is £7. We have evidence that The Place2Be reduces exclusions and for every exclusion avoided that is a saving of £64,000 to society.

We do not yet have the statistical tool that can help us assess the level of trauma a child experiences when they witness domestic violence, lose someone they love or their parents divorce. What we do know is that there are over 1.1 million children in the UK who are at risk of developing serious mental health difficulties and by that we mean depression, eating disorders, lack of aspiration and confidence in themselves which often leads to drug and alcohol addiction and of course gangs, guns and knives… I believe that investing in children says something about the people we are and the society we hope for. I am proud that The Place2Be is making a positive difference to the lives of 65,000 children and their families today, with the goal of reaching 80,000 children by the end of 2010. My heartfelt thanks goes to all The Place2Be teams for making this happen.

Benita Refson OBE Chief Executive

Contents 1 A word from Benita Refson OBE, Chief Executive 3 Case study – Sindy’s story 4 Developing The Place2Be 6 Transition from primary to secondary 9 Case study –­­ Ian’s story 10 Working in partnership with parents 13 Case study – Penina’s story 14 Feature – Creative Communication Skills: Advice and practical guidance for professionals working with children 16 Volunteer Counsellor News 18 Volunteer Counsellor Voices 20 In depth clinical study – Katie’s story 22 HR News 24 Training Department News 28 Research and Evaluation News 30 Case study – Michael’s story 31 Government and Third Sector Focus 34 Fundraising News 37 Case study – Ajay’s story

Hub News 38 Cardiff  In Wales at Last 40 Leeds  Conception 42 Burnley  Our First Year 44 Manchester  Toddling 46 Wandsworth  Relationships 48 Southwark  Communication 50 Harlow  Attachment 52 Brent  The Expanding Hub 54 Croydon  10th Birthday 56 Medway  A Wider Reach 58 Nottingham  Organic Transformation 60 Blyth  An Ever Changing Family 62 Edinburgh  Working Together 64 Enfield  Difference 66 Greenwich  Bereavement and Loss 68 Durham  Mechanisms for Change 69 Feature – Durham – Playing Games: Staying safe in the digital age 73 Case study – Tony’s story 73 Contact us 74 Where to find us

The Place2Be Glossary of Common Terms and Abbreviations ASPM – Assistant School Project Manager CAMHS – Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service Circle Time – Work with the whole class. Pupils sit in a circle and through the activities develop various social skills e.g. listening, communication, empathising HM – Hub Manager Hub – Cluster of schools formed together to form a Place2Be project KS1 – Key Stage 1 of the National Curriculum for children aged 4-7 KS2 – Key Stage 2 of the National Curriculum for children aged 7-11

LEA – Local Education Authority LOCN – London Open College Network (accredited training) LSAs – Learning Support Assistants – providing additional support in the classroom Mid-day Supervisors – Staff in schools responsible for pastoral care during the lunch time period PCT – Primary Care Trust Reception / P1 – Reception year of school (called Primary 1 in Scotland) –children aged 4/5 SDQ – Strength and Difficulties Questionnaire, used within our Referral and Assessment process

SENCO – Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator SPM – School Project Manager The Place2Be Box – box kept within The Place2Be room, used by each child to store the work they do throughout their time at The Place2Be The Place2Talk –selfreferral, lunchtime service The Place2Think – work with teachers TPM – Transition Project Manager VC – Volunteer Counsellor Y1 / P2 – Year 1 of school (called Primary 2 in Scotland) – children aged 5/6

Y2 / P3 – Year 2 of school (called Primary 3 in Scotland) – children aged 6/7 Y3 / P4 – Year 3 of school (called Primary 4 in Scotland) – children aged 7/8 Y4 / P5 – Year 4 of school (called Primary 5 in Scotland) – children aged 8/9 Y5 / P6 – Year 5 of school (called Primary 6 in Scotland) – children aged 9/10 Y6 / P7 – Year 6 of school (called Primary 7 in Scotland) – children aged 10/11 TA – Teaching Assistant Transition – service for students aged 11 – 13 in Years 7 and 8 of secondary school

The Place2Be

Making a lifetime of difference to children in schools. Our mission is to enhance the wellbeing and prospects of children and their families by providing access to therapeutic and emotional support in schools, using a proven model backed up by research and training. Our vision is a world where children have the opportunity to grow up with prospects rather than problems.

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Sindy* was referred to The Place2Be because her best friend Tamsin had died tragically in a house fire during the half-term. Tasmin’s mother and sister died too. The whole school was in a state of shock when they returned from the break.


n an early session, after attending Tamsin’s funeral, Sindy decorated her Place2Be box with drawings of black balloons and flowers, and it seemed to become a symbolic container of her friend, where she also sometimes left secret messages for her. She was quite preoccupied with filling up the box with her work, perhaps worried about possible painful feelings if the box was left empty. An interesting theme that characterised her play was how she set about to begin something but then failed to finish. For example, Sindy laid out food for a picnic but the session ended before there was timse for it to start. It felt as though things were cut short and her life had been put on hold as she struggled to understand the impact of losing her best friend. In one session toy figures representing guests were gathered for a party which was then cancelled because the house had not been inspected, and might not be safe for children. In the safety of The Place2Be room Sindy explored and communicated how insecure and sad she felt as a result of the fire. She also described “figures” who would appear in the dark and keep their backs to her. She said that if she could see their faces she would know

“Her Place2Be box seemed to become a symbolic container of her friend, in which she also sometimes left secret messages for her.”

if it was Tamsin “up there” or ghosts but instead she did not know who they were and they frightened her. She was also afraid that there might be a power cut during the session and the room and the whole school would become completely dark, even though it was daylight. In the summer term Sindy’s Nan was taken into a care home following an illness. Sindy was very close to her Nan who had looked after Sindy and had lived with her before she became ill. Sindy made a card for her that depicted a garden full of wild animals and plants: these were things, Sindy said, that Nan did not have at the home and they would remind her of the world outside. She seemed to be very reflective and creative about how to make Nan comfortable in her new environment. When Nan died, Sindy repainted her Place2Be box white and covered it with sparkles and gold, because she said Nan loved these. She also told me she was going to wear a sparkly dress to the funeral. Along one side of the box, Sindy wrote Tamsin’s name, where she had painted over the black balloons and said she would like to put the box with her Nan’s coffin. Sindy used the wet sand in The Place2Be room to make a big cake for the guests, serving it out. It felt as though she had perhaps moved from being stuck in the initial trauma of bereavement to being in touch with the sadness and at the same time celebrating the things she loved about those she had lost. *Name changed

Developing The Place2Be Over the last year The Place2Be has continued to expand and we are delighted to be delivering our services in 155 schools across the UK, supporting over 50,000 children as we begin the 2009/10 academic year. Anna Kettley, Development Project Manager


uring the last 12 months we have successfully established three new Place2Be hubs in Leeds, Cardiff and Ealing. We have also welcomed a further 12 new schools to our established hubs in Blyth, Brent, Harlow, Southwark and Wandsworth. We are very pleased to report that three of these new schools are in fact secondaries where we have been able to implement our transition model and continue to give our support to children aged 11-13 years.

“We are privileged to be chosen as the first pilot project for the primary school sector.” As part our national expansion programme we have been working very closely with the Department for Children, Families and Schools (DCSF) in line with the Targeted Mental Health in Schools (TaMHS) Pathfinder Programme. This is a new funding initiative that is focused on implementing innovative projects supporting children’s emotional and mental health needs in schools. Through the TaMHS programme we have been given the opportunity to establish our services in Ashington and Leeds whilst also playing a key advisory role to the DCSF, by sharing our extensive experience and expertise in implementing school-based counselling provision. More recently the programme has enabled us to develop a new hub in Ealing, West London where we will be working with ten primary schools in some of the most deprived areas of the borough. Alongside our work in England with the DCSF, we have also been working very closely with the Welsh Assembly Government to establish our new hub in Cardiff. Like the DCSF, the Welsh Assembly has recently implemented a national three-year, school-based counselling programme and we were privileged to be chosen as the first pilot project for the primary school sector. In addition to this work we have also been taking a very proactive approach north of the border in regard to expanding our services in Scotland and over the last year we have introduced a new development team to take this work forward and explore the feasibility of developing two new Scottish Place2Be hubs.

As we look towards the next year we are aiming to be working in 190 schools, supporting over 80,000 children by the end of 2010. To help us reach this goal we would love to hear from you if you feel our services would make a positive difference to your school or local area. Contact us at

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Scottish Development: Identifying areas of need Jonathan Wood, Scottish National Manager


ast August I was appointed as Scottish National Manager. A month later Catherine Henderson was appointed as Development Officer for Scotland. Tasked with maintaining the Edinburgh Hub, and developing two new hubs within Scotland, we’ve had a hectic and productive year.

Head teachers, Directors of Education, Quality Improvement Officers, Children’s Commissioners, Mental Health and Wellbeing professionals, and Directors of Social Work.

As there had been no organic growth of the service in Scotland since the inception of the Edinburgh Hub some six years ago, we set about scoping Scotland’s 32 Local Authorities to identify areas of need that The Place2Be could deliver its service in. At the same time, we recognised the need to raise the profile of The Place2Be amongst key target audiences.

As each authority works differently, determining policy priorities to suit their particular environment has proved a fitting opportunity to build extensive networks and understand the specific needs of any one area. There is no area that we have so far approached, where people have not seen the important contribution that The Place2Be could make to the lives of children – and very few local authorities have anything approaching such a comprehensive and responsive service.

This two-pronged approach has run parallel to our relationship-building with statutory, corporate and charitable trust funders. The first tranche of local authorities that we targeted were The Borders, Fife, South Lanarkshire, West Lothian, Dundee, Clackmannanshire, North Ayrshire, Stirling and Moray. Our approach involved meeting a variety of key players in each authority, including

All this moves us closer to our goal of extending the service across Scotland. The Edinburgh Hub stands us in good stead as an example of what can be done in Scotland by The Place2Be. Within the hub motivation is high; funding has been secured from Edinburgh City Council for another year and NHS Lothian promises to look again at Service Level Agreements and longer term funding contracts.

“Few local authorities have anything approaching such a comprehensive and responsive service.”

Profile raising l Joining the boards of relevant umbrella organisations - including Young Scotland in Mind, Counselling in Scotland (COSCA), and Edinburgh Voluntary Organisation’s Council. l Writing articles which have featured in a wide range of publications - including The Scotsman, Times Educational Supplement and Teachers’ Union Journals. l Fostering relationships with relevant organisations - including Learning and Teaching Scotland, Teachers’ Unions, General Teaching Council, Children In Scotland and the Scottish Government l Delivering seminars and exhibiting at conferences – including Learning and Teaching Scotland, Association of Head teachers and Deputies in Scotland, and the Association of Directors of Education in Scotland.

Transition from primary to secondary Andrya Andreou, Transition Project Manager

“When transition doesn’t go well, young people can feel isolated, alone and present as rejected and rejecting.” John Ivens, Educational Psychologist and Head teacher


he transition from primary to secondary school has been identified by Government and academic research as a particularly challenging time for children. Pupils tend to suffer decreases in academic achievement and existing problems related to behaviour, mental health and emotional wellbeing can be exacerbated. This is particularly the case for children from low socio-economic groups in areas such as Southwark; the ninth most deprived local authority in the country. In September 2007 we piloted and have since developed our Transition Years service in Southwark in The Globe Academy with support from Deutsche Bank. The positive outcomes for children, measured through qualitative and quantitative methods, has led to demand from other secondary schools and academies, including St Michael’s & All Angels Academy in Camberwell, Mark Hall Community School and Sports College and Stewards School in Harlow and Blyth School Community College.   An increasing number of children from The Place2Be’s nine Southwark primary schools are now choosing to attend The Globe Academy. The school places a large emphasis on the role of the family in enabling children to achieve academic success and fulfill their potential. The emphasis on pupil’s wellbeing therefore fits well with the ethos of The Place2Be.

Most of us still remember the anxiety of moving to secondary school and that is why The Place2Be transition work is so key. Over the last academic year demand for the transition service has grown significantly and Andrya’s remit has extended to visiting primary school pupils in Southwark to talk to children who will be moving to secondary school in September. The anxieties of these pupils include the fear of bullying, coercion, drugs, gang activity and knife crime. Andrya talked about life at secondary school and the primary school children were greatly reassured by her insight and first hand experience.

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School rivalry led to accident


or a number of years there has been hostility between students from ours and a neighbouring school, resulting in students being harmed both physically and emotionally.

Sanity check Steven Stanecki, Head of Year 7 at The Globe Academy   he Place2Be is an integral part of our student support services at Year 7. Many students simply need a place where they can talk and get good advice to help them with problems in life, at home or at school, and find it difficult or impossible to talk to parents and teachers about these things. The Place2Be offers this service. Andrya Andreou, our Transition Project Manager, is regularly meeting with me and my Assistant Head of Year, Ms. Eratli. She is essential to our sanity at a Head of Year level.


Changes cause confusion


ear 7 is a time which marks a real shift in a young person’s development. Emotionally, mentally, physically, psychologically and socially big changes occur within: changes which can often feel very confusing, worrying, and scary and can make a young person feel alone and isolated. The young person embarks on a journey of trying to figure out who they are and starting to construct their identity. They can also feel very lost, as the secondary school environment is much more of an adult environment and Year 7 students are not sure how to respond to the new expectations made of them and the responsibilities they are given. Therefore we act as a nurturing and supportive companion to these Year 7 students while they cross the scary bridge from primary to secondary school. The Place2Be helps to emotionally nourish, and build strength, resilience, self trust and confidence in the young person until they are ready and able to carry on with their journey by themselves, although not alone, so they can face their next transition; Year 8. All these natural human developmental changes in addition to coming to a new school, a much bigger – and often a stricter and more demanding

– environment can be very challenging indeed. What makes these changes even more difficult or scary is if the young person is already coming to school with life issues that they have been dealing with. The transition can often exacerbate a lot of existing issues or can resurface past issues and behaviours because transition means we are faced with endings, pain, loss and new beginnings. For some young people transition can be a smooth experience and for others it can create new problems that were not there before. In Year 7 many students come with lots of questions, feeling afraid, anxious and worried about their new journey. They question if they will make friends, fit in and how they will cope. By Year 8 the majority of students start the year with confidence and ease, a familiarity and security which has come from the experience of going through Year 7 and surviving it. I often see and feel this confidence when I’m with them. Year 8s are that bit more mature and grown up, yet they still know to access The Place2Be in times of distress, fear and anxiety, although most aren’t experiencing the same urgency they did in Year 7.

Recently groups of students from each school confronted and challenged each other. As a result a Year 7 boy from our school was hurt in a traffic accident and was rushed to hospital. Because this happened at the end of the day, many of the students had witnessed the incident. The next day an assembly was held to discuss the seriousness of what had taken place. As the day went on a huge number of students were requesting to come and talk to The Place2Be about how they felt, many distressed and afraid of what they had seen. So after the regular lunchtime Place2Talk, I held a special one hour session for 26 students and we discussed how they were affected by what had happened. During our time the students asked if we could think of ways to resolve the tension and rivalry and together they came up with different ideas to help foster a positive relationship between the students in the two schools. The list was handed in to the Head of Year 7, who has taken it very seriously. Discussions are being held on how to manifest some of these ideas in order to improve the relationship between the two schools so that no such incidents occur again.

Transition from primary to secondary “The Place2Talk in Year 7 is really different. It’s much better…It feels more serious and like I can talk about more serious things that are happening to me. In primary it was about silly things like always falling out with my friends. Now it’s more grown up stuff.”

The Place2Talk at The Globe Academy


uring the spring term there was an increase in the use of The Place2Talk with an incredible 394 visits made, compared to 288 in the autumn term. This increase in uptake may be due to students feeling more settled, confident and comfortable to access the service in their second term. In their first term they were preoccupied with settling in. Also, awareness and reputation of the service grew amongst Year 7, through word of mouth and my interactions with the students.

The top three reasons for attending The Place2Talk 210 school issues were discussed

192 friendship issues were discussed

189 personal issues were discussed

147 in the autumn term

101 in the autumn term

127 in the autumn term

one-to-one visits

11-year-old girl

“The Place2Be is great, it helps me to talk about my feelings that I have never told, it makes me feel safe and it makes me feel happy.”



visits made either with one other person or in a group

11-year-old girl

“It keeps me in lessons sometimes.”


12-year-old boy

“The Place2Be changed my life because Andrya keeps people’s secrets and sometimes sorts them out.”

different students WHO accessed the service from Years 7 and 8

12-year-old boy

“You feel safe and it’s good to come here, you can let your secrets out.”



11-year-old boy

“It’s good to trust The Place2Be because you can let your emotions out. It’s a good place to come and go.”






Year 7 students



Year 8 students


13-year-old boy Spring term


Autumn term



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Six-year-old Ian* had been acting out in the classroom in an aggressive manner. His teacher made a referral for him to come to The Place2Be, saying he was ‘’All over the place’’, being physically aggressive with others, and not listening at all to her.


an had trouble concentrating or sitting still and he bullied other children. Yet frequently he appeared anxious and tearful. He is an intelligent boy, but had little or no sense of boundaries in class. After meeting with his teacher, the School Project Manager (SPM) learned that Ian had experienced a traumatic incident just over a year ago. Someone had broken into his house and shot his father. His father was in hospital overnight with minor injuries, but this had had a terrible effect on Ian. He became anxious, had nightmares, and was obsessed with his family’s safety. In his counselling sessions, he told tales of his brave deeds, being the superhero who would protect his family. He was allowed to express himself freely, and painted furiously trying to “fill up” his box. The Volunteer Counsellor needed to help him feel safe in this chaos. As the sessions progressed, the counsellor noticed he gradually seemed more able

“Someone had broken into his house and shot his father.” to relax, slowing down, and beginning to play with other toys. The SPM maintained frequent contact with Ian’s teacher and with his mother, and encouraged his mother to allow him to express himself artistically, and recommended that Ian’s father spent more time with him, which Ian craved. She also referred Ian’s mother to The Place2Be’s parent service, for support. Within a month, Ian’s teacher told the School Project Manager there had been a major improvement in his behaviour in class. She said he is “like a different child, he is calmer, his concentration is better and so is his behaviour”. *Name changed

Working in partnership with parents When I took over from Chris Forrest in October 2008 it was clear that ‘A Place for Parents’ had become an established aspect of our school-based service in our hubs in Brent, Croydon, Durham, Edinburgh, Greenwich, Medway, Nottingham and Southwark. Matthew Audley, Parenting Development Manager


ince 2003 Chris, in her frequent travels around the country, nurtured the development of a consistent and high-quality counselling service for parents. It is central to my role to help sustain this and to foster the development of the work in younger hubs such as Burnley, Leeds, Manchester, Harlow and Wandsworth. There are eight Parent Workers in the team offering support to parents, as well as carers and grandparents. In 2008/09 they provided 2,056 sessions to 186 individuals, in most cases working with parents on-site in their children’s school. At team meetings they have explored carefully how they make a proper assessment of the parents’ needs when they first meet and how best to contract the work with the parent to commit to what can often be challenging and painful work. This care is central to our approach and is proving highly effective. In the wake of the Government’s launch of the ‘Think Family’ campaign we are recognising how keenly we have developed a model of working with parent and teacher that is wrapped around the individual work with the child within the school setting. School Project Managers (SPMs) play a critical role in bridging the transition for parents as they begin to engage with us and help them to understand that more lasting change for their children is borne out of priority support for their needs as well.

Three-tiered approach lC  ounsellors work with individual children in need. l S chool Project Managers work to build trust with the parents and teachers of these children, helping them explore their perception of and relationship with the child. lP  arents can access support for their own needs and build up their own emotional resources in A Place for Parents.

Results l T he service is highly accessible: 83% parents were seen within two weeks of being referred during 2007-2008. l9  2% of parents seen recorded an increase in their mental wellbeing through the use of a validated evaluation measure. lW  e are working with parents who typically experience challenging and distraught lives, often suffering domestic violence, childhood abuse, mental health difficulties, or drug/ alcohol abuse.

Established in 2008, the National Academy of Parenting Practitioners has been tasked by the Government with identifying and promoting organisations that offer high quality support for parents. Much of this work is built on a standardised package of support that can be delivered in any locality as a ‘stand alone’ evidence-based intervention. The Place2Be’s work with parents is unique: It sits within a comprehensive package of support built over time for children within the community of the school. As an organisation we are revising the bridging role that SPMs play as they work in partnership with parents to support the work with the child. We have developed a framework to refine and fully evaluate this across all hubs throughout the next academic year, which will help us to properly represent the quality, range and accessibility of the service we offer to parents. As one parent recently wrote to us, “A Place for Parents is such a valued service for many people in schools and their communities and it was very important to me that the service was available and easily accessible.”

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“Non-judgemental approach” Alison Ross, Durham Parent Worker


am a Parent Worker in the East Durham area, which has suffered greatly from the loss of the coal mines and heavy industry in the 1980s. There are high levels of unemployment. Poverty, domestic violence, and drug and alcohol abuse are commonplace and crime levels are high. The incidence of teenage pregnancy and lone parent families are also higher than average.

I grew up in North Durham in a coal mining village and lived through the demise of the industries. I have a good understanding of my client group and their background and find it easy to relate to them. I too have lived on benefits and understand that it is hard. I approach my clients with a non-judgemental attitude and always try to understand that they are most likely doing the best that they can, given the environment and circumstances in which they find themselves.

“I have a good understanding of my client group and their background and find it easy to relate to them.” How you can support the work of The Place2Be:

“Getting my life back” Parent


hank you so very much for the help you have given me. It has been invaluable in helping me with my depression and in getting my life back. It has been wonderful to be able to tell someone anything and know that I will get honest feedback to help me to learn to rely on my instincts and help me prioritise my needs sometimes instead of ignoring my feelings and needs over others. There is so much I have managed to accomplish in the time I have been seeing you and I don’t think I would have managed any of it without your help.

l l l l

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Working in partnership with parents

Sally’s* story: “Grief tore family apart” As told by Sally’s Parent Worker


first met Sally, a 29-year-old Mum of four, in the summer of 2008. She was feeling depressed and had difficulty coping with one of her sons being recently diagnosed with ADHD. On our first meeting I noticed she looked almost burnt out.

“Sally enrolled on an access course at the local college and started in September.”

One of four children herself, she had always felt her mum favoured her siblings. Her mother had been cold and unaffectionate towards her. She had a good relationship with her dad but he worked very long hours. When she was nine, one of her brothers died. The grief tore her family apart and her mother turned to alcohol. Her mum and dad separated and Sally left with her dad, to be brought up mostly by her paternal grandmother. By the time she left school her mum was an alcoholic and Sally felt a great responsibility to look after her. Her mum was critical, jealous and abusive towards her. When she was 18 she fell pregnant and got a house with her boyfriend. Sally was in and out of violent relationships. When we started our work together Sally had just left her youngest child’s father who had been

better parent she was often too lenient with her own children, afraid of hurting them by saying no. I helped her to set boundaries with the children and encouraged her to maintain consistency. She also built up the courage to confront her mother about the past and felt hugely empowered. Her mum responded favourably and started to try harder. Meanwhile her son was referred to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services and prescribed medication for his ADHD. Sally found she had time to focus on her future. During one session she expressed that she had never fulfilled her true potential and was interested in teacher training. She enrolled on an access course at the local college and started in September, just as our time together finished.

physically, sexually and emotionally abusive towards her for four years. Through counselling Sally became aware of her search to be loved and needed; what she had always wanted from her mum. In the effort to be a

I have spoken to Sally over the phone since. She is enjoying her course, gaining distinction grades. She says “without my counselling sessions at A Place for Parents I would never have built up enough confidence to go back to college.” *Name changed


Seven-year-old Penina* has received on-going support over the last three years from The Place2Be.


enina was referred to The Place2Be because of her struggles with friendships. She was aggressive and stole from other children. She also had difficulties remaining in class. She was prone to angry outbursts and often conveyed a deep sense of unhappiness. Penina struggled greatly with emotional regulation and displayed signs of an anxious/avoidant attachment style. Penina comes from a family where both parents have disabilities, making it difficult for her to receive the quality of care she requires. Due to the complexity of her needs, Penina and her family have obtained support from a number of agencies including Social Services, The Place2Be, mentors and clubs outside of school. Since The Place2Be started in the school, Penina has accessed all of its services. In group work sessions, Penina’s projective play

“She had to defend herself by constructing many barriers against the intrusion of others.” demonstrated how deeply she had to defend herself, by constructing many barriers against the intrusion of others. She often vocalised her vulnerability and unhappiness with life. In The Place2Talk she used penguins to express feelings around difficult family relationships. Penina now attends weekly Place2Be sessions. This has enabled her to develop a consistent and containing relationship with her Place2Be Counsellor. Glimpses of her internal world are communicated through stories and dolls. There has also been a considerable shift in terms of Penina’s ability to express within sessions a wide range of feelings of frustration, anger and guilt in relation to her family. *Name changed

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Creative Communication Skills:

Advice and practical guidance for professionals working with children One of the most important aspects of The Place2Be’s approach to supporting children and young people is the use of creative methods in our work. Whether we see the work as Play or Art Therapy or simply the use of creative materials to facilitate children’s development, the overall message is the same – often children and young people need to do more than talk as they simply cannot find the right way to communicate using words. David Exall, Head of Training

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hile active listening skills are also at the heart of The Place2Be’s ethos, we have learnt that when a child is attempting to explore painful and difficult problems this can often be best done by allowing them to express themselves through role-play, games, art, sand play and in other creative ways, instead of talking. All of these methods can be described as ‘play’. Many professionals who work with children will be familiar with this concept and will use this thinking in their own work. Training delivered by The Place2Be to school staff and other professionals has a strong emphasis on this kind of non-verbal communication. In many ways children need to play as it is the ‘work’ of a child. Whether the child is working with a counsellor or sitting oneto-one with a Teaching Assistant outside of a classroom here are some very important aspects to consider:

“The focus is on building a relationship with the child.”

l When children are expressing themselves using play and creative materials they need to be given a safe space in which to do this. When a child is struggling it is important to provide the safety and time that they need. This may be a private room or simply a place where the child feels secure and not distracted. These boundaries protect both the child and the adult. l The role the adult has in the play – Observer? Participant? Witness? When children feel safe and able to express themselves, they will do this in all sorts of ways – games, role play, or making things. At times it may be important that the adult joins in and collaborates with the child, and conversely, sometimes stays out and observes. Whichever approach is used the focus is on building a relationship with the child and the adult should be sensitive to the needs of the child.

“Avoid directing the play, but instead follow, and allow the child to lead.” l Respect what is communicated through the play in the same way that one would if a child was verbally sharing something personal and important to them. For this reason, a useful guideline is to avoid directing the play, but instead follow, and allow the child to lead. Also, certain other things should also be avoided if possible: touching or joining in the play unless explicitly asked to by the child, or coercing a child to communicate in any way. It should very much be their choice. Making interpretations of the meaning behind play or artwork based upon a prejudgement can also be very unhelpful – a drawing of a pig may have many possible meanings to a child and sometimes they may just want to draw a pig! Always observe a child and stay curious about what is going on with them. l Remain aware of your own feelings when with a child. Self-awareness can be vital in understanding where a child is. Our own feelings may reflect their feelings, however there must be a great deal of caution as to how this understanding is used with the child, because the feelings may be the adult’s own experiences and memories. In general it’s better to stay aware of your own feelings, contain them, and then discuss them with other professionals – especially if the feelings are strong. l Sometimes specific themes or issues can be explored using creative play. For example asking a child to express a particular feeling through drawing. This should always be done carefully and the adult should always be able to say why they are asking the child to focus in this way – and check that it is genuinely for the wellbeing of the child. As well as feelings, other themes that may be explored creatively and introduced by an adult include: bullying, friendships, family, loss and change. However, experience at The Place2Be has shown that children respond when they reach these issues by themselves, and the adult needs to trust that they will explore what is relevant to them.

“Stay aware of your own feelings, contain them, and then discuss them with other professionals – especially if the feelings are strong.” Allowing a child to communicate in these ways can be highly effective and powerful. Some examples include: l The child, who has been sent to the Head teacher for fighting, and gets the chance to calm down whilst drawing. l The child who is feeling picked on and can play a game with their teacher during the break. l The girl who is unhappy at home and gets to draw her family the way she would like them to be. These are all children who will use the medium of play to make sense of their worlds and begin the process of understanding. If they are allowed to do this with a responsive adult who does not judge and gives some time and safety, it can support them in a number of ways. This includes allowing the expression of feelings and thoughts that might be otherwise seen as dangerous or unacceptable – feelings that if left unexpressed can erode a child’s self esteem and lead to many forms of behaviour that may be difficult to understand. While The Place2Be Counsellors give the time for this expression to be understood in depth, it is important to recognise the positive impact that any adult can have by communicating with children in this way. All the training that The Place2Be provides is for adults working with children, and supports them in building the skills needed to work in these creative ways.

Volunteer Counsellor News Senem Palaz, Senior Volunteer Officer

“We maintain mutually beneficial links with fellow therapeutic training institutes.”

“Tobias School of Art and Therapy appreciates the professionalism of The Place2Be. The outstanding supervision, training and experience offered to our students in a very well organised context provides them with an excellent model for their development as arts counsellors.” Gillian David, Head of Tobias School of Art and Therapy

“Lewisham Counselling & Counsellor Training Associates are very happy to recommend their students to apply for placements at The Place2Be for we are impressed with the training, support and professional development care. We also find The Place2Be employees we have had contact with have always proved to be consummate professionals who possess a caring and concerned attitude and profound subject knowledge and skill.” Chris Brown, Training Development Director


his year has seen recruitment of our Volunteer Counsellors (VCs) go from strength to strength, with a record 560+ places being covered in Place2Be schools nationwide – a 14% increase on this time last year. Since the last journal, our hubs in Manchester and Burnley have become fully operational and the Blyth Hub expanded. We’re also in the process of recruiting for our new Leeds and Cardiff Hubs. It is expected that they will both be working at full counsellor capacity by the start of the new academic year in September 2009. As ever, our high volunteer retention rate proves that the continuous support and training given to our counsellors is second-to-none. The current retention rate is 28% even with our brand new hubs

and schools on board. Approximately 70% of our VCs are trainee practitioners studying towards a professional qualification. Twenty one percent of these are undertaking their professional training

“560+ places in Place2Be schools nationwide.” with The Place2Be. We continue to maintain mutually beneficial links with our fellow therapeutic training institutes who recommend the clinically sound placement opportunities we offer to supplement and develop their students’ training. Thirty percent of our Volunteer Counsellors are qualified professionals, who are willing to volunteer with us.

“I was particularly impressed with the way I was dealt with on the telephone when I made my initial enquiry. Senem was informative and upbeat and the Volunteer Information Pack was dispatched immediately. This has not been the case in other organisations I have been in contact with for voluntary counselling placements, and it really makes me feel I wish to be part of such an organisation.” Christine Coffey, now a Place2BE Counsellor

“I have just completed my application for BACP accreditation, and I can say with joy that I used my experience with The Place2Be in the essay section.” Dr. Julie Bradshaw MBE, Alumni Volunteer Counsellor

The Journal | 17 Launch of Volunteer Alumni Winne McCann, Head of Human Resources


Listening to our current VCs


n July 2008 we introduced a detailed feedback survey for our current VCs to share their experiences. We asked about Recruitment, Induction, Training, Supervision and Management, Future use of technology for training and communication, and General suggestions for improvement. Forty percent of our VCs responded, many highly praising the organisation: 94% rated the quality of trainings attended during their placement as excellent or good.

90% rated the Volunteer Induction Workshop as excellent or good.

his year we undertook the task of contacting as many as possible of the 700 or so Volunteer Counsellors from the last five years, in order to launch an alumni. We hope this will help us maintain good links with our volunteering community, aid future recruitment, build a community of shared learning, and assist with fundraising. We now have 235 alumni members, whose survey feedback and insights have proved highly informative. It’s exciting for us to hear that over half of those who replied are working professionally with children and that 90% claim their placement with us – and in particular the training provided – enhanced their career opportunities.

Encouragingly, (with the exception of only one person who has set up her own community project) all our alumni are interested in job and training opportunities with us and would welcome being part of The Place2Be community. This is a clear demonstration of the high regard in which The Place2Be is held by those who have volunteered with us.

97% found the recruitment process either excellent or good.

91% rated the general induction as excellent or good.

An additional and unexpected aspect of our first contact is that several people took the opportunity of having our attention to request the setting up of a new hub in their local area and volunteered their services in its set-up. This demonstrates that with those who have already experienced what we do first hand, there is clear interest and willingness to support us reaching out even further.

Alumni feedback highlights: 44% expressed an interest in The Place2Be Masters degree in Counselling Children in Schools. 98% said they would recommend The Place2Be to those seeking a clinical placement or those who are interested in volunteering.

95% said the placement had met or exceeded their expectations.

91% described their experience of Supervision as excellent or good.

73% stated they would like to work with children in the future.

82% felt they have formed good working relationships with school staff.

l 56% are currently employed as a Counsellor, Therapist, or Psychologist (and just over half of these work with children) l 39% are working in the school environment l 15% are working with the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) l When asked what they’d say if asked about their experience with The Place2Be an astounding 96% of respondents took the time to complete with extensive comments recommending the organisation:

“Life-changing” “Professionally deepening” “One of the best experiences of my life.”

Volunteer Counsellor Voices

“This spectacular organisation” Maisa Almatrafi, VOlunteer Counsellor, Nottingham


am currently in my second year PhD, researching into how stakeholders (GP’s, Psychiatrists, Psychotherapists) manage childhood depression in terms of the intervention they use and the reasons behind their preference. My research journey began three years ago when I was studying for my MA in the Person-Centred Approach. I was working for The Place2Be as a Volunteer Counsellor and felt that one of my young clients had all the symptoms of depression. In the short time we had before he left primary school I was keen to give him “the best intervention” and use all the skills and techniques I had learnt in my training. The simple phrase, “stay with the child” which my Place2Be supervisor kept saying over and over, allowed me to give the right therapeutic conditions for the child to grow in the trusting environment of The Place2Be room. It is this ideology, behind this spectacular organisation that has had a powerful influence on my way of being as a counsellor and as a researcher.

“A fulfilling and rewarding experience” Anon, VOlunteer Counsellor, Southwark


qualified as an art therapist from Goldsmith’s College in 1986 and then worked in the NHS at Guys and St. Charles Hospitals. The work involved individual sessions with adult clients and groups. Art Therapy was a pioneering profession in those days and working in schools was almost unknown. Travelling abroad and having two children, I had a break from therapeutic work, teaching in art colleges and continuing with my artist practice. Whilst organising an art project with children in a special needs primary school, I saw the potential in working therapeutically in schools. With my experience in adult psychiatry it was unclear to me how I could resume work again as a therapist. Then by chance I saw an advertisement for The Place2Be and applied to become a Volunteer Counsellor. My placement in a Southwark school was such a fulfilling and rewarding experience. I had the benefit of invaluable support and as a result of my placement, am now registered with the Health Professional Council as an art therapist and I hope this will enable me to work with children in the future.

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“Mindful of my own assumptions” Martin Dodds, VOlunteer Counsellor, Blyth


have been privileged to work with many young people supporting them to resolve a wide and varied range of problems. I’ve found working within a child’s metaphor to be both challenging and rewarding. It has taught me to embrace my own confusion as I often do not know the underlying reasons as to why the child is acting in a certain way or their choice of play materials in The Place2Be room. I have learnt to be mindful of my own assumptions and explore them within my supervision. This has allowed me to gain insight into myself whilst keep my interpretations separate from the child’s sessions.

“Unique and wonderful” Julia Walsh, VOlunteer Counsellor, Burnley


aving worked with adults therapeutically during my training I felt that there was a gap in my knowledge base. I was nervous about working with children and fearful that my strong maternal instincts would interfere within the therapeutic relationship. However the support I have received through supervision and The Place2Be workshops has enabled me to work more confidently and effectively. This in turn has helped me to provide an open, warm environment, where I can seek to understand the children just as they are. This has been a unique and wonderful experience and one that I will never forget.

Volunteering and Raising Money Sarah Davis, VOlunteer Counsellor, Southwark


y work as a VC forms part of my clinical practice towards an MA in Integrative Child Psychotherapy, from Terapia. I also work as an editor at Dorling Kindersley, part of the Pearson Group. The company offers donations to various projects in the UK and abroad so I applied on behalf of The Place2Be, and received £1,000!

Teacher turned Counsellor Fe Robertson, VOlunteer Counsellor, Croydon


ntil last July I was a primary school teacher and for several years I was also the SENCO at my school. Having taught for some 20 years, I saw the profession increasingly emphasising targets and exams and measured success with all the attendant paperwork. So, with some trepidation, I spent four years retraining as a counsellor whilst continuing to teach part-time. As a teacher I was within my comfort zones, and knew what was expected of me; it was my responsibility to educate, to assess and evaluate progress and always, always to be focused and goal orientated. I was all-knowing, in control, juggling and managing many things all at once. As a counsellor I am often not all-knowing, by which I mean I am not in control of what happens, as it is the child who decides what they want to do. I go into the sessions without leading and I wait to see what evolves from the child’s inner world. Unlike teaching, I have no aims or objectives to fulfil, and definitely no personal agenda.

Another difference between teaching and counselling is time, and the luxury of time. Fifty minutes with one child! And repeated every week! I have to say that 30 children all day was a far less daunting prospect when I first started. The child comes in and decides what they want to do that day. It might be playing with the doll’s house or the farm, or making food out of the play dough, or making models out of the clay and art materials. They might paint a picture or do a drawing, or play in the wet and dry sand. Their play is often challenging for me. I dread it when a child opens the dressing up drawer and holds out the pink tutu saying “you can wear this”! I’m taken right out of my comfort zone and start wishing fervently that no one is going to come in and catch me. One of the hardest things was to not jump in if they were struggling to make something, or couldn’t read the clock. You can’t imagine how many times I have wanted to say “well the big hand is on the six so it must be..”!

Katie’s Story An extended study to ‘demystify’ the clinical process and explain what happens during The Place2Be counselling sessions Written by the School Project Manager and Volunteer Counsellor


e first met Katie* when she was visiting school with her adoptive parents. The SENCO had told them all about The Place2Be and they were keen to know more. They were looking to change Katie’s school as the previous one had not been supportive or been able to consider Katie’s needs. Katie started at school in September and joined one of the Year 4 classes. Within weeks her teacher referred her to The Place2Be as both a supportive measure and as a means of preventing possible future behavioural difficulties. Her parents supported this referral and Mum was able to meet with the School Project Manager (SPM) on a regular basis. Mum and SPM spent time together considering Katie’s needs and behaviours. Katie was adopted by her current family when she was four years old. She has two older stepbrothers in their late teens but no biological siblings. Previous to her adoption Katie was fostered for two years and had regular contact with her biological mother. Three days after her adoption

her biological mother died. Katie is suspected of having foetal alcohol syndrome, a condition only recently diagnosed after her adoptive parents fought to find out more of her history and gain appropriate assessment. Katie’s adoptive mother has trained in holding therapy and attachment work at a local specialist centre and this has helped her care for Katie. Katie had always had an awareness of her early life and her mum’s death.

“Katie threatened suicide in the last session before the Christmas break.” Katie has been working weekly with one of our Volunteer Counsellors since November. The first term was extremely challenging and Katie tried her best to reject the counsellor every session. It took two months of consistency and reassurance for Katie to start believing that her counsellor would return for her the following week and the relationship would continue. It was not unusual for Katie to crawl down the long corridor back to her class in protest to the counsellor ending the session (on time). Katie sought to test the boundaries and her counsellor’s capacity to remain constant in her life

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no matter what Katie threw at her emotionally. For example, when Katie threatened suicide in the last session before the Christmas break, the SPM discussed this with Mum on the same day, to explore the reality of her intentions. Later that day the SPM, counsellor and Mum made it clear to Katie that they were there to keep her safe and look after her and that they would have conversations about her if they were worried about her. This was a turning point as everyone held Katie’s concerns without over-reacting and showed united support for her difficult feelings. There seems to have been recognisable stages of progression in the sessions, thanks to the unfaltering consistency, warmth, patience and resilience of Katie’s counsellor. In the second term her counsellor noted that she didn’t play with many of the available toys or media in the room. Katie preferred to interact via talking and play acting. When she found something she liked to do she would stay with that, returning to the same activity for quite a few weeks, finding comfort and safety in the familiarity of the game. Her counsellor considered that Katie found it too difficult to make an attachment to any of the toys in the room for fear that she may not be returning there. This resonated very much with Mum’s observations. She noted that if Katie’s toys were put away

“This very visible meeting of these different people in Katie’s life showed how everyone cared for and respected her.” in her cupboard, it was as though they didn’t exist anymore. Katie liked to be in control; sometimes being bossy with the counsellor in sessions or constantly falling out with friends or family, becoming angry when they had upset or annoyed her. The counsellor considered how such behaviour acted as a barrier, protecting Katie from getting hurt. When Katie acted to reject people first she could avoid feeling the loss if they walked out of her life, so controlling her emotions. As we reach the final term of Katie’s therapeutic support, Katie has begun to consider more thoughtfully her feelings and responds more openly, a progression from her previous avoidance. Her counsellor spoke of having challenged Katie’s ‘bossiness’ and how in the process her demeanour has melted into seeming more at ease, even

giggling and smiling. It’s as though Katie has the space to explore gaining control over her life as she has not had it before. She did not have a say in what happened in her early life; leaving her birth mother, moving to foster care and then onto adoptive parents. The SPM supported the counsellor and gained an overview of the sessions. She also met on a regular basis with Katie’s Mum and spent time with her thinking about Katie’s needs and behaviour. Katie’s teacher would also speak to the SPM regularly to let her know how Katie was doing. This very visible meeting of these different people in Katie’s life showed how everyone cared for and respected her. Katie’s Mum has recently fed back how Katie continues to improve significantly. She appears happier, understands more (like the other meanings of words and jokes) and has stopped a physical tick she used to do when needing to relax. She is more considerate and emotionally literate. Mum feels that Katie has people around her that she knows respect her and this is significant for her. In her last school Katie used to come home hating herself and hurting herself. This doesn’t happen now. * Name changed

By 2010 we aim to be supporting 80,000 children dealing with problems such as bereavement, family breakdown, domestic violence, trauma and bullying. It’s an ambitious goal, but your donation can help us achieve it. You can donate online now at

HR News

Sad Farewell This year we bid farewell to Margaret Haig, School Project Manager at Lordswood School, Medway since 2002


t has been my great pleasure to be a part of the organisation and I have many lovely memories. I’ve enjoyed my years here and the happy working relationship I had with my manager Colleen. I will miss the sudden unexpected challenges, such as organising vitally important visits and also the responsibilities of keeping the project alive and fresh in the school for both staff and children.

Growing The Place2Be Dominika Wieczorek, Human Resources Officer


ince April 2008 we have run 100 recruitment exercises and our staff population has grown by 34 employees. This represents a 20% growth rate, taking us to over 200 employees. This is especially encouraging in these challenging times.

Like buses, the need for our support doesn’t come at a steady pace but hits peaks that challenge us yet make the work we do more exciting. Often at The Place2Be job opportunities result from good news, such as promotion, expansion into a new area, or maternity leave cover. We keep that positive approach by having a strong retention record and numerous opportunities to progress within the organisation. We make sure our vacancies are advertised to people already working with us, at least at the same time as we look externally, if not beforehand.

Career progression this year includes: l One Hub Manager becoming Parenting Development Manager l Two Hub Managers becoming Regional Managers l Two School Project Managers becoming Hub Managers l Six School Project Managers taking on a second school l Four Assistant School Project Managers becoming School Project Managers l 19 Volunteer Counsellors becoming School Project Managers l Two Volunteer Counsellors becoming Assistant School Project Managers l At Core Hub several people have moved up to their first management role.

“I will miss the responsibilities of keeping the project alive and fresh in the school.” What I won’t forget will be the sheer unadulterated fun I have had as the SPM at Lordswood. It will be desperately hard to leave, but I feel that I need to be at home more now.   The recent ‘Being is Believing’ visit was great to organise. The children and the parent were simply amazing and rose to the task with style, grace, aplomb and sheer enjoyment of the whole occasion. The six children were superb ambassadors for The Place2Be. Three of them had not so long ago been chosen to go to a party at Downing Street and typically they managed to slip this in and talk about it. The evident happiness they had from that day is clearly still so vivid for them.  I do wish The Place2Be every success in the years to come.

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Growing together Matthew Audley, Parenting Development Manager *


n October 1993 – my second year training to be a counsellor; searching high and low for the right placement – I chanced upon The Place2Be. I had worked extensively in primary schools and leapt at the opportunity. Within a month, after some training, I was working with four children on a regular basis in a school in Lambeth. Six months in and I was coordinating the project in the school. Four years later I found myself working as a School Project Manager in a school in Camberwell, liaising with teachers and parents and supervising the Volunteer Counsellors.

“I‘ve watched the quality, reputation and scale of our work spread throughout the country.” Another four years passed and I became the Greenwich Hub Manager, overseeing The Place2Be’s work across ten schools in the borough. Then in October 2008 I took on the fresh challenge of managing our work with parents. I’m proud that as I have matured my own skills I‘ve watched the quality, reputation and scale of our work spread throughout the country. * Matthew is The Place2Be’s longest serving employee.

Bringing the baby to work Helen Forrester, School Project Manager, Balgreen Primary School, Edinburgh


s I neared the beginning of my maternity leave I really wanted to stop working and put my feet up, but the children’s needs remained and it felt difficult to stop thinking about them. One lad had just been placed with his third set of foster carers in several months. He’d been checking in with me each morning as I was someone he’d known for several years, unlike all the new people now charged with caring for him.

“The baby can come to work in my head and there is still plenty of space for the other children.” Still, in the end I just had to walk out of the door, having ended and handed over as best I could. Then the wonderful eight month holiday began! The world became smaller and I had the luxury of thinking just about the small bundle that had miraculously appeared and was so much fun.

Two weeks before I was due to return to work, I was invited to join a hub ‘in-service’ day. I brought the baby with me as childcare wasn’t possible that day. The beginning exercise was looking at quotes which resonated with us and our work. The quote which stuck with me was “A ship in harbour is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.” As the baby chewed on my pen it struck me that this quote was personally and professionally meaningful. It helped me think about the children and parents at The Place2Be; and also applied to the baby’s changing circumstances and my going back to work. She needed to stay in the harbour, being so little and dependent, but I had to find a way for her to leave the harbour for part of the week and stay feeling safe. Before maternity leave my head was easily absorbed in The Place2Be children’s needs. Now it is in two places at once; but this feels fine. Support from my maternity cover and Hub Manager has been great and has allowed me to ease back in slowly. The baby can come to work in my head and there is still plenty of space for the other children and their parents too.

Training Department News David Exall, Head of Training


his has been another invigorating year for the training department, as we continue to grow in many different ways: National scope – recruiting new trainers across the north of England and Scotland, and piloting our first regional Foundation Course in Burnley, Lancashire. Transition work – since last year we are training yet more school-based staff in Academies, working with Year 7 & 8 pupils. This includes a programme of six workshops for Highdown Academy in Reading, and a package of trainings for ten primary and three secondary schools across Luton. Professional courses - an exciting development this year has been the successful completion of the first year of delivering our new Post Graduate Diploma Course, which started in September 2008. Scale of delivery – as the number of Volunteer Counsellors and clinical staff that we train continues to expand, so does our internal training team – we now have two full-time Administrators. Range of clients – we are now growing the range of communitybased organisations for whom we train, expanding to work with sports professionals and aiming to work with health professionals, among others.

Professional Training Niki Cooper, Course Leader with Grace Savage, Course Co-ordinator

Foundation course Our 15-week NVQ Level 3 course continues to be very popular and exceptionally well received. In the academic year 2008/9 we ran four courses for 49 learners: three in London and one in Burnley, Lancashire. We are excited to say that the successful participants of the latter will then commence a one-year placement as Volunteer Counsellors in our Burnley Hub in 2009/10. The standard of performance in the Foundation course gets higher with every cohort and competition for places gets tougher. Of the graduates from last year’s Foundation courses 15 became Volunteer Counsellors and ten became students on the Postgraduate Diploma. “As a mother of two and an experienced nursery nurse, I feel honoured to have experienced the Foundation Course in counselling children in schools. The fantastic tutors have pushed and pulled my thinking and capacity to reflect. The training has felt wonderfully nourishing and the ethos of The Place2Be has unlocked my inner child. I have been able to use this joy and spirit already and look forward to being part of an organisation that has such a positive effect on children in Croydon and beyond.” Tina Laws, Croydon

EXCITING NEW PROGRAMME: Postgraduate Diploma and Masters in Counselling Children in Schools This exciting new 2-3 year programme, validated by the University of East London is a professional qualification for counselling children. The first cohort of 18 students has completed the first year and the second cohort will start in September. We have been tremendously lucky to attract such a high calibre of student and The Place2Be schools are also benefitting from having these students as Volunteer Counsellors on placement. Everyone in The Place2Be has worked extremely hard to make this first year a success and feedback has been very positive. We honestly believe that the programme is well on track to being the best of its kind in the country.

Feedback has included: “Challenging, stimulating, frustrating, empowering.” “Definitely promoting intellectual and personal growth. I’ve enjoyed every bit of it.”

For more details on our professional qualifications, or to request a course prospectus, please contact: Grace Savage on 0207 923 5535

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Trainings offer participants ways to help children find solutions, manage their feelings and develop social skills. Feedback from Learners

“I feel more confident and knowledgeable in looking for signs of vulnerability in the children in my class, and the strengths and resilience they have.” Teaching Assistant, Luton

“I have a deeper understanding of looking beyond the behaviour, managing and helping children to find their own solutions to problems.” Yvonne Fulton, Behaviour Support Worker AT ‘Supporting Children in the Playground’

Schools and Community training Dan Stone, Training Project Manager


uilding on the success of our short courses, we now reach even more children and adolescents outside The Place2Be hubs by bringing our training to schools and communitybased agencies. In 2008/9 we delivered 70 training days to both external organisations and staff within The Place2Be schools, reaching nearly 450 professionals working directly with children and young people.

“We now reach even more children by bringing our training to schools and communitybased agencies.”

Our trainings offer participants ways to help children find solutions to their own problems, manage their feelings and enable them to develop improved social skills. This is clearly relevant to all those working with children and young people in a very wide variety of roles and activities. With this in mind, we have established an exciting new relationship with Greenhouse Schools to train sports coaches and we are intent on expanding the range of community organisations and professionals to whom we deliver our training. We look forward to updating you next year! We continue to build on our current menu of eight one-day workshops, and to develop specific creative courses such as ‘Communicating with Adolescents’ and courses focused on the use of counselling skills in different contexts.

“We commissioned The Place2Be to deliver mentoring skills to all of our workforce to enhance our own understanding of the skills required to mentor young people effectively. The courses were well designed with a specific focus on the role that we play in developing young people’s lives.” Iain Thomas, Workforce Development Manager, Greenhouse Schools

Training Department News

“A very good mix of theory and practical activities.”

Training The Place2Be’s counsellors and clinicians Kelli Swain-Cowper, Interim Senior Internal Trainer and PG Dip Tutor, with Anna Strelecek and Zoltan Dene, Internal Training Administrators


his team has had another busy year, providing free training for The Place2Be’s Volunteer Counsellors (VCs) and clinical staff. The training package we offer continues to be well received and attended, with 175 days of free training delivered to our volunteer team this year.

“175 days of free training delivered to our Volunteer team this year.” With so many returning VCs, we have introduced two new trainings to address their Continuing Professional Development (CPD) needs, including a Casework Study Day on The Therapeutic Relationship: Transference and Countertransference. We are also pleased that the Alumni VC’s report included particular and unsolicited praise for the high quality and quantity of training they received whilst with us.

This year’s workshops and approach have also been received positively, with feedback including this from Pat Dodd in Manchester, who attended ‘Introduction to Attachment Theory and Practice’: “The training was a very good mix of theory and practical activities. It related directly to our work with children and gave a real insight into some of the issues that can present themselves in the sessions.” This year 50 training workshops were delivered throughout the country to our clinical staff. At the start of 2009 we carried out a nationwide Training Needs Assessment with all our School Project Managers (SPMs), in a bid to maintain the excellent standards of our in-house training. In response to the results of this, we have now developed a Casework Study Day entitled ‘Groupwork 3’ – exploring in-depth the various theories of group dynamics; and are developing a more advanced ‘Supervision 3 Workshop’; and a ‘Sand Tray Workshop’, to continue to meet the needs of our more experienced SPMs.

Feedback from Shamina Wazir, SPM, Brent, on the ‘Attachment in Schools’ Workshop:

“The style of training, matched with the trainer’s breadth of knowledge and passion for the subject, made for me a phenomenal experience… I thoroughly enjoyed learning from her and the discussions validated and consolidated what I do at my schools.”

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Impact and enhancement Moira Muir, Volunteer Counsellor, Nottingham


joined The Place2Be in June 2008, having participated in the two-day induction training weekend that May. I very much enjoyed the weekend but was taken aback by the feelings of loss - sometimes subtle losses - that I experienced during some of the exercises. These feelings reconnected me with feelings I had experienced as a child but now understood with an adult appreciation. I recognised the fragility and subtlety of the fine threads of attachment that as a child, and as children, we spin in the discovery of self and the world around us. It was a powerful experience and I found I immediately felt a new layer of sensitivity and tuning-in whilst listening to the stories told to me by my adult clients, and a deepening empathic response to the feelings of loss that they spoke of which perhaps were not so much communicated in words but in their facial and body language.

“Working and training with The Place2Be has impacted upon my practice, especially with adolescents and adults.� A year on from that first workshop, and I find myself fluent and confident in working with paint and pencils as a media of expression in my adult practice, and particularly so with adolescent clients, who sometimes prefer a more visual and tactile means to express themselves through. I want to express my appreciation for the impact and enhancement that working and training with The Place2Be has had upon my practice, and especially so with adolescents and adults, which I had not anticipated at the outset. I am very much looking forward to another year with The Place2Be.

Research and Evaluation News There have been many exciting developments and research opportunities in our department over the past year. Jemma White, Research and Evaluation Officer

Developments in research


e have been fortunate to establish a Research Advisory Group, bringing together key academics in the field of children’s mental health to advise and support the team in areas such as ethics, statistical analysis, pursuing new areas of research, and disseminating The Place2Be’s research and evaluation findings to a wider audience. The group are currently planning a research networking event at the end of the year where interested academics, researchers and practitioners will be invited to hear about The Place2Be’s current evidence-base and discuss areas of future research. We envisage that this event will lead on to important external research collaborations in the future. In August last year, fellow Evaluation Officer, Clare Tiley was invited to present at the 12th European Symposium on Suicide and Suicidal Behaviour (ESSSB) in Glasgow. The presentation introduced the work of The Place2Be and also discussed The Place2Be’s role in preventing the risk factors associated with youth suicide/suicidal behaviour, based on evidence collected via the Goodman’s Strength and Difficulties Questionnaires (SDQs). Along the same vein, we are delighted to share the exciting news that our research paper ‘The Place2Be: Measuring the effectiveness of a primary schoolbased therapeutic intervention in England and Scotland’ has been accepted for external publication in the ‘Counselling in Schools’ –Special Edition of the Counselling and Psychotherapy Research (CPR) Journal, available from September 2009. This is a fantastic step forward in terms of showcasing our work and evidence-base to a wider academic and clinical audience. We would like to thank everyone who made this possible; specifically those who helped with the statistical analysis and proof-reading countless draft copies! We have also established links with Dr Pamela Qualter at the University of Central Lancashire who is leading a one-year research study in The Place2Be’s Burnley Hub looking at: l The impact of The Place2Be provision for targeted children who access The Place2Be counselling services whether via parent, school or self-referral; l Whether The Place2Be has positive effects (emotional growth and wellbeing) on all children; l How the introduction of The Place2Be has impacted on other children’s services, such as CAMHS; and l A potential economic analysis of the service in Burnley.

Improved mental heaLth and wellbeing

Last year, the data we collected before and after each intervention revealed that 60% of teachers, 71% of parents and 64% of children themselves experienced positive social, emotional and behavioural changes.

Children better prepared and able to learn

Many of our Head teachers have examined in detail the attainment history of children receiving our individual therapeutic support, reporting considerable improvements in reading, writing and maths. In several cases progress achieved by some children in one term has equalled that which would be expected over a two-year period, following an intervention.

The Journal | 29 Evaluating The Place2Be’s services


e are continuing to evaluate The Place2Be’s services in line with our Monitoring, Research and Evaluation strategy and are progressing well with our established methodologies.

‘All Hubs’ Impact report This year, we are linking up with the Fundraising team to produce an annual impact report for the organisation which will summarise, with top line findings, The Place2Be’s key outcomes. This will be available for external dissemination in order to achieve understanding of our evaluation outcomes in the public domain.

Providing value for money


t costs £7 for a child to come to The Place2Talk service which is available to all the children in the schools where we work. Children can pop in for 15 minutes at lunchtime to discuss something which is worrying them. In the 2007/2008 academic year 15,000 children accessed The Place2Talk, making a total of 46,500 visits. For children with more serious needs a child has a one-to-one session. They see a Volunteer Counsellor once a week for one hour for an academic year. The cost breakdown is £22 per hour. This time enables The Place2Be to form a relationship with the child in a safe environment and it really does make a difference. We have the evidence that The Place2Be reduces the number of exclusions and if we prevent just one child a year from being excluded the saving to society is £64,000*. If we stopped one pupil a year from being excluded from each of the schools we are working in there would be a cost saving to society of over £9million (£9,344,000). * Figure as researched and recorded by the Private Equity Foundation

£22 per hour one-to-one session

Transition model evaluation As part of the evaluation of The Place2Be’s transition model in two secondary schools, we are one of five children’s charities involved in a pilot of a subjectivewellbeing questionnaire which has been developed by New Philanthropy Capital (NPC). This questionnaire aims to help charities to capture the more ‘soft’ outcomes of their work. Following the pilot phase, the ‘Wellbeing Questionnaire’ will be available for all charities to use from October 2009.

£7 for a child to come to The Place2Talk

£9million saving to society

15,000 children accessed The Place2Talk

46,500 visits

£64,000 saving to society

Cost benefit analysis and Benchmark analysis Wei Xu, Business Impact Analyst


have been working over the past year on two major projects: Cost-Benefit Analysis and Benchmark Analysis. This is in addition to developing relationships with researchers in the field of socio-economic analysis. The cost-benefit analysis looks at the potential costsavings from The Place2Be’s school-based early intervention mental health service to individuals, families and society, and the cost-benefit ratio is looking very positive. Benchmark analysis comparing The Place2Be with other similar organisations in the field will help to identify both the advantages of The Place2Be service model, as well as some valuable lessons that could be learned from other organisations. The findings from the two projects are helping to answer the ‘Big Question’ raised by trustees and the executive team: ‘What would it take for the outcomes achieved by The Place2Be to be achieved for all children with similar needs?’

Supporting our work

Payroll Giving is a tax-efficient way of donating money directly from your wages. As the money you give comes out of your salary before tax, a typical £10 gift actually costs you just £7.80 (the additional £2.20 being made-up of money you would otherwise have paid in tax). As a first step, please talk to someone in your payroll or finance department. If your company doesn’t yet have a Payroll Giving scheme, they can set one up quickly and easily. our finance team on 020 7923 5511 or Any questions? Call email


Four-year-old Michael* lives with his half-sister, mother and her partner.


ichael was referred to The Place2Be by the Head teacher as he had witnessed repeated domestic violence at home. As a result, his behaviour in school had changed. He had become sullen and withdrawn and often displayed defiant behaviour. His teacher reported that he could be very angry and aggressive and on occasions he would choose to ignore basic requests. Initially Michael found it too difficult to walk the distance from his classroom to The Place2Be room. He would cry and scream and refuse to move. For the first half term the sessions were held in a small room next to his classroom using a selection of items from The Place2Be room. It took many weeks for him to build a relationship of trust with his counsellor. In the early days when the child was seen

around the school he would scowl at the counsellor and avoid eye contact. During his sessions, his play was filled with themes of aggression and destruction. He was bossy with his counsellor and displayed a need to be in charge at all times. As the relationship continued to grow the child began to explore The Place2Be room and he became more adventurous and inclusive in his activities. He now invites his counsellor to join in and will occasionally ask her to choose an activity. He seems more confident in expressing his feelings of anger and fear in his play and in his relationship with the counsellor. In this way, he has implicitly gained a greater sense of awareness of his difficulties. Now when he sees his counsellor around the school he will smile and wave. Michael has made huge progress since he first started at The Place2Be and his sessions are continuing. *Name changed

“The themes of his play were aggression and destruction�

The Journal | 31

Government and Third Sector Focus

Evidence pays off


oth the Department for Children, Families and Schools and the Department of Health have recognised the value of our work by confirming their continuing support for The Place2Be. Following successful applications, we have been awarded funding of over £600,000 to expand and develop our services. This reflects our growing body of evidence of the effectiveness of our work and is particularly encouraging given that the local commissioning and tendering process continues to be complex and haphazard.

Benita Refson, CEO

Working with the Welsh Assembly

Parliamentary Reception



he opening of our Cardiff Hub is quite a landmark achievement. Not only does it launch us into another country, but we are the first primary school pilot for the Welsh Assembly Government’s National School based Counselling Programme.

e held a Parliamentary Reception at Portcullis House for 450 guests, including Head teachers, MPs, Senior Officials and Leaders of the Councils and Cabinet members for Education in the Local Authorities where we have a presence. The reception was hosted by Graham Allen MP for Nottingham. “The Place2Be is a brilliant resource for children in turmoil and crisis. It gives them the opportunity and the security to talk about their feelings, and it trains adults to listen to them, especially professionals in schools and local authority services. I was delighted to host a reception for this organisation and to make Portcullis House The Place2Be on 13 October.” We have since been nominated by MSP David McLetchie for a similar reception at the Scottish Parliament, after he visited The Place2Be at Canal View Primary School in Edinburgh.

Government and Third Sector Focus

National CAMHS Review


Civil Servants and Public Sector Leaders’ day at The Place2Be


he Top Management Programme, which involved 24 top Civil Servants and Public Sector leaders spending a day with The Place2Be, was an enormous success leading to several new ‘champions’ from across different Government departments. “I recently had the good fortune of meeting many members of The Place2Be team. It’s clear The Place2Be is making a fundamental difference in many young people’s lives in a way that so many other organisations can only dream of. What hit me most was the passion, professional can-do attitude and cost effective reach, all with a most personable approach.” Garry Dryburgh, Operational Excellence Programme Director, AMEC.

‘Heads Up: Mental health of children and young people’


ew Philanthropy Capital (NPC) released their report ‘Heads Up: mental health of children and young people’ in November. The Place2Be is one of their recommended charities and the only one currently delivering a school-based mental health service. The NPC report highlighted the effective work of the charitable sector in providing valuable mental health services, but also highlighted how this is not recognised by the Government. “The Place2Be is a shining example of a charity that both measures, and is able to successfully demonstrate, the impact it achieves. In a sector where the importance of results can be overlooked, The Place2Be provides a role model for other charities.” Martin Brookes, Chief Executive, New Philanthropy Capital.

In the spotlight – media coverage Merrie Ashton, Press and Media Advisor

The Telegraph Magazine

n 2008 the Government set a review of Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS). Its purpose was to take stock of the need for different kinds of services to meet the needs of children generally and in relation to their mental health problems – and to look at the adequacy of services which are currently available. The Place2Be responded to calls for evidence and provided a very full submission emphasising the role and work of The Place2Be and the problems we face with commissioners of provision in different parts of the country. A special thanks to Peter Wilson, Clinical Advisor, for taking a lead on this. The Review was published in December 2008. It covered a wide range of issues and came up with 20 recommendations. The need to improve the workforce at all levels of the comprehensive CAMHS service was well recognised, together with the importance of providing adequate training to professionals and practitioners. Particular concerns were expressed about vulnerable groups of children, such as those who are looked after by local authorities and those in the youth justice system; and about the capacities and procedures necessary for the proper commissioning of services. Many of its recommendations focussed on how children’s trusts and other bodies can more effectively collaborate and support services and build a knowledgeable and skilled workforce. The work of The Place2Be was not directly mentioned, but the essential values that it has pioneered, such as its being school-based and accessible, were generally well recognised.

This five page feature showcased the work of The Place2Be. The article was in-depth with over 35 stakeholders interviewed. The article focused on work in the Medway, Southwark and Edinburgh Hubs.

The Observer

The Place2Be featured in a piece on self-harm amongst children highlighting that this problem affected children under the age of eleven. Peter Wilson subsequently appeared on GMTV which has six million viewers.

The Journal | 33

The National Advisory Council (NAC) of Children’s Mental Health and Psychological Wellbeing


he NAC was set up at the beginning of 2009 following one of the 20 recommendations of last year’s National CAMHS Review. Its task is to offer advice to the Government and to hold the Government to account on its delivery of plans to implement the CAMHS review recommendations. The key message of NAC is to further develop and promote the concept that mental health of children is everybody’s business. It has taken an active role in bringing people together in conferences held around the country in nine regions.

“A growing recognition of the role of schools in promoting the mental health of children and providing accessible and acceptable services to children with mental health problems.” Many issues have arisen, but of particular note is the growing recognition of the role of schools in promoting the mental health of children and providing accessible and acceptable services to children with mental health problems. Peter Wilson has attended some of its central and local meetings. He highlighted the importance of the voluntary sector in the broad field of child and adolescent mental health services (something that was not emphasised in the review) and the highly relevant contribution that The Place2Be makes in providing such a comprehensive service based in schools.

Line of Vision exhibition, National Gallery (April – May)

An exhibition of artwork created by six Place2Be schools was displayed at The National Gallery. The exhibition generated coverage on BBC London News, Guardian online and in specialist education and parenting magazines. The participating schools were from Brent, Enfield, Greenwich and Southwark.

Participating in a Research Project Sonia Sodha, Senior Researcher Capabilities Programme, Demos


he Place2Be is participating in research focusing on children aged 7-16 who display signs of being at risk of social exclusion in later life. Demos is undertaking a year-long project (supported by the Private Equity Foundation) examining how we can more effectively tackle children’s disengagement from their learning – and the risk factors that underpin it – early on.

May 2009, which argued that one important area schools need to be supported in is developing social and emotional competencies and promoting emotional wellbeing. It also pointed to the important role of the voluntary and community sector in tackling educational disengagement and argued that there needs to be more of an emphasis on making it easier for schools and local government to work with the sector in improving

We published an interim report, ‘A Stitch in Time’, in

outcomes for children and young people. The Place2Be was one of the case study initiatives we reviewed for the report, and we visited Surrey Square Junior School as part of our research. We drew some general lessons about what makes programmes effective from this and other case studies. The report can be downloaded from

The commissioning relationship with our statutory partners Mick Atkinson, Contracts and Commissioning Manager


n the past year we have developed many new working relationships with our statutory partners. We have also been a key Third Sector organisation advising and delivering both training and direct services within the Government’s Targeted Mental Health in Schools (TaMHS) Pathfinder Project. Our TaMHS work in Leeds, Ealing, Blyth and Southwark is already being recognised nationally as being exemplary. On a broader level The Place2Be continues to help Local and Health Authorities meet their key outcomes. We

are in a great ‘Commissionready’ state – providing value for money, as evidenced by our Business Impact Analyst as well as achieving incredible outcomes, as shown by our research, monitoring and evaluation data. However, an area of continued frustration to us (and to a large degree our statutory partners) is the slow rate of change whilst moving towards effective public sector commissioning. This is compounded by a lack of clarity between public sector purchasers and providers. This lack of distinction has been

Radio 4 Woman’s Hour

Benita Refson appeared live on Woman’s Hour alongside Delyth Morgan, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Children, Young People and Families. This resulted in the second highest number of internet hits in a day at 516 hits.

typified by a disproportionate amount of public money being invested in in-house Local Authority and Health Trust services rather than invested in proven, effective and independent early intervention services like The Place2Be. Cleary the world of Public Sector Commissioning will be profoundly affected by the economic climate over the next few years. Our very real hope is that it will be an era when efficient, value-formoney, effective services like The Place2Be will come to the fore.

The Scotsman

The Scotsman featured an article on The Place2Be during Anti-Bullying Week.

The Times, T2

‘Bringing calm to the classroom’ highlighted the importance of early intervention and the effectiveness of The Place2Talk. The article concentrated on the Nottingham Hub.

Planning for the future:

Sustainable funding Income from companies, trusts and individuals makes an increasingly important contribution to our overall income. Support from a wide range of fundraising sources is particularly valuable for the sustainability and independence of our work and we are hugely grateful to our generous donors. Jennie Meadows, Head of Fundraising

Now, not Later


n 2008 we launched our Now, not Later fundraising appeal for our new training centre and to expand our work into new areas. We are delighted with progress to date, despite the challenging economic backdrop, and are grateful to our Campaign Board for actively helping to raise funds and profile.

We were fortunate to benefit from a Roller Disco, hosted by Sam Waley-Cohen and his committee which included Kate Middleton. This tremendous evening raised over £14,000 for The Place2Be, and saw us widely featured in national press. The Place2Be also hosted a Super Women’s Lunch at Hush restaurant in London. Over 40 professional women joined us to learn more about The Place2Be and to hear Nicola Horlick tell us about her extraordinary life. Brunswick Group kindly hosted a breakfast at their offices where Anthony Bolton, President of Investments at FIL Investments International, talked to a group of senior level business people about global equity markets. This unique opportunity introduced us to numerous potential new supporters. We are also pleased to have benefited from The Place2Eat concept, with offers in restaurants including Ffionas, Hush and Villandry.

In the spotlight – media coverage

Roller Disco

The Place2Be was one of two charities to benefit from a roller disco attended by Kate Middleton. The event was featured in Hello! Magazine and Tatler and extensively reported in the national and tabloid newspapers. The event generated 638 hits on the website – the greatest number this year – and raised over £10,000 for The Place2Be. The event also resulted in an article in the Daily Mail on The Place2Be and domestic violence, which was published in June.

The Journal | 35 Corporate supporters


Credit Suisse


We were delighted when Credit Suisse decided to extend their Charity of the Year partnership with us into 2009 to raise funds for our new hub in Tower Hamlets and give continued support for our work in the London area. Credit Suisse employees have shown a variety of creative, strenuous and fun ways to raise funds, including a London-to-Paris team triathlon, fashion show, ‘Moto2Be’ motorbike tour, ‘Boss in Detention’, wine tasting, auctions, raffles and many more. Events planned for 2009 include a race against the clock as employees work in relay teams and visit 100 London landmarks in just ten hours.   Credit Suisse also supported Line of Vision in conjunction with The National Gallery. Children from Place2Be schools in London had the unique opportunity to have their artwork displayed in the Gallery. “The whole experience for the children was outside their usual frame of reference. From the opulence of the gallery and being encouraged to really look at a painting in detail, to the wealth of unfamiliar art materials on offer and the gentle encouragement of the talented artists-in-residence at the workshops, there were many new and different experiences to process and enjoy.” -  Francesca Johnson, School Project Manager, De Bohun Primary School.

Standard Life Charity of the Year We were delighted to be chosen as Standard Life’s charity partner following a staff vote. The partnership raised a staggering £179,500 from a variety of imaginative fundraising activities including a 10k run, a Christmas raffle and Standard Life’s own answer to the ‘X Factor’ – ‘SuperStarWars’, as well as many individual-sponsored sporting challenges.

Martin Currie Rob Roy Challenge The Place2Be was one of four beneficiary charities for this year’s challenge; a 55 mile hike and bike ride challenge along the beautiful Rob Roy Way in Scotland in June 2009. The Place2Be supporters joined 589 participants to complete the challenge including teams from Credit Suisse, The Miller Group, Edinburgh Hub, Scotland National Team and Core Hub. We are delighted to have been chosen as one of the charity partners of Quintessentially, the international luxury lifestyle group. Many exciting fundraising and media events are planned. We are grateful to the Private Equity Foundation for their continued support of our work in new hubs and of our fundraising team and to Aspect Capital for their very generous support. We are also grateful to Barclays Wealth, Deutsche Bank and UBS and are delighted that JP Morgan has generously agreed to fund an exciting new programme of training in Lambeth. Our thanks to Zurich Community Trust for their continuing generous support of our work in Greenwich and Croydon. We also thank Macdonald Hotels and Artemis Investment Management for their ongoing support of our work in Scotland and Clifford Chance LLP for selling our charity Christmas cards.

Radio 4 Appeal

We were delighted to be awarded the BBC Radio 4 Charity Appeal which was recorded by Simon Marshall, former Head teacher at a Place2Be school in Durham. The appeal highlighted some of the very grave problems which primary school children bring to school and the essential on-site support provided by The Place2Be. Over £15,000 was generated and it significantly raised the charity’s profile.

We recently received an anonymous £100 donation with the message: “Heard your appeal on Radio 4 a few months ago, and was very moved. The work you do sounds very special, and reminded me how lucky our family is. Keep up the great work.”

e were delighted to benefit from the support of so many trusts around the country. In particular we would like to thank The Garfield Weston Foundation for their extremely generous donation of £250,000 for our new Training Centre. We also benefited from kind support from The John Ellerman Foundation, The Clore Duffield Foundation, The Mercers’ Company, Henry Smith Charity, Moffat Charitable Trust, The Robertson Trust, The Baring Foundation and Zurich Community Trust, amongst many others to which we extend our grateful thanks.

Billy Elliot


et again we are thrilled to have received support from the Victoria Palace Theatre and the Billy Elliot cast and crew. Through their generosity and bucket collections after performances they raised £9000 for the Durham Hub. Excitingly Billy Elliot has now gone stateside and the support for our work has become transatlantic! The cast and crew of Billy Elliot on Broadway have raised over £12,000 and even sent us some wonderful and imaginative gifts. A massive thank you to all involved with the Billy Elliot productions both in London and New York and to all the theatre goers who gave so generously to The Place2Be.

Friends old and new We are grateful to our loyal supporters who give regularly to The Place2Be. We are hoping to raise the number of donors who give on a committed basis and are planning a series of Best Friends Dinners in November 2009 to spread the word and encourage more Friends to sign up to a monthly contribution.

For further information on how to get involved please contact: Sarah Walker at Core Hub.

Other media coverage

This year has included coverage on BBC News and BBC Radio 2 in response to the Ofsted report on exclusions of 4-7 year olds, two articles in Times Education Supplement Scotland (TESS), plus coverage in regional and specialist press.

Planning for the future: Sustainable funding

Getting active to support The Place2Be


uring the last year our supporters have undertaken a range of challenges to raise funds for our work. 11 determined souls completed the Royal Parks Half Marathon in October 2008 1 brave athlete competed in the Mazda London Triathlon in August 2008

1 supporter and their bike completed a London to Paris cycle ride in September 2008 1 fearless supporter jumped out of a plane (with a parachute) in January 2009 2 credit Suisse legends climbed Kilimanjaro in February 2009 3 runners completed the Edinburgh Marathon in May 2009 31 adventurous supporters completed the 55 mile Rob Roy Challenge in June 2009 29 runners finished the British 10K London Run in July 2009

Events Calendar 11 Oct 2009

Royal Parks Half Marathon 13.1 miles through London’s Royal Parks.

24 October 2009 Trek Nepal Join other Place2Be supporters for an 11-day trek of a lifetime in the Himalayan Annapurnas, home to some of the highest peaks in the world. November 2009 Best Friends Dinners Join hundreds of Place2Be supporters hosting dinner parties over one week in November, introducing their friends to The Place2Be. Autumn 2009 The place2Be London events series We’re planning a series of exciting events in a unique venue in Soho. Look out for more details. 5/6 Dec 2009 Santa Run, London Location and date tbc Get into the festive spirit and run 5K with 1000 other santas! 26 April 2010 London Marathon The Place2Be has one place in the greatest marathon in the world.

Organise your own event! We are extremely grateful to The John Laing Charitable Trust for generously supporting our new database. This is fundamental to the development of our future fundraising strategy and will aid us in keeping our funders updated.

For more details on any of above events, or for help organising your own event for The Place2Be contact or call 020 7923 5521 We can also provide you with sponsorship forms, information on setting up online donation pages, and fact sheets about The Place2Be if you would like them.

The Journal | 37


9-year-old Ajay* was referred by his mother and grandmother as his behaviour and sense of self had deteriorated disturbingly.


hen Ajay was a baby he was rejected by his father, who left his mother and refused to allow Ajay to call him ‘Dad’. Then when he was five, his father decided he wanted to be involved. However, Ajay did not and does not trust him and barely speaks with him. More recently, his mother’s partner left, so he experienced further loss and rejection. His mother and grandmother described him at home as being very angry; banging doors, clenching fists, but also turning that anger inwards. He would frequently say “I want to die, everyone hates me, you don’t love me”. He also had a very poor body image and often referred to himself as fat. During the assessment meeting between Ajay and the School Project Manager, Ajay was preoccupied with his friendships and feeling left out of the group. He couldn’t be diverted from this. He even spoke of a friend he has not seen for three years that he still misses and who seems to be at the forefront of his mind. Ajay rarely smiled and looked very sad most of the time. The only time a smile was apparent, albeit a faint smile, was when he spoke of his love of animals and desire to own a puppy. Since he started his sessions Ajay is building a trusting relationship with his Place2Be Counsellor. It is hoped that over time this relationship will enable Ajay to explore his very strong thoughts and feelings relating to attachment and loss, rather than acting out in anger. He seemed to find it difficult to use The Place2Be room in his first few sessions, as if

He would frequently say, “I want to die, everyone hates me, you don’t love me.” he felt he was not worthy of inhabiting the space or expressing himself within it. By his third session he seemed more liberated, making a mess, having an impact, allowing himself to appreciate the art work he had done there. In supervision the counsellor and SPM discussed the therapeutic importance of accepting Ajay, setting clear boundaries and being open and responsive to

all aspects of him. This was particularly pertinent as his behaviour in school was simultaneously getting worse and he was acting out aggressively towards both teachers and peers. Ajay is a very troubled boy and is easily enraged. There is a long way to go therapeutically, but this term has seen the beginnings of a trusting relationship being developed between him and his counsellor. He is using drawing as a way of communicating the deepest and most painful parts of him to do with his anger and fear in relation to his family. His counsellor is learning about his inner world and finding ways to explore this with him. *Name changed

Cardiff Hub News 2,000 children in 6 schools

The Place2Be in Wales at last! Linda Nicklin, Hub Manager, with Head teachers Jane Jenkins, Mandy Parish, Deborah Lewis, Gareth Davies, Ferne Davies and Vicky Meadows


t is now over four years since The Place2Be was first brought to the attention of a group of excited Head teachers in Cardiff. Following a trip to Edinburgh to see The Place2Be in action, a number of schools started the long and arduous journey to secure funding to establish this much needed service. All six schools in the hub are in economically deprived areas of the city, with high levels of free school meals (up to 65%) and very diverse pupil populations. The hub was launched in April 2009 and the School Project Managers are busy establishing The Place2Be rooms and The Place2Talk service, both of which are eagerly anticipated by children, staff and parents in our schools. Head teachers have stressed to me their belief that this level of emotional input and support for their most vulnerable learners will have positive long-term emotional and hence educational benefits for all children and the wider school community:

“We see the establishment of The Place2Be as our opportunity to make a difference in our school. Children in need of emotional support often find it difficult to learn. It is early days, but we are delighted with the children’s reaction to the new Place2Talk service and staff are keen to support the implementation of other services. Our long-term vision for The Place2Be is that it will have a positive impact on the emotional well-being of our children, their families and the whole school community.” - Ferne Davies, Head teacher, Ninian Park Primary School As well as the school contributions, we are grateful for financial assistance from HBOS Foundation, Private Equity Foundation, Cardiff LEA and WAG. Securing funding in the long-term is the on-going challenge for our group in order to provide this much needed resource for the pupils of Cardiff.

"We’re delighted with the children’s reaction to the new Place2Talk service and staff are keen to support the implementation of other services"

School-based Counselling Services in Wales: a National Strategy Sylvia Jones, Coordinator for Schoolbased Counselling, Pupil Engagement Team, Welsh Assembly


he Welsh Assembly Government has set out a strategy for developing school-based counselling services for young people that are safe, accessible and of a high standard. Developing a universal school-based counselling service for all children and young people in Wales was a recommendation of the Children’s Commissioner for Wales’s Clywch Inquiry Report which was accepted by the Welsh Assembly Government. Funding of £6.5m has been made available over three years to take forward the strategy. The goal is to have counselling provision available to all school pupils giving them confidence that their needs will be heard and addressed. This will need to complement the range of approaches already available in schools that help to support the health, emotional and social needs of pupils and lead to a healthy school culture. Initially, implementation of the strategy has concentrated on expanding provision for children and young people of secondary school age, but over the next two years the Welsh Assembly Government is supporting four primary school pilots across Wales. We are delighted therefore to support the proposal to pilot the development of The Place2Be’s work in primary schools across Cardiff and look forward to positive outcomes for children, helping to remove barriers to learning and laying the foundations for healthy life choices in later years.

The Journal | 39 “We are delighted to have The Place2Be at our school as it will provide much-needed additional support to each child’s all-round emotional development; enabling us to be better placed to deliver our core purpose of learning and teaching.” Mandy Paish, Head teacher, Grangetown Primary

New Developments to Support Children and Families in Cardiff Norman Cooke, Inclusion Manager, Cardiff LEA


ith a growing interest in – and deeper understanding of – projects such as SEAL (Social Emotional Aspects of Learning) six primary schools began work to establish a programme of counselling and support for their pupils. The Head teachers returned from their visit to Edinburgh full of enthusiasm and conviction to set up a scheme in their schools.

will work closely with The Place2Be team over the next three years to develop the scheme. The strong focus on SEAL in Cardiff brings together the public, private and voluntary sectors in imaginative ways to support all young people in the city. Working with The Place2Be will add to the capacity of Cardiff’s Children and Young People's Partnership to deliver services across the city. Cardiff has developed a number of schemes in both its primary and secondary schools and The Place2Be will dovetail with these.

"Proud to be the first in Wales to work with this nationally acclaimed organisation"

As with all new projects finance is always a key issue, but through collaborative working with the LEA and the Welsh Assembly the project was established using school funds and a grant from the Welsh Assembly to develop a pilot for primary school-based counselling. By working closely together a project team has been developed to launch the programme in September 2009. The Head teachers and schools

This group of Cardiff primary schools is proud to be the first in Wales to set up a Place2Be hub and work with this nationally acclaimed organisation. We are all looking forward to seeing The Place2Be develop and roll-out to more schools in the future.

“The establishment of The Place2Be is our opportunity to make a difference. Children in need of emotional support often find it difficult to learn. Our long-term vision is that The Place2Be will have a positive impact on the emotional well-being of our children, their families & the wider school community.“ Ferne Davies, Head teacher, Ninian Park Primary

“We are really excited about the development of The Place2Be. It will enable us to raise levels of emotional literacy for our most vulnerable children and support staff to build relationships with some of our hardest-to-reach families.” Jane Jenkins, Head teacher, Moorland Primary

Leeds Hub News 2,800 children in 9 schools

Conception Bernadette Broderick, Hub Manager


n 2008 Leeds was awarded Beacon City status for promoting Local Strategic Partnerships which work to "narrow the gap between the most disadvantaged people and communities and the rest of the city." This co-ordination has greatly facilitated me in making those all important links, ready for our launch into nine South Leeds schools. I hope to foster these relationships so that our presence here properly reflects the needs of the schools and the local communities and complements existing services. So much preparatory work has been done both locally and in Core Hub and there’s such great commitment from the Head teachers that it’s clear the Leeds Hub will be busy and rewarding. Yorkshire folk are very friendly and welcoming and we look forward to providing a first class service for our Leeds schools.

Challenging taboos Dave Bache, Emotional and Behavioural Consultant, EducationLeeds


am delighted that The Place2Be is now here. From early soundings, recommendations, visits to other hubs, meetings, planning, and inevitably further’s happening, here and now.

By locating The Place2Be in our schools and local settings we are aiming to challenge some of the taboos and barriers that can isolate families and label children. One significant change already underway is how our local communities view and access ‘Mental Health Services’. Chimming with Healthy schools, SEAL and safer communities The Place2Be is part of the quest to normalise emotional health.

The Targeted Mental Health in Schools (TaMHS) Project Jo Krasinski, Lead Emotional Health and Wellbeing Consultant, TaMHS Project


he TaMHS Project began in Leeds in September 2008 following a successful bid from Leeds CAMHS and Education Leeds to the DCSF. Twenty four schools in Leeds from three areas are taking part in this Pathfinder project. The project aims to "transform the way that mental health support is delivered to children aged 5 to 13; to improve their mental wellbeing; and tackle problems more quickly….bringing schools and support services together – on the ground and strategically". The remit is to "develop innovative ways of bringing mental health expertise into schools, and to use the available evidence base to deliver the best support to children and families" (DCSF). To fulfil this we tendered for an early intervention service for the nine South Leeds schools involved in the project. This was a joint-funded partnership between TaMHS, the South Area Management Board and the schools themselves. The Place2Be were successful in being awarded the tender through their established set up, delivery plan and proven positive outcomes for children and their families.

High hopes

Maura Laverty, Head teacher, St Anthony’s Primary School I’m hoping that The Place2Be will help us address issues which we’re unable to do by ourselves. By engaging The Place2Be we’ve been able to provide the high quality resources necessary to ensure that our most vulnerable pupils receive only the best. Our School Project Manager has been in post just over one week, and has begun to form relationships with staff, parents and pupils. It is very early days but we have high hopes that she will be able to provide our children with the extra support they need.

Perfect Match

Margaret Beesley, Head teacher, Hugh Gaitskill Primary This is a very exciting time for our school. We have a fantastic School Project Manager – Sarah Hayward – who is a perfect match to our school. Having had the privilege of interviewing prospective candidates to fill the post in Leeds, I have witnessed the dedication, drive and high calibre of those appointed and I know they are going to make a significant difference to the emotional wellbeing of our pupils. My vision is for The Place2Be to be so successful that prospective new schools will visit us to view best practice. Watch this space!

The Journal | 41

Partnership working: The Place2Be and CAMHS

"A more specialised approach" Valerie Smith, Area Manager , South Leeds Pupil Development Centre experience in planning, devising and delivering a personalised emotional curriculum, usually in small groups. We work in close partnership with the referring school for up to a term and schools can refer several children at the same time.

Penny Brown, Senior Practitioner CAMHS


was really pleased to become the link person between Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) and The Place2Be in Leeds.

For some children with more complex needs it becomes obvious this is the beginning of an emotional journey and they require a more specialised approach to support them and keep them safe along the way. Having The Place2Be enables us to approach someone who can offer children the counselling they need to support them through a complex time or deal with difficult issues from their past that are impacting negatively.

I qualified as an Occupational Therapist in 1982 and early on decided to specialise in the field of CAMHS. My career has included time working as a schoolbased Mental Health Practitioner. This experience, unlike any other, convinced me about the importance of offering a high quality counselling service within the school setting. In May I met with all the newly appointed School Project Managers to raise awareness of the way that CAMHS works in Leeds. Following this, I look forward to developing a two-way referral pathway between us. I believe such partnership working will ensure that children in South Leeds will thus get the best possible care.


n 2001 five Pupil Development Centres were founded across the city in response to the growing number of primary-aged children with social and emotional barriers to their learning and socialising. We six professionals in the South Leeds centre have a wide range of knowledge and

Equally a child, who is making progress with their Place2Be Counsellor, could access a PDC group to put into practice their growing selfesteem or improved self-control. We are already forging robust, professional links with our The Place2Be colleagues and I know this will expand the continuum of support and help to improve the life chances for children and families in south Leeds.

Burnley Hub News 1,700 children in 6 schools

Bringing The Place2Be to Burnley Chris Keene, (Local Champion), Governor, Cherry Fold and St Mary’s Schools (and former Chair of Governors, Cherry Fold)


’m from a generation that definitely wasn’t brought up with computers and the internet, which means that my early online searches were usually unsuccessful. Thankfully I was more confident online by 2004, because this improvement was needed after a discussion we’d had at Cherry Fold Community Primary School about the emotional distress that many of our children experience in their daily lives.

Burnley, Pendle and Rossendale: Our first year Polly Blackley, Hub Manager May 2008 – with great pleasure and some trepidation I join my team, who are all busy building relationships in the schools and ordering play and art materials for The Place2Be rooms. I begin settling into my office, getting to know my School Project Managers and my six schools, and finding my way around Burnley. Satellite navigation helps. June 2008 – The Place2Talk is launched to an enthusiastic reception from the children in Key Stage 2. SPMs begin one-to-one work with the first 11 children to attend The Place2Be. September 2008 – we welcome our first nine

We agreed that our pupils would benefit from a school-based counselling service, so I undertook to do some research into possible models and partners. It turned out to be one of the easiest and most successful uses of a search engine I’ve ever undertaken, because after typing in a few of the key words The Place2Be came out at the top of the list! Volunteer Counsellors, with a lively Hub Induction Day at Cherry Fold School, where it all began. Soon, another 30 children are being seen in The Place2Be. November 2008 – the long-awaited Launch!! We are joined by two Mayors, the local MP, a local councillor, and some senior DCSF and Primary Care Trust staff. The children of Cherry Fold School sing beautifully and we celebrate our success. December 2008 – funding is secured from the Primary Care Trust to carry out a year-long independent evaluation of The Place2Be’s work in Burnley, Pendle and Rossendale. January 2009 – another five VCs join the hub. Groupwork starts in three schools with themes of self-esteem, confidence, bereavement and friendship. The Place2Talk is gradually rolled out to Key Stage 1 and the Place2Talk song is heard in the playground… April 2009 – two more VCs join us in the summer term, and we are a year old!

I read through the information on their website with rising excitement, because everything on our checklist for an ideal child-centred service at Cherry Fold was mentioned. It seemed as if The Place2Be had read our minds and created an approach that would exactly meet the needs of our children.

"The Place2Be came out at the top of the list!"

The Journal | 43

I knew The Place2Be was going to be a good thing for my school Julie Burnside, Head teacher, Haslingden Primary School

Come rain or snow…


y staff and parents and pupils loved it from the start. On a good week, The Place2Be is invaluable and deals with the issues that concern us as staff in school. That’s deals with – not takes note of, worries about, writes a letter or e-mail demanding something is done. Actually deals with. Practically. With children in need. With an outcome. Other agencies take note of the outcome – a report from The Place2Be for Social Services for example, carries real credence and has helped support many contentious issues from school staff.

Julie Davies, School Project Manager, Rosewood Community Primary School.


building good relations. So exciting, yet so exhausting.

The first few months consisted of lots of training and inductions, going to London, meeting new people, the teachers at the school, ordering equipment for The Place2Be room. Getting my face known with the children and teachers was vital to

Since then The Place2Talk has been established, with at least three children visiting every lunchtime. Volunteer Counsellors have now been seeing children in The Place2Be for several months. The children are very keen to go to The Place2Be, and the boxes they use to keep their work in are very special to them. My work with parents and teachers and in The Place2Think is stimulating and interesting. In short I would describe the whole experience like my favourite bottle of wine: “A beautiful concoction of flavours with great depth, warmth and a bright lasting finish”.

he Place2Be interview came and so did the snow and hail just as I tried to get my car up the hill to the school. I skidded to a halt half way up and decided to walk the rest of the way. When I got there I was informed that I would have to wait an hour due to someone else breaking down on the motorway! But I got this wonderful job and I was elated.

On a bad week, The Place2Be is elevated beyond invaluable. When a parent died tragically, The Place2Be offered immediate bereavement counselling to the children. Then weeks later deeper turmoil was uncovered in the family. Being able to support children promptly in the school environment, without having to refer them to another agency, makes all the difference at a time like this. Children are not the only beneficiaries. During weeks that surpass bad, support from the School Project Manager for all staff, including myself, has really helped, adding to the resilience of my staff team and enabling us to keep going! The wider support from The Place2Be network, especially with training and recruitment, adds experience and expertise to this service, without which I would feel adrift. The numbers of children accessing some element of The Place2Be are huge and its position in school is central. After one year, it is already a non-negotiable budget item – and a highly cost effective one at that.

Work with children 1:1 no. of 1:1 no. of children sessions Autumn 08 42 302 Spring 09 59 500

Groupwork no. Circle time no. of sessions of sessions

P2Talk total no. P2Talk no. of of sessions different children

0 21

345 434

0 4

230 325

Work with adults (in hours) Autumn 08 Spring 09

Parent & Teachers Carers

SENCO & Teaching Assistant

Other school staff

External Agencies

32 28

34 39

96 93

17 28

31 31

Manchester Hub News 2,200 children in 6 schools

Toddling Karen Martin Rodriguez, Hub Manager


s we are deep in our second year of development I have been reflecting on the changes that have taken place over the past twelve months. Our core services are up and running in all the schools and we have just completed our second year of school reviews. The theme running through all the reviews was how well each project has become embedded within school life. Our conversations all reflected the ongoing dialogue between us and each of the schools on the emotional wellbeing of their children. Our establishment in Manchester has seen the creation of new partnerships in terms of links with the Primary Care Trust and bringing new representation onto our Steering Group, particularly from partners in Health and Children’s Services. We have further developed relationships with our corporate partners, notably the Macdonald Manchester Hotel, who very kindly provide us with conference facilities to run our Hub Inductions and our successful Counsellor lecture, which took place in the spring term. We are also now working with colleagues across the city on setting standards for therapeutic work in schools and look forward to the development of this area of work.

The development of a strong Steering Group Jonathan Wilding, Senior Consultant Extended Schools Team, Manchester City Council.


have been attending the hub Steering Group meetings since January 2006, when I was invited to attend because five of the six schools involved were under the Extended Schools initiative. I saw clear links between the work of The Place2Be and the Extended Schools core offer of services and was keen to support schools in commissioning a service which supported the delivery of these, as working in partnership is crucial to the success of our agenda. Likewise, the schools themselves were keen to use some of their allocated Extended Schools resources to commission The Place2Be, so it seemed wise for me to become involved with a watching brief.

the laying of sound foundations, particularly in this type of work, is a prerequisite for success. Evidence showing the positive impact The Place2Be services have is extremely well documented from their work in other areas. Having now worked alongside the project for three years (how time flies!) I can see that this growing body of evidence is used to shape and refine the way the organisation works: it continues to evolve, which can be seen most recently in the move to expand the services being offered to parents.

"I was immediately impressed with the professionalism and clarity of vision"

I was immediately impressed with the professionalism of the organisation and the clarity of vision and purpose. This was reflected in the thorough and considered preparations for the rollout of the service and the understanding that

Being involved with the Steering Group provides an excellent perspective and we are now beginning to see strong evidence of the significant impact this is having on children in each of the schools in the Manchester Hub as the project becomes embedded. I can honestly say I am proud to be supporting the work of such a valuable project.

The Journal | 45 Children showcase the work Rachel Walker, School Project Manager, Claremont Primary School


laremont hosted a ‘Being is Believing’ visit this term to demonstrate how The Place2Be functions within a school. We had a variety of guests including Head teachers from Leeds and potential funders from the local area. The visit combined information about the history, funding, theoretical orientation and vision of The Place2Be with demonstrations of how the project works: Three pupils showcased how a Place2Talk session might happen. We used puppets to talk about how three friends would fall out and what they could do to make friends again. The children were very positive about The Place2Talk; confidently telling how it helped them to sort out their own friendship problems. Visitor feedback emphasised that the children’s views were instrumental in showing the value of the service to them.

Deepening the service Keith Harvey, School Project Manager, Heald Place Primary


here is now a real sense of us becoming embedded as a familiar and trusted aspect of school life here at Heald Place. Both children and staff seem to clearly distinguish The Place2Be from other internal support (e.g. Learning Support Mentors) and external services (e.g. Child And Mental Health Services). Furthermore, feedback from the Senior Management Team in the school confirms the impression that we’ve established a strong and trusted profile. I have also noticed a deeper understanding since we started over a year ago. For example, those adults referring children to The Place2Be one-to-one service identify more clearly than before which children need emotional support – particularly the quieter children in class. The school and the children seem willing to make strong commitments to therapeutic work once a need is identified. Self-referrals to The Place2Talk have also changed since the first couple of terms, with children now attending the service less out of curiosity and more because of the issues affecting them, such as friendship problems and transition to secondary school. That’s not to say next year won’t be full of challenges: I feel that teachers’ needs might better be served by more timetabled, less ad hoc Place2Think sessions. Also, the setting-up of therapeutic group work with children is a goal for next term. In other words, there will be no resting upon our laurels!

Work with children 1:1 no. of 1:1 no. of children sessions Autumn 08 64 520 Spring 09 86 662

Groupwork no. Circle time no. of sessions of sessions

P2Talk total no. P2Talk no. of of sessions different children

0 0

376 369

8 9

310 292

Work with adults (in hours) Autumn 08 Spring 09

Parent & Teachers Carers

SENCO & Teaching Assistant

Other school staff

External Agencies

15 11

21 43

48 44

4 6

15 20

Wandsworth Hub News 3,500 children in 11 schools

Relationships Marlene Mitchell, Hub Manager

The value of the Steering Group


Philip Prior, Principal Educational Psychologist, Wandsworth Council

came into this post in April, having been immensely happy as a School Project Manager in another hub. I had no idea how impacting it would be to move out of my comfort zone. I missed the reassuringly familiar journey to work, I missed the tiny office which had stored all my things for five years and I missed my old routine. What I missed the most were the relationships I was leaving behind.


have been involved with The Place2Be since 1994, in my role as Educational Psychologist in Medway. Through the local Steering Group, a multi-agency forum developed and many relationships were forged across the authority at a time when ‘multi-agency’ working was a lot less in vogue than it is now. When I came to Wandsworth in 2001, there was no Place2Be presence, but I began to come across a number of people in the borough who had heard of, or who had had something to do with, The Place2Be in the past. After a while, with the support of people at The Place2Be and a handful of interested schools a nascent Steering Group formed in Wandsworth. 

There were my fellow SPMs with whom I’d spent so much time; Volunteer Counsellors I’d guided and supervised; a Hub Manager who had shown me how much a project could safely offer in school; and a Head teacher and SENCO who were prepared to tread unfamiliar therapeutic paths and allowed me to influence the thinking around emotional literacy in their school. I supported teachers, particularly those who were new or in their first year of teaching, I got to know and respect the work of Learning Mentors and Teaching Assistants and achieved a relationship with the School Premises Manager. I also met many parents and formed trusting relationships with them so that we could begin to think about the needs of their children. In all these relationships I had seen children and adults who were at times anxious, angry and confused. I had witnessed tears and shared their private thoughts. I had also experienced the great joy that this work had brought to me. I feared, maybe irrationally, that I could not replace my loss. Of course I was wrong! I am already experiencing the pleasure of establishing relationships within my new work setting in Wandsworth. I am enjoying the opportunity to see these relationships begin to grow and exploring the exciting possibilities that this will bring.

Four long years later, the initial hub finally became operational, and like Medway, has grown in size and influence. The challenging early years led to the development of many relationships within the Steering Group that I think enabled it to have the strength of thought and clarity of purpose to overcome adversity and finally to make it happen. These included the local police, who have been enthusiastic advocates throughout, public health and members of the Primary Care Trust, many local authority supporters including council members, all The Place2Be staff, and of course the schools themselves. 

"I had seen children and adults who were at times anxious, angry and confused. I had witnessed tears and shared their private thoughts."

The schools have become a cohesive group who have embraced The Place2Be’s ideals, whilst supporting and encouraging each other. I am glad to say that I have got to know many people that I might otherwise have not and I’m proud to be involved in the development of a genuinely bottom-up, schools-led initiative that now benefits many hundreds of children in the borough’s schools, as well as those who live and work with them.  

The Journal | 47 Fostering a successful partnership Pramilla Fouracre, Head teacher, Heathmere Primary School


he Place2Be has only been in our school for a short while, but we have already established an efficient and effective partnership. This makes me confident that we can offer the therapeutic support that the children deserve. The working relationship between the SPM, SENCO and myself is key. We work closely together, we share expectations and common goals. We have clear boundaries and guidelines within the way that the school and The Place2Be operate as a team. These factors have been all-important in fostering a partnership that is so successful and productive at Heathmere. We are now excited to start piloting support to parents and are confident this will extend our partnership with The Place2Be and enhance the service to our families within the school.

Mutual respect Wilhma Sik, School Project Manager, High View Primary School


am fortunate to enjoy a robust relationship with Melissa James, the Learning Mentor at High View. We have successfully facilitated two groups together and are about to embark on our third. This success in co-facilitation is due to a relationship of mutual respect and reflective practice, enhanced by an awareness of each other’s professional background and theoretical orientation. Shared planning and debriefing is an important part of our practice. Together these elements are central to our group work, and enable change to occur for the group members in areas such as confidence, increasing social skills and reducing anxiety around transitions.

"Being Is Believing": Engaging with funders

Training enhances relationships with parents Teri Costello, SENCO, St.Joseph’s Catholic School

Jane Hampson, School Project Manager, Shaftesbury Park School


ne unanticipated bonus of our relationship with The Place2Be is the training offered for Support Staff and Teachers. Training away from school encourages an honest and questioning approach and a safe forum in which to admit concerns. There is very little training on offer for the newly qualified teacher around working with more challenging parents. Whilst experience often reveals that these parents have somewhat negative memories of their own time at school, specific training that directs colleagues to reflect upon why some parents present as ‘difficult’ is invaluable. Role play and the chance to explore issues around body language; what people say; and what they actually mean, together with strategies for personal safety were all part of a recent Place2Be training course attended and appreciated by a newly qualified colleague. The better our relationships with parents, the more we can help their children and ensure that every child – and parent – really does matter.


uring the summer term we invited a group of potential funders to Shaftesbury Park to hear about the work we do. The children took centre stage: they met the visitors and took them on a tour of the school. Younger children spoke to the guests about their experiences of The Place2Talk. Older children did a role play about how The Place2Be can help with friendships and bullying. The children also sang a song for us which they wrote themselves. Alongside the children’s contributions, the Head teacher spoke warmly about the project in her school and a parent bravely said something about her experiences of her daughter using The Place2Be. The morning was an unqualified success and I was proud to be a part of this wonderful occasion.

Work with children 1:1 no. of 1:1 no. of children sessions Autumn 08 97 707 Spring 09 108 777

Groupwork no. Circle time no. of sessions of sessions

P2Talk total no. P2Talk no. of of sessions different children

0 18

481 485

5 1

498 536

Work with adults (in hours) Autumn 08 Spring 09

Parent & Teachers Carers

SENCO & Teaching Assistant

Other school staff

External Agencies

37 30

71 72

76 110

30 20

31 30

Southwark Hub News 2,500 children in 10 schools

Communication Sarah Kendrick, Hub Manager


ver 100 languages are spoken in Southwark schools. Our aim is to reach the children who speak each of them but we are not specialists in linguistics. Our strength instead is to listen, to engage and to ‘translate’ important messages. The success with which we engage with the children we see is achieved in no small measure by always attuning ourselves to what we are being told, by using our entire selves to hear what is being said and to understand what is going on. Our training as therapists and counsellors is driven by this principle and we take it very seriously because it is by listening well to the messages we receive in words and pictures, that we can first understand, then translate their content as it is meant. Translation involves making meaning out of communications that can appear to have none. Often it simply involves helping the children we work with to hear just what it is they are expressing. We also help other people involved in caring for the children to make sense of what is being said. In each of our schools in each of the one-to-one, Place2Talk, group, Place2Think, parent sessions and in staff meetings and multi-agency meetings we listen and translate respectfully and coherently and in plain language the messages children give us, so that those we work with feel heard and understood, whatever language they speak.

Finding a voice Sue Burgess, School Project Manager, Cobourg Primary School


or any child communication can be a daunting experience, so can you imagine how it might feel for a child to explore and communicate how they feel. As a School Project Manager I have helped many children find a voice to help them tell their story. A child arrived in our school and began to settle into the reception class, at such a young age this child struggled to engage and communicate verbally. His behaviour however was expressing anger, confusion, and anxiety. His verbal communication difficulty wasn’t due to his age but due to his mother having a severe mental illness. Mum’s condition made communication and attachment such a challenge and the lack of continuity in parenting had a strong effect on this child’s ability to trust. The class teacher and counsellor worked hard to help him settle in school and session times at first were spent in the class where the counsellor had to slowly get to know the child and build trust. The next stage was to get him to come to The Place2Be room which proved a challenge as the child was

unable to understand what was happening and due to his lack of speech he became frustrated that he couldn’t ask his counsellor for things. The counsellor noticed the child responded well to the puppets so she began helping him communicate with them. The sessions continued and it became clear that this child was now able to convey through his play, themes such as animals fighting; mum dad arguing; domestic violence and fear.

"We can find a language to support children even as young as four." Working with the school and social services I was able to represent the child’s voice and relate the themes of play. Domestic violence at home was uncovered and the police were called. Mum’s mental health deteriorated and the child was strongly affected. A number of different agencies are now working with the family and I continue to represent the child’s voice. This case has really helped those working with young children to see that we can find a language to support children even as young as four and they can have a voice which in some cases can support them to be in a safe place.

The Journal | 49 Removing barriers Jo Spencer, School Project Manager, Surrey Square School


ecently I held an INSET training for support staff at my school about how we recognise and support vulnerable children in the classroom and the importance of a system of support for the adults who work with them. I found that there is sense of exclusion that can be experienced by some adults because of the confidentiality that surrounds the work we do. This can seemingly create a barrier between those that know and those that don’t.   Part of my job as SPM is to try and demystify our practice in school, to keep communication open with other staff members without disclosing too much case information. The language I choose will vary depending on who my audience is but the best rule of thumb I have found is to keep it simple and use the language and experience of the person I am talking to. 

Money talks Yvonne Fernandez, School Project Manager, Victory School


ast December Head teacher Paul Thomas and I accompanied fifteen children on a visit to the Canary Wharf offices of Credit Suisse investment bank. As their charity partner, Credit Suisse invited the children to act as traders – buying and selling units in chocolate production. Teams were pitted against each other and each had an experienced trader to mentor them. Everyone left with their 'profits' (chocolate coins) as well as a pen and notebook. Paul was also given a number of leather footballs for all the children to use in the playground. During the visit we were shown around the trading floor and the children were fascinated by the vast number of computer screens in use for daily business. Lunch was also provided and many of the staff took time out to chat with the children while they ate. This experience was outside anything they had participated in before and the children’s fascination lasted long after the day itself. Thank you Credit Suisse.

Work with children 1:1 no. of 1:1 no. of children sessions Autumn 08 77 549 Spring 09 87 709

Groupwork no. Circle time no. of sessions of sessions

P2Talk total no. P2Talk no. of of sessions different children

0 65

754 839

0 7

766 799

Work with adults (in hours) Autumn 08 Spring 09

Parent & Teachers Carers

SENCO & Teaching Assistant

Other school staff

External Agencies

28 28

49 50

67 113

24 28

35 44

Harlow Hub News 2,000 children in 9 schools

Thank you to Harlow Education Consortium Catherine O’Connor


n December, we said goodbye to Jon O’Connor who stepped down from his role as Director of Harlow Education Consortium. I would like to express thanks to Jon who worked with The Place2Be from its outset to contribute to its success in Harlow. In January, Chris Fluskey took over as Interim Manager of the consortium. As the former Head teacher of Mark Hall School, he was already very familiar with us and has worked tirelessly to ensure our development and growth. We are extremely grateful to Harlow Education Consortium for their continued strong support of The Place2Be.

Attachment Catherine O’Connor, Hub Manager


e are fast approaching the end of our second full academic year in Harlow and it really feels that we are embedded in our existing schools. There have been some changes in our team of School Project Managers and Place2Be Counsellors this year, but what doesn’t change is the dedication and commitment shown by both The Place2Be and school staff, in ensuring that the service can be as effective as possible. A very exciting development in the hub has been our expansion into a secondary school, Mark Hall Community College. We commenced a full clinical service for Years 7 and 8 at Mark Hall in September. It can be hugely beneficial for the children moving up from primary schools to secondary school, to find The Place2Be in their new school. Children can become very attached to their primary school, often seeing it as a safe haven. It can be extremely difficult to leave this behind

and move into the much larger bewildering environment of secondary school. When everything else seems so unfamiliar, just the sight of the yellow Place2Be logo on the door is very comforting. Of course, this won’t be familiar to all, because some children won’t have had The Place2Be in their primary schools, but when they come to the school, they are told about The Place2Be and it doesn’t take long for those who need it to access our service.

"A very exciting development has been our expansion into a Secondary School, Mark Hall Community College." We are further expanding our secondary school service to Stewards School and will commence the clinical service, for Years 7 and 8, in September. We look forward, very much, to working with staff of Stewards School and, building on our experience of offering the service in Mark Hall, hope to make a very positive contribution to the pastoral care already in place.

Detachment Debbie Birley, SPM Spinney Junior School


he support and help I have received from Anne Todd, the SENCO at Spinney Junior School has been totally invaluable. Her knowledge of the children and families has enabled me in my role as SPM. Anne retires at the end of this year and I find myself feeling quite sad as I begin to detach myself from her. Our daily ‘catch-ups’ will be sorely missed. I’m also wondering what her leaving will mean to the children and staff within the school. Life will go on but it will be different and September will start a new phase in my role as SPM.

“I love having time to be Year 5 Girl

The Journal | 51 me”

“It feels so safe and calm” Year 4 Boy

“I like coming to The Place2Be ‘cos I can leave my angry feelings there”

“The monsters aren’t coming from the cupboard anymore”

Year 3 Boy

Year 2 Girl

Attachment to a school Vashti Hodge, School Project Manager, Abbotsweld Primary School


orming an attachment to the school was paramount for me, as a new SPM to Abbotsweld School. This attachment meant security for myself, belonging to something and feeling that I had a secure base from which to do my work. I visited every class, sowing seeds of information to the children and teachers, informing them that The Place2Be was still there despite a change over in SPM. It felt like little umbilical cords from The Place2Be rooms to the rest of the school. They fed the school, supporting the work already being done in the classrooms, nurturing each class and its inhabitants. The Place2Be could almost be likened to a womb. Children can come to a safe, warm, nurturing place where they can grow as individuals, talk openly and frankly about feelings, their concerns and explore emotions that they may not want to show anyone else. Abbotsweld promotes growth in all the children who attend their school. The Place2Be also encourages this. Detaching and leaving the safety of school in the transition year is just as important as forming an attachment to the school. Abbotsweld School and The Place2Be are committed to supporting and being there for year six, making this as smooth as possible.

Work with children 1:1 no. of 1:1 no. of children sessions Autumn 08 91 787 Spring 09 99 747

Groupwork no. Circle time no. of sessions of sessions

P2Talk total no. P2Talk no. of of sessions different children

0 30

422 509

12 26

338 402

Work with adults (in hours) Autumn 08 Spring 09

Parent & Teachers Carers

SENCO & Teaching Assistant

Other school staff

External Agencies

46 68

29 34

58 61

21 37

20 34

Brent Hub News 6,000 children in 13 schools

OfSTED Inspection Salusbury Primary School, May 2009

The Expanding Hub Jean Gibb, Hub Manager


ere in our richly diverse borough of Brent we continue to meet the demands of these challenging times. Slowly but surely our longestablished hub continues to expand. In the spring of 2009 we welcomed our 13th school, and we continue to have the additional valuable resource of a dedicated Parent Worker as well as a Deputy Hub Manager. Out of a current team of 12 School Project Managers, over half have been working in Brent schools for five years or more. Also we are delighted that three of our schools celebrate ten years with The Place2Be this year. In our Infant and Junior school communities, many children are new to this country, some are looked after by the local authority, living in temporary accommodation or dealing with parental divorce, whilst others experience a myriad of emotional difficulties. We offer a safe place where children’s voices are heard and they can express their feelings and worries, gaining support to cope with what is happening in their lives. With its mix of long-established and brand new, the hub can be seen as a metaphor for a family, with well-established members offering experience and continuity and new schools and team members bringing fresh ideas and insights. This provides a healthy blend of qualities and approaches which reflect the vibrancy of the community in which we work.

Brent’s newest school Elaine Webb, Head teacher, Fryent Primary School


lready The Place2Be has greatly enriched our ability to support children through the many challenges they can face in life. The sensitive and skilfully led team have worked closely with our school and Children’s Centre staff to strengthen resilience and extend strategies used by both adults and children in challenging circumstances. I am certain that the additional strand has led to happier children and families in many cases. The Place2Be has also been effective in picking up Child Protection cases. It seems impossible to remember a time when we didn’t have The Place2Be and Place2Talk here at Fryent School.

"A striking feature of provision is the good quality of individual and small group support provided. This is helping to raise pupils’ confidence and improve their literacy. Through links with The Place2Be… many pupils with emotional or behavioural needs are supported well, enabling them to participate more effectively in lessons. The good quality of care ensures that pupils’ personal development and well-being are good, and support for vulnerable pupils’ is successful."

The Journal | 53 Celebrating 10 years with The Place2Be Nicky Yudin, Head teacher, Lyon park infants


he Place2Be came to Lyon Park Infants in September 1999 a term after I had been appointed as acting Head teacher at this large, lively and culturally diverse school in the heart of Wembley. As Deputy Head I had worked closely with the Head to bring The Place2Be into the school because although we had good behaviour strategies in place we didn’t have the time or skills to deal with some of the complex emotional and behavioural issues that we were constantly being presented with. The impact of The Place2Be was immediately noticeable during the first term and although some staff were sceptical about The Place2Be’s potential to improve things for individual children and for the whole school, by the end of the first year most were firm converts. In fact, who could really be left in doubt after we saw a very withdrawn little girl in Year 2 who had been an elective mute, stand up and introduce the Year 2 Leaver’s Assembly in a clear and loud voice? – There wasn’t a dry eye amongst the staff in the school hall. Since those early days The Place2Be and the school have gone from strength to strength. The Place2Be is firmly embedded here and the school wouldn’t be the same place without it. Staff very quickly came to appreciate the difference The Place2Be could make for our children. Parents took a little longer to convince but The Place2Be is now accepted and valued by our parents to the extent that we often have referrals from them. The Place2Be and the school have grown together. The school now has a wide range of interventions enabling us to promote wellbeing for the whole community. Similarly, The Place2Be, which in the

"We didn’t have the time or skills to deal with some of the complex emotional and behavioural issues." early days offered only one-to-one work and The Place2Talk, has now added many other strands of provision, such as circle time, group work and support for teachers. All of which the school has benefited from.

outside intervention for primary-aged children with emotional and behavioural issues because of its holistic approach in working with the child, the family and the school in an accessible setting. Its success is clearly evidenced at every level in the very thorough clinical audits of the service. The clinical audits are a key factor in securing funding for The Place2Be which has not got any easier over the years and sadly still often dominates our Steering Group meetings. Much of the funding now comes from our school budget but it is worth every penny.

Of course over the past ten years there has been a much greater understanding amongst the wider educational establishment of the necessity of meeting the need of the ‘whole child’ and a whole raft of strategies have emerged under the ‘Every Child Matters Agenda’. I have always felt that the school and The Place2Be were one step ahead and often had already implemented suggested innovations and had a good working model in place. A recent example of this would be the introduction of a Parent Worker.

So thank you The Place2Be for the past 10 years. Thank you to the five School Project Managers, the dozens of Volunteer Counsellors and all the staff at Core Hub. Your presence in our school has changed all our lives for the better and we look forward to opening the Champagne in September!

I firmly believe The Place2Be is the most successful

Work with children 1:1 no. of 1:1 no. of children sessions Autumn 08 145 1,114 Spring 09 168 1,349

Groupwork no. Circle time no. of sessions of sessions

P2Talk total no. P2Talk no. of of sessions different children

3 16

1,125 1,163

2 8

907 845

Work with adults (in hours) Autumn 08 Spring 09

Parent & Teachers Carers

SENCO & Teaching Assistant

Other school staff

External Agencies

134 119

195 159

177 254

55 82

135 153

Croydon Hub News 3,000 children in 7 schools

Celebrating our 10th Birthday Marcia Thomas, Hub Manager


he hub celebrates its 10th year of work in Croydon having started in all the New Addington schools in 1999 as part of the Education Action Zone’s aim to regenerate the area due to the low education and health inequalities. Since then the service has expanded to other parts of Croydon – initially with Kingsley School in 2004, Rockmount School in 2006 and West Thornton School in 2007. As the reputation and the word of mouth recommendations regarding The Place2Be continue to grow and relationships within Croydon strengthen, further schools request information about the service, wishing to join the Croydon Hub of schools. This is a fortifying testament to the impact of the work within the borough. Our work continues to be highly valued by the school communities, local stakeholders, OfSTED, the counsellors who see the children and also by the parents who feel A Place for Parents has really supported them to in developing their skills and self-awareness.



his year we have been supporting 3,492 children across the borough. Over the ten years of service we have worked with approximately 1,000 children in one-to-one interventions, over 750 children in group work, and 9,821 visits were made by children to The Place2Talk (the lunch time self-referral service). The range of issues we have worked with have been varied, but most commonly we’ve helped children cope with problems such as parental separation, bereavement, low self-esteem, anger difficulties, self-harm, abuse, domestic violence and being in care.

What about the next ten years? We’ll continue to put children’s emotional wellbeing at the centre, to continue to work with the Croydon community to offer a better future for all.

“Coming to The Place2Talk can help you find a different result in your lives and friendships that have gone wrong and see things in a brand new light. Fights are a waste of time even when you do not know what you’re fighting over. If you are fighting what’s the point of bringing in family or origins, it just causes more havoc. So talking about your feelings can help make more sense of the whole situation.” Lucy, 10-years-old

“When I first went there I felt much fresher in my feelings afterwards, because I didn’t have to keep bad feelings in my head. I think people might talk about their own life at home, when their parents have been divorced like mine.” NJ, 8-years-old

“I think that there should be more staff at The Pla ce2Talk so we can come more and The Place2Talk sho uld be in different schools for oth er kids too.” Mario, 8-years-o ld “Sometimes it can make you happy and sometimes it can make you sad but it’s good to go there.” Lorenzo, 8-years-old

The Journal | 55 Parents


Place for Parents began as a pilot in Croydon in 2003. This service has been invaluable in doing work with some of our hard to reach families. Themes addressed in the work have included: the impact of domestic violence, mental health issues, alcohol abuse, bereavement, childhood abuse, poverty, severe physical or mental illness of their child, difficult separations/custody disputes. Some comments from parents ending their sessions this term have included:

“You know I could just see those little pinpricks of light in the tunnel; now I can see through the whole tunnel mouth and lightness.” “I am my own person now.”

Teachers – ‘Able to devote more time to teaching’ Naina Chauhan, SENCO, West Thornton School


he Place2Be is an invaluable service in our school. The children have a dedicated place and person to go to, leaving me to devote more time to teaching. Working closely with The School Project Manager means I am clued up on any background issues the children have and this gives me a better understanding of how to deal with what they’ve been through. One boy used to get very angry, often hitting the wall and sometimes hitting me. Now he is able to communicate to me that he needs time out. Similarly, I now understand another child’s behaviour is connected to flashbacks from his past.

OfSTED Inspection Good Shepherd Primary School, March 2009

"Pupils speak highly of the very caring help and support given to them by the counselling service for pupils and parents that is based in the school."

For the children, having somewhere to go to at lunchtime means they come back to class a lot calmer and ready to learn. The Place2Talk isn’t just a place for talking about problems. It’s somewhere safe where children can let of steam and chat with friends too.


“I have more confidence in myself and my abilities and I’m not quite so quick to take the worse case scenario; I feel I’ve come a long way in a short space of time in counselling terms.”


ver the years The Place2Be has also trained a number of people from the Croydon community - Teaching Assistants, Midday Supervisors, teachers and local Volunteer Counsellors, all aimed at supporting an understanding of children and childrens’ emotional wellbeing. Training has included a range of individual open-access courses and has also supported people in gaining accreditation in developing their skills in working therapeutically with children. “The training has felt wonderfully nourishing and the ethos of The Place2Be has unlocked my inner child.” Tina Laws, Nursery Nurse.

Work with children 1:1 no. of 1:1 no. of children sessions Autumn 08 74 618 Spring 09 86 729

Groupwork no. Circle time no. of sessions of sessions

P2Talk total no. P2Talk no. of of sessions different children

3 16

663 598

24 22

709 663

Work with adults (in hours) Autumn 08 Spring 09

Parent & Teachers Carers

SENCO & Teaching Assistant

Other school staff

External Agencies

60 52

98 73

232 159

105 90

111 85

Medway Hub News 3,300 children in 11 schools

A wider reach Sheridan Whitfied, Hub Manager


he observant amongst you (and those with a good memory!) will notice that this year I have transferred as Hub Manager from Wandsworth to Medway. At the end of my second week in Medway, we hosted a visit to The Place2Be at Lordswood Infant and Junior Primary School. During the visit a group of children talked about their experiences of why pupils may access The Place2Be. Their reasons included; ”your mummy might be in heaven”, “you might not get much love at home”, “your mum and dad might fight” and “you might have a brother or sister who needs extra help and there’s not enough time for you”. The reasons children access both The Place2Talk and The Place2Be are endless and every child’s response to this support is unique. What struck me with each of the children was that they had found a way to communicate the impact of their own personal circumstances, and gain support from adults including The Place2Be. Their comments as to why The Place2Be had helped included; "sharing your worries", "having some time just for me" and "finding different ways of coping". It reminded me, yet again, that by having different services children can access in schools, we really can reach a wide range of children and have a lasting impact.

Visit by a Shadow Minister


onservative Families Minister Maria Miller MP joined Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for Chatham & Aylesford Tracey Crouch on a visit to The Place2Be at Lordswood Junior and Infant School. Maria Miller MP said: “The Place2Be is a fantastic service providing incredible support for youngsters in real emotional need. Services like The Place2Be must be congratulated for not only providing immediate support but for potentially preventing longer term problems.” Tracey Crouch, Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for Chatham & Aylesford, said: “I was deeply affected by what I saw and heard at The Place2Be and hope that schemes like this continue to get the full support they deserve both nationally and locally.”

Reaching Out to Parents Lorraine Schulze, SENCO, St Mary’s Catholic Primary School


am always so pleased to see how willing parents are to come in and talk about their children’s needs with our School Project Manager, Paul Parsons. Maybe it’s because for the first time they feel able to off-load difficulties that they’ve struggled with for years, or perhaps it is simply because someone is able to listen supportively. Usually the reason a parent comes to The Place2Be is because their child has been identified as having emotional difficulties and yet so often it is the parent who starts to identify their own emotional needs. Parents have shared about drug and alcohol abuse, relationship difficulties including domestic violence, and adoption issues to name just a few of the hard life challenges that they are dealing with alongside being a parent. Paul is able to support the parents through meeting with them before and after a child’s period of counselling sessions and, where necessary, has also offered the opportunity of direct, invaluable support for certain parents. Paul also signposts parents to

appropriate organisations for additional support. The Place2Be has become part of a team approach at St Mary’s working alongside a number of other individuals and organisations including the School Nurse, Home-School Support Worker, Educational Welfare Officer, Head teacher, SENCO and the class teachers. During termly Parents’ Evenings parents stop at Paul’s table for a chat about their child or to find out more about The Place2Be. He has also been part of our ‘How To…’ parenting sessions, leading a session on ‘How to support your child’s emotional development’. The Place2Be has supported so many parents at our school and they have told me how important this has been for them, but it has also enabled us as a whole school to reach out to parents more and has helped to show them that we are all here to help. In these days when parents are often being blamed for their children’s problems, The Place2Be reaches out to families in a non-judgemental, nonthreatening way.

The Journal | 57 Picking up the pieces

“When I get hurt feelings inside, it feels like a piece of paper being stamped on. I sit on a bench to help my feelings or sign up to The Place2Talk.”

Paul Parsons, SPM, St Mary’s Catholic Primary School and Gordon Junior School


egular meetings with my Head teacher and SENCO have helped inform my thinking about ‘hard to reach’ families. I start to see pieces of a ‘jigsaw’ that make-up the emotional resiliencies of each child. This ‘jigsaw’ is made up of teacher, parent and child, and it’s my job to reach these ‘pieces’. Reaching the teacher is often done before or after school, and involves me asking questions to understand the concerns being expressed by the child within the classroom. This space allows each teacher to think carefully about the child, and which elements may be missing for the child to thrive in a classroom setting.


“It’s been a good support while the family has gone through difficult times.”

Reaching out to parents sometimes requires more than just a telephone call; it may be catching a parent in the playground, a note via the office or a meeting during Parents’ Evening. I invite the parents in to see how The Place2Be may be able to support them. This way we do not come across as an expert and able to solve the ‘jigsaw’, we are part of the process helping them with the ‘jigsaw’. Children are reached in many ways. I might offer them time in The Place2Talk or individual regular support through The Place2Be. I liken it to finding the borders of the jigsaw puzzle, a firm boundary and very obvious pieces. Some pieces are hard to find and require more work. The child that finds it difficult to write their name, I look for them each fortnight and ask. The child that is always late, I smile at in the corridor and mouth the words "would you like some time?". The child crying in the playground is given some space to let their emotions out and then sees me later in the day to tell me why. There are pieces that still need finding and are often hidden in dark corners, waiting to be completed. My job as School Project Manager is to try to reach them and join them together as a good fit.


“He is less tearful now and able to interact in the class a lot better.” teacher

Work with children 1:1 no. of 1:1 no. of children sessions Autumn 08 90 745 Spring 09 120 1203

Groupwork no. Circle time no. of sessions of sessions

P2Talk total no. P2Talk no. of of sessions different children

8 36

932 811

13 40

947 829

Work with adults (in hours) Autumn 08 Spring 09

Parent & Teachers Carers

SENCO & Teaching Assistant

Other school staff

External Agencies

61 63

90 72

155 70

41 61

94 71

Nottingham Hub News 2,500 children in 9 schools

As a Place2Be school we are a healthy school Evelyne Potter, Head teacher, Brocklewood Infant & Nursery School


Organic transformation Penny Bricknell, Hub Manager


have been the Hub Manager for over a year now. Before that I was a School Project Manager for nearly four years and before that I was a Volunteer Counsellor for two years. It’s been quite a journey of change and adventure! I’ve been lucky enough to have witnessed this organisation developing into a service which is respected, accepted and an integral part of the school community. The services we provide are so important to the children, particularly because they hold no stigma. The children along with the staff do not fear The Place2Be as they have all experienced the positive effects within their schools. However, like any good relationship, it has taken time for us to evolve into a service which is trusted, respected and accepted at the deepest level by each school community.

of our children, families and schools is crucial for enabling positive constructive change to occur. One thing that hasn’t changed is the need children have for our support. Being a child life often tends to change without them choosing. This could be because of a situation or a circumstance that an adult places upon them or due to events even beyond the control of their parents/ carers. But either way, they seldom get any choice or say. When a child comes to The Place2Be they are given the time and space to express their feelings about events or changes in their lives. More importantly, to have those feelings listened to, valued and accepted can have such a significant impact.

"To have those feelings listened to, valued and accepted can have such a significant impact."

As time goes on, the more we are collaborating and working together with other agencies. It’s testament to our organisation that we continue to value sharing information. Working in partnership with all the other agencies that touch the lives

For a child to experience feeling powerful, feeling worthy, for a child to understand that what they say is important and has meaning is to give a child breath and an opportunity for growth. How fortunate and privileged we are as therapists to be able to give that to any human being, especially a child who has not had the circumstances to feel such feelings before.

he Place2Be came to our school in 2001. Even in those early days it was clear that having such a service on board strengthened and enhanced meeting the emotional needs of our children and their carers. Realising The Place2Be’s potential however has been an organic process which has developed gradually with time. It has moved from being a service that we drew on as and when the needs arose, to one which has become totally absorbed into and recognised as a vital part of our provision. As the demands and expectations on schools continue to rise, the role of The Place2Be in supporting the wellbeing of our school community becomes increasingly important in nurturing the climate for learning.

The writer John Harvey visited The Place2Be at Ambleside School and met several children, a parent, school staff and our SPM Yvonne Payne. He was most impressed with the work and is generously giving us the royalties from his latest book ‘Minor Key’. In addition, John has written about the visit in his blog www.mellotone70up.wordpress. com/2009/06/25/the-place2be/

Several years ago Teaching Assistant Paul Holland wrote a song about The Place2Be, after his child accessed our service. Having written the words, Paul’s enlisted friend and musician Perry Littlehales, who donated his studio and time to put the music together. With Laura Cox providing vocals, they produced a professional piece of music which The Place2Be feel very proud to be associated with. We thank them all for their time, talent, and devotion.

The Journal | 59

Ready for war! Yvonne Payne, School Project Manager, ambleside primary school were horrified when our youngest son was referred by his “Weteacher to The Place2Be. We felt it was a slur on our family somehow. We had never had dealings with The Place2Be and charged up to school ready for ‘war’.”…This was the very negative response by the parents of a child, whose confidence was wavering at school, affecting his relationships and his happiness. His teacher knew that a referral to The Place2Be could result in him finding more confidence through playing and talking with a counsellor in the calm atmosphere of the Place2Be room. I offered some reassurance and his parents tentatively agreed to him seeing a counsellor. After 12 weeks of weekly sessions with a counsellor the boy’s confidence was noticeably greater, he looked forward to school and was mixing well. He felt able to end his sessions, even though he knew he would miss them. His parents were so impressed with his progress that within six months they asked me if there was room to take their older son, who was very shy. He too thrived following his sessions, making friends more easily and becoming more confident. Mum now says “Since all this both my husband and myself work in the education system and look forward to having contact with The Place2Be, either on a professional level or as a parent who wants a chat with a friendly face.” Mum is now a Parent Outreach Worker and Dad is a Teaching Assistant in this school. Through their work they can identify vulnerable children who may benefit from a referral to the service. Both parents have been very supportive of the work because they have experienced at first hand the difference The Place2Be can make. Together they recently made a joint-referral to us to work with a boy with worrying anger issues. I was able to liaise easily with them both to monitor the effects of the counselling on the child and his Mother. It has been good to observe the evolution of this relationship with The Place2Be from ‘war’ to mutual cooperation, respect and partnership, all to the benefit of the whole school community.

Work with children 1:1 no. of 1:1 no. of children sessions Autumn 08 100 630 Spring 09 134 1,022

Groupwork no. Circle time no. of sessions of sessions

P2Talk total no. P2Talk no. of of sessions different children

57 50

900 699

23 31

680 527

Work with adults (in hours) Autumn 08 Spring 09

Parent & Teachers Carers

SENCO & Teaching Assistant

Other school staff

External Agencies

39 28

65 67

85 114

85 102

48 47

Blyth Hub News 2,900 children in 10 schools

The Blyth School Community College Elaine Smith, Children’s Early Intervention Team Manager


he Blyth School Community College is delighted to be welcoming The Place2Be. Reorganisation of schools in Blyth, Northumberland means that Middle Schools will disappear and a new 2-tier system will be put in place. For primary schools it will be business as usual with their Place2Be service.

An ever changing ‘family’ Hilary Kean, Hub Manager


ver the last year activity within the Blyth Hub has created an extremely interesting dynamic as the original formation of the hub has proved to be far from static. Two of the schools have left the hub due to lack of available space and four schools have joined the hub. The project in each of these is now up and running and being well received by the school staff, children and parents.

At the beginning of the summer term we introduced the project into the Blyth School Community College with a view to working with the transition Years 7 and 8 over the next 18 months as the school system changes from 3-tier to 2-tier. All of these changes have been met with mixed emotions by all involved; from sadness to excitement; frustration to eager anticipation. Yet in all situations the wellbeing of the children will remain at the heart of everything that we do in order to ensure that they receive the best possible support at all times.

Praised by OfSTED: Tynedale Middle School had a recent OfSTED inspection and received an overall rating of ‘Outstanding’. The report highlighted:

“Exceptional support for pupils with personal or complex needs is provided by The Place2Be centre which supports pupils through difficulties and enables them to play a full part in the life of the school.”

But we’ve had to work together in order to ensure that Years 7 and 8 can continue with this excellent service. In particular, Bridget Knowles, the Head teacher of the Community College feels it is vital that there is continuity so that those transferring to secondary education remain able to access expert counselling. As a result, offices have been set aside and Mandy Adamson has been appointed as the Transition Project Manager. We are now looking forward to having a fully operational service in September 2009.

The loss of a valued SPM Hilary Kean, Hub Manager


ixed emotions appear to be a regular occurrence within the Blyth Hub at the minute in regard to not only school changes but also in regard to the loss of one of our team members, Claire Purvis, who has been with the team from its inception in 2006 and is our first School Project Manager to leave. Claire has always shown great commitment to her role, gaining the respect of her fellow colleagues for her hard work and dedication in regard to the support she has offered the children, parents and staff along the way. Combined with the sadness of our loss, however, we also wish Claire all the very best.

The Journal | 61

Ensuring the future at this critical juncture NATALIE JOHNSON, REGIONAL MANAGER


he hub is at a critical stage in its history. There is a risk that the hub could get lost in the restructuring and become unviable. Yet our integration into the Blyth School Community College is a great opportunity for the hub to thrive. Since our work in Blyth was established, funding for the service has come from the schools themselves a clear indication of their commitment - as well as from the Behaviour Improvement Programme (BiP). Last year’s expansion into four schools in the Ashington area was also part funded by the schools together with The Targeted Mental Health in Schools (TaMHS) Pathfinder programme.

The hub team have developed close links with multi-disciplinary agencies working in the region, including CAMHS, Cease 24, Social Services and School Health Advisors. The Hub Manager also works closely with the TaMHS Project Managers and sits on their Steering Group and is part of their ‘Targeted Interventions in Schools’ working party. This sound funding history, coupled with the expansion and commitment to co-operative working will hopefully ensure the hub’s future.

Two schools: two different situations Pam Miller, School Project Manager


them have visited The Place2Talk to express their apprehension about the move.

his year has brought many changes for the two schools in which I work. Coulson Park First School is new to the hub and it has been exciting establishing relationships with staff, children and parents. I worked closely with the Head teacher, Inclusion Mentor and class teachers to identify children for one-to-one sessions and the value of these meetings was quickly apparent. The children, particularly Years 3 and 4, rapidly developed a routine for accessing The Place2Talk, bringing immediate concerns such as friendship problems, as well as longer-standing issues from home. “Children who have experienced emotional difficulties have found the services provided by The Place2Be greatly beneficial.” - Louise Beeby, Acting Head teacher. Parents have also spoken to me about how they can continue the process of supporting their children emotionally, at home. In September the school becomes part of an academy, which brings new challenges for everyone. By contrast, although my second year at Bebside Middle School has been very satisfying and all The Place2Be services have been used to the full, due to the changes in the educational structure the school will close in July 2010. Both staff and children are finding this difficult to cope with. The current Year 7 children will move into the secondary school in September, instead of having another year at Bebside and many of

For staff too, this is an extra pressure to add to the usual ones, such as SATS. I see The Place2Be as a centre of calm support for everyone in school, through the coming changes. The Place2Be has been “a welcome and worthwhile service” to our school community - Ellen Punt, Head teacher Bebside Middle School.

Comment by Parents at a recent event to raise money for the Nepal Trek

"We’ll do all that we can to help to raise more money. Our children have benefited so much from The Place2Be and would be devastated if the service was no longer in the school."

Work with children 1:1 no. of 1:1 no. of children sessions Autumn 08 97 611 Spring 09 122 906

Groupwork no. Circle time no. of sessions of sessions

P2Talk total no. P2Talk no. of of sessions different children

0 8

642 813

23 23

461 568

Work with adults (in hours) Autumn 08 Spring 09

Parent & Teachers Carers

SENCO & Teaching Assistant

Other school staff

External Agencies

64 19

54 51

70 87

25 22

107 57

Edinburgh Hub News 2,400 children in 10 schools

During a visit last year by HM Inspectorate of Education (HMIE) to St Francis’ RC Primary School, inspectors observed

Working Together Frances Griffin, Hub Manager


his year Jonathan Wood and Catherine Henderson have moved on to development posts and I have become the Hub Manager. One of our School Project Managers took maternity leave and returned again, whilst some SPMs left and we have welcomed new colleagues to our hub team. Together we’ve worked hard to ensure our schools, stakeholders and team of Volunteer Counsellors experience these changes as a reasonably seamless process.

All these changes provided exactly what we in Edinburgh needed in order to embrace our ever adapting role and work circumstances. Helping with raising The Place2Be’s profile across Scotland has meant ensuring the SPMs, VCs, Parents, and Head teachers all worked together. Whether tasked with hosting school visits, attending conferences/ promotions or asking Heads to write articles about The Place2Be in their school, it helped us forge relationships, support one another and strengthen our capacity to work together. Our collective cohesiveness inevitably further enhanced the ethos of The Place2Be and improved the direct work with the children.

“The Place2Be provided an environment where [pupils] felt able to express their feelings and concerns safely. Counselling sessions nurtured pupils’ confidence and independence and pupils felt valued and supported… as a result they felt more secure and engaged with their learning… [This is] an innovative and effective practice worthy of wider dissemination.”

Hub Manager joins Council training team Pattie Santelices, Edinburgh City Council


he Growing Confidence Project aims to promote awareness, understanding and confidence about how to encourage positive mental health and emotional wellbeing in children, staff and families. As part of this work, we have developed and run a training course for practitioners called Confident Staff: Confident Children, which covers a range of topics including attachment and resilience. Over 250 members of staff have undertaken the course and it has been positively received and successfully evaluated. In addition, we are also currently piloting a similar universal course, Raising Children with Confidence for 50 parents and carers. Frances Griffin has been part of our team of facilitators and has brought her time, skills and knowledge to help deliver these courses to both staff and parents/carers.

Creating reflective spaces Sheila Laing, Head teacher, Forthview Primary


hroughout Scotland, many schools have found ways to offer reflective, nurturing spaces to their young people. Quiet assemblies, reflection/quiet spaces, sensory rooms, massage in schools, meditation for children, music therapy and emotional literacy programmes are all currently allowing children to get in touch with a fuller sense of themselves.

We have The Place2Be in our school, which allows children to cope with their problems and think more broadly about themselves emotionally. Through this service we are increasing children’s capacity to learn, develop and engage with the school community and beyond. We are able to nurture children for learning. The beauty of The Place2Be is that it’s onsite, it’s immediately accessible to children who have a need, and it can offer flexibility of response. For the children who have longer-term counselling we see that this dedicated space changes their lives, enables them to learn better, increases their coping skills and helps them to get on with other children.

"The beauty of The Place2Be is that it’s onsite." When I recently told the children that I am leaving Forthview, a number of them were shocked and saddened. Apart from me comforting them my next instinctive reaction was to offer them The Place2Talk. Reflective, nurturing spaces within schools facilitate the achievement of the four capacities of the Curriculum for Excellence in a major way. Such additions are essential in a holistic approach to education because education is about the whole child.

The Journal | 63 Six years with The Place2Be Alexia Gaitanou, School Project Manager, Burdiehouse Primary


was one of the first Volunteer Counsellors to work in Edinburgh, and then I took up the position of Assistant School Project Manager, before recently becoming a School Project Manager. As a counsellor, I had a sense of the SPMs and The Place2Be being a family – perhaps because I am far away from my own family – and within this organisation I immediately felt a sense of belonging. Now I’m an SPM I feel a great sense of responsibility to offer the same quality of learning and support that was given to me and to meet the needs of my school as best as I observed other SPMs.

Volunteer shortlisted for Award


argaret Forbes was one of three top finalists for the ‘Education Supporter of the Year’ Award at the Scottish Learning Awards 2009. Margaret has been a counsellor with us for the last four years and we are thrilled that her volunteering received national recognition.

A team that runs together comes together


ven before our 18-strong team of staff members, volunteers and friends ran a single step or turned even one bicycle peddle we were participating in The Martin Currie Rob Roy Challenge. With our families, friends, and school communities we hosted various fundraising events: a Race Night, Ceilidh, Tango Evening, Musical Melody, Tombola stall and a ‘posh’ jumble sale. In doing so we discovered a wealth of creativity and hidden talents and the experience provided additional opportunities for us to share our learning and continue to develop as a cohesive team. I’m thrilled to report we completed the 55-mile challenge and all survived to tell the tale!

Work with children 1:1 no. of 1:1 no. of children sessions Autumn 08 112 861 Spring 09 119 940

Groupwork no. Circle time no. of sessions of sessions

P2Talk total no. P2Talk no. of of sessions different children

34 66

805 745

17 24

669 696

Work with adults (in hours) Autumn 08 Spring 09

Parent & Teachers Carers

SENCO & Teaching Assistant

Other school staff

External Agencies

80 69

88 62

206 184

77 95

152 124

Enfield Hub News 5,000 children in 10 schools

School-based Parent Support Advisors (PSAs)


ollowing a successful pilot in Enfield, several schools decided to continue and develop the PSA posts. In these schools we have found excellent examples of joint-working between the SPM and PSA. The posts compliment and support each other as evidenced by this quote from Wendy Ochs, Pastoral Care Manager (previously a PSA): “Without The Place2Be, especially in this area, my job would be so much harder. We have developed a great working partnership to support the parents and families in our local community.”

A Polish Head teacher


nfield is an incredibly diverse borough and most of our schools report high mobility of pupils. The names on a school roll can change many times throughout the year as families leave or arrive in the area. Recently many families from Eastern Europe have moved to Enfield. Consequently, we were very fortunate to have Grazyna Maczkowska attend a Shared Learning. She is the Head teacher of a Polish Saturday school and was able to inform us about cultural issues and positive and negative experiences for families from both Polish and Roma origins.

Four Year 3 boys went to The Place2Talk:

Difference Angela Kleeman, Hub Manager


hat a difference a year makes in the life of our hub. We said goodbye to two School Project Managers and welcomed another. Shree Grant the SPM at Bush Hill Park Primary ‘retired’ after running the project since 2002 and Fiona Summers, who, in 2002, was a Volunteer Counsellor with us, took over as SPM in October 2008 following her successful year as an Assistant School Project Manager in the same school. We had to say a sad goodbye to the project in Houndsfield School but are thrilled that the SPM Rosie Paterson (also a previous VC with us) will be the Hub Manager for the brand new Ealing Hub. The excellent work done by SPMs, the ASPM (Cathy Dewhurst) and our team of counsellors continues and we were very pleased to have welcomed four students from The Place2Be’s brand new Diploma Course to the hub. We are also fortunate to have the Course Leader Niki Cooper (a former SPM in Enfield) offering clinical work as a Place2Be Counsellor one day a week, in addition to her training commitments.

One started drawing a war picture. “The Turks hate my people, they hate the Kurds, they take our land, they kill my people. The Turks hate us; they will never stop hating us” he said. Another child who had been quietly drawing looked up. “I am Turkish and I don’t hate you.”

The Journal | 65

A different use of our leaflet for parents

Take Notice Martin Cox, SChool Project Manager, Lavender Primary School


asked the children for contributions for my new Place2Be notice board. Almost every child in the school has given a picture or a poem which we are proudly displaying throughout the year. Here is one of the poems:

Gill Harris, SChool Project Manager, Eldon Primary School


t a school Parents’ Evening I supplied translated information leaflets, which contain my contact details at the school. One of my regular Place2Talk users asked me for a Turkish leaflet to give to her mother. A few days later I found two messages on my answer phone from the child “Gill Gill! I missed you. Can I come on Monday Please? Please?” This was followed by a long song containing the words “It’s time for me to go to you.”

Our new Place2Talk Box Jon D’Agostino, SChool Project Manager, wilbury primary school


needed to install a Place2Talk box in the new wing for Years 5 and 6. I couldn’t use our standard wooden boxes as this posed a fire hazard. I wasn’t allowed to attach the new metal box to the plasterboard, so a special stand was made. It was indeed safe but rather ugly, so I set about decorating it with self-adhesive holographic paper, complete with The Place2Be logo. It was unique, but it was unquestionably Place2Be in character! To launch our new box I invited the children to draw or write about their feelings regarding The Place2Talk service. We’ll consecutively display their work above the box to help give it that personal feeling. As many of the children have grown-up with us in the school the feedback has been wonderful. I hope that these joint efforts will help these older pupils feel that The Place2Talk is as much a service for them to discuss their worries as it is for the younger children in the school. By distinguishing them in this way, thus positively acknowledging their differences, I hope they will feel the service we offer them can grow with them.

Work with children 1:1 no. of 1:1 no. of children sessions Autumn 08 120 891 Spring 09 138 965

Groupwork no. Circle time no. of sessions of sessions

P2Talk total no. of sessions

P2Talk no. of different children

0 8

1,271 1,281

1,624 1,712

4 3

Work with adults (in hours) Autumn 08 Spring 09

Parent & Teachers Carers

SENCO & Teaching Assistant

Other school staff

External Agencies

54 63

67 63

195 109

57 44

64 46

Greenwich Hub News 2,500 children in 8 schools

Bereavement and Loss Fenella Quinn, Hub Manager


reenwich is a rapidly changing borough, where the population is in constant flux. Often families have come into the UK from a wide variety of countries, sometimes seeking refuge from war -torn areas of the world. For the children in these families the impact of moving can be enormous. When they arrive at our schools they are often deeply traumatised by their long and difficult journey to this country. They may have experienced a period in a detention centre and are often leaving close family members behind. Because they are struggling so hard with their own lives, adults sometimes forget to notice the impact these changes have on their children, who often learn to keep their feelings and experience well hidden in order to protect those around them. The Place2Be works with these children, helping them express their difficulties through play, art and other non-verbal means of communication, thus aiding their safe integration into their new school environment. Change is one of the constants of life and is something we can all do with a bit of help managing sometimes! Indeed the whole Greenwich Place2Be team has itself undergone lots of change in the past year, with a new Hub Manager, Regional Manager, and School Project Manager joining the team. Our collective ability to identify what losses and change do to us and the knowledge that we have the personal resources to get through these times are so important to all of us, and it is a crucial part of the learning that is imparted through the work we do with children in schools. Once a child feels able to safely experience what is going on for them, they can then learn that they can cope with whatever comes their way, which ultimately serves to make anxiety a whole lot more manageable.

Facts of death Peggy Hart, Assistant School Project Manager


s adults in a modern society, I believe we sometimes find it difficult to talk to children about the ‘facts of life’ – what then about the ‘facts of death’? Can this ever be a subject of conversation prior to an actual event? To a child, bereavement can be bewildering. They sometimes feel responsible for the death of someone close to them, say a sibling – was it because they were naughty? Did they say "I hate you!" when they didn’t get their own way? Sometimes a child has to face the fact that a parent has died; the mixed feelings that they might experience can be intolerable, yet their feelings may be overlooked. They may blame themselves, or feel responsible for other siblings. They may have to cope with the anxiety of the surviving parent trying to be both Mum and Dad. How can teachers tackle their feelings whilst in the classroom? I believe we must ‘hear the child’s voice’. Acknowledge the facts sensitively, and not demean them.

The Journal | 67

Working with Left bereft by teachers and child the sudden loss bereavement of a friend Working nonverbally with loss and bereavement Laura Fuller, School Project Manager, conway primary school


have learned to use a number of non-verbal methods over the years to support the child’s grieving process. We might create a piece of artwork which could take the form of a painting, picture or a piece of music. All these methods have worked well, and can be especially helpful in Greenwich, where we work with many children who have English as a second language. One child I worked with was at risk of permanent exclusion due to his history of lashing out at other children. For this particular child, playing a game of table tennis helped to explore his angry outbursts. Gradually, over a number of weeks, he learned that in order to win at this game, he had to regulate his behaviour. Although he still has the occasional angry outburst, he is now skilled at applying the appropriate amount of concentration, co-operation and control to win our matches. These are life skills which I hope he will consolidate and use in other areas.

Gemma Hughes, School Project Manager, St thomas a becket primary school

Rachel Dunne, School Project Manager, Boxgrove primary school



art of our work supporting children through loss and bereavement is to help their teachers to listen and respond to these events. One teacher panicked when a child talked about his older sister’s death. The teacher didn’t want to upset the child so chose to change the subject. But on reflection, the teacher understood the child’s need to talk and offered him more time later that day. Subsequently this child felt able to discuss his loss and found support from his peers.

he impact of the loss of a close friend through their unexpected departure can be huge for a child; it can be experienced as intensely as a death. Being able to confide and trust in a friend is an integral part of personal and social growth, a way of building a sense of self-worth and at the same time a confidence that one will be listened to and heard.

Likewise when two teachers asked how they should approach making Mother’s Day cards with two girls who had lost their mothers, through death or abandonment, I explained how important it was for these girls to have their mothers acknowledged even if they could no longer see them. The importance of having their bereavement acknowledged and being able to talk as and when they need to are paramount for a grieving child. Through being allowed to express their confusion or anger children do not experience their feelings as shameful, bad and something to remain hidden. Crucially, they can also understand that the loss is not their fault. With this understanding, teachers play a hugely important part in the child’s grieving process and can help ensure acceptance from other children in the class.

One child, a frequent visitor to ThePlace2Talk, spoke about wanting to make contact with a friend who had suddenly moved away, without saying goodbye. She poignantly described elaborate measures she took to find her friend, and her longing for her to just turn up on her doorstep. I thought of how abandoned she must feel. The missed friend was drawn repeatedly, in all her splendour, side-by-side with her friend. This is one of the reasons we place so much importance on the endings of our work with children, so that our young clients can learn what it is to get in touch with difficult feelings such as loss, rejection and abandonment, and thereby process these feelings safely, survive them, and move on into the future feeling stronger and more able to take on the world.

Work with children 1:1 no. of 1:1 no. of children sessions Autumn 08 57 558 Spring 09 81 585

Groupwork no. Circle time no. of sessions of sessions

P2Talk total no. P2Talk no. of of sessions different children

8 22

661 510

6 1

637 576

Work with adults (in hours) Autumn 08 Spring 09

Parent & Teachers Carers

SENCO & Teaching Assistant

Other school staff

External Agencies

44 45

82 71

94 124

45 37

40 40

Durham Hub News 2,800 children in 10 schools Mechanisms for change

universally approachable service geared to their emotional wellbeing and development and that The Place2Be will be a part of that initiative.

Katherine Porter, Hub Manager


his year we’ve been dealing with the perennial needs for funding. With the development of five local Children’s Safeguarding Boards across County Durham the whirring of the mechanisms being created and interlinked has seemed very slow and the routes to be taken to have services commissioned have swung like a pendulum beneath this particular clock. I’m pleased to report the Area Based Grant bid submitted earlier this year has gone through the final committee. We can see a clearer future where the whole of Easington District’s children, parents and school staff have access to a co-ordinated and

"Everyone smiles when Billy Elliot is mentioned, perhaps because of the transformation of a boy’s life due to those who took risks to support him."

We’re in the process of tendering for the Tier 2 services to be provided in an additional six primary and five secondary schools (Years 7 and 8), along with an additional full-time Parent Worker and Hub Manager. We hope to hear by the end of August if we have been successful. This will be a massive change for the hub and its staff, but a challenge that is very exciting as well, demonstrating the high regard for the work of The Place2Be in Easington district. Easington is where parts of the film Billy Elliot were filmed and we have been very grateful and on occasion overwhelmed by the collections by theatre-goers in London and the cast and theatregoers in Broadway, New York for their financial support for the work done here, as well as the gifts of dance equipment for the schools.

“The Place2Be fits beautifully into the school’s sphere of provision. It exudes quality and care in counsellors, in the school and levels of communication.” Phil Scott, Head teacher, Ribbon Murton Community School This year two schools have enjoyed the benefits of new buildings that have transformed the children’s experience of the learning environment. The dedicated spaces for the School Project Managers and therapeutic space for the children are fantastic. Many people contribute to the progression needed for us to harmonise with the changing needs of the schools. It is through the flexibility and creativity of all concerned, as well as the mechanisms that are put in place and then fine-tuned, that the hub continues its gentle transformation and we can celebrate seven years of working together.

“The area now experiences intergenerational despair and the children have little aspirations. Knowing however that ‘Billy Elliot’ cares about them and their future is truly making a huge difference to the children and their families.” - Benny Refson. Everyone smiles when Billy Elliot is mentioned, perhaps because of the happy ending of the transformation of a boy’s life due to those who took risks to support him. Because of them, Billy can become who and what he wants to be, rather than whom and what is expected of him.

Work with children 1:1 no. of 1:1 no. of children sessions Autumn 08 130 883 Spring 09 154 1,229

Groupwork no. Circle time no. of sessions of sessions

P2Talk total no. P2Talk no. of of sessions different children

0 39

611 708

37 14

608 670

Work with adults (in hours) Autumn 08 Spring 09

Parent & Teachers Carers

SENCO & Teaching Assistant

Other school staff

External Agencies

18 39

53 46

70 129

42 68

33 53

The Journal | 69 playing games:

Staying safe in the digital age More popular than ever, gaming has proven to be the favoured pastime during the credit crunch. In 2008 the UK video game industry generated £2.2billion, up 15% on 2007. So it’s no surprise that with such widespread availability of games, films and internet access, it’s a battle to stay one step ahead of our children and know what they are being exposed to. Durham Hub looks at the effects of digital media on child development

What lies behind the anger? Simon Critchley, School Project Manager


t The Place2Be and CAMHS I have often worked with children who have been referred for behavioural problems involving unexplained aggression and anger. Some of these children (often boys) tell me proudly and in graphic detail about the latest horror film they’ve watched or violent console game they’re playing. They talk of villains/antiheros they like, or activities they have to carry out to progress in a game, for example shooting innocent people/police in the street, stealing cars, meeting prostitutes, hacking zombies, or more worryingly still role-playing serial killers and committing a string of gruesome murders. Such games and films have age guidance certificates, but I know of children as young as six who have played or seen them. I wonder what emotional or psychological impact these experiences and dubious role models are having upon young, imaginative and impressionable children – many of whom spend more time in front of the TV or console than with siblings and parents – and whether it is contributing to their own violent behaviour?

playing games: Staying safe in the digital age

Difficulty engaging in real life Anne Clarke, Deputy Head teacher, SENCO and Pastoral Manager, Seaview Primary School


n our school we have observed a number of pupils, mainly boys, who seem to be living a 'virtual' life. As a result of spending so much of their time playing on violent and inappropriate computer games they find it difficult sometimes to engage in real life, and have difficulties in the following areas:

l speech and language delay – these children have problems in conversing with others as they spend so much time on their own, even when they are playing the game with another person there is very little conversation involved l vocabulary and language comprehension is limited/delayed l play is very aggressive, mimicking what they are involved in on screen l they find it difficult to anticipate the consequences of their actions l they find it difficult to recognise and talk about a full range of emotions l social development is delayed. I recently read an article in which the phrase “digital autism” was used and it does seem that for some of our children their ability to play a valuable role in

their family, school and community is being compromised by their withdrawal into the virtual world of computer games. The Place2Be plays a vital role for these children in providing them with the opportunity to express themselves and their concerns through 'real' play.

A study of over 2,000 eight to eighteen yearolds found that: l 49% have video game players in their bedrooms. l only 21% of kids reported that their parents set rules about which video games they can play l 17% said their parents check warning labels or ratings on video games l and 12% play video games they know their parents don’t want them playing ‘Kids and Media in America’ Roberts, Foehr, and Rideout, 2005

“The internet and video games are now very much a part of growing up and offer unprecedented opportunities to learn, develop and have fun. However, they also present potential risks too. Children and young people will always want to explore boundaries by taking risks, and they will sometimes play this out in the digital world. In the same way that we teach our children how to manage ‘real world’ risks, for example crossing roads, we need to engage with children as they develop and explore their online and gaming worlds too. It’s vital that parents overcome the generational ‘digital divide’ so they can help and guide their children. There is a real sense of fear and helplessness that many parents experience because they didn’t grow up with these sophisticated technologies themselves and therefore don’t necessarily understand them. This is compounded by children’s greater skill and confidence in using new technology.” Dr. Tanya Byron, author of The Byron Review: Safer Children in a Digital Age, 2008.

The Journal | 71

The internet: Friend or Foe? Julie Wells, School Project Manager


any of us couldn’t imagine how we could manage our daily life without switching on the PC or laptop and it’s now the same for our children. Schools and parents are encouraged to ensure that children explore the internet in a controlled safe environment, so enjoying all the advantages the World Wide Web has to offer. The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) was established by the Government in 2007 to give advice on e-safety to children, parents and interested professionals and to provide an easy way to report unwelcome approaches to the police. “The internet is integral to children’s lives, and parents have to wake up to that reality. But children have to realise that the internet is a public place, just like a park.” – CEOP.

"She had received a message warning her that this girl was in fact a 34-year-old man." Recently at my school an 11-year-old girl chose to report one of these unwelcome approaches, not to the police or her parents but to the Head teacher. Frightened and confused she confided that she and several others had befriended another 11-year old girl on an MSN chat room and had exchanged personal information which included phone numbers, addresses and photographs. The previous night she had received a message warning her that this girl was in fact a 34-year-old man and “was not to be trusted”. Once the facts had been established the Head teacher informed the parents and the police. Later that day all pupils took home a letter alerting parents and carers to the dangers of ‘internet grooming’. The Place2Be has subsequently been involved via The Place2Talk with a large number of pupils both directly and indirectly involved in this incident, supporting them whilst they explore their fears and concerns. One pupil is about to commence short-term one-to-one work with a Place2Be Counsellor as a direct result of her involvement. This demonstrates how our on-site service can provide a swift, safe environment for the children and indeed any adults who can then explore the situation with real, known personnel. The incident is still being investigated by the police.

playing games: Staying safe in the digital age

Harmless Fun? An Industry Perspective Ben Gonshaw, Lead Designer at Zoë Mode London


s game developers we understand that young boys want to play the type of games that involve mowing down the zombie hordes. Our challenge has been to develop age appropriate material that is fun and engaging. Games like Guitar Hero still give the aspirational impetus to play, (after all who doesn’t want to be a rock star?) but they do so in a way that encourages creativity, dexterity and sociability. Video games can form an important part of a child’s leisure activities, but it is crucial as a parent to take an active interest in your child’s gaming and to filter what they are allowed to play. Think about what kind of entertainment you want your child to experience: puzzles, singing and music games all contribute to a healthy and varied active experience.

"Take an active interest in your child’s gaming and filter what they are allowed to play."

Re-enacting games and films: one little girl’s story Sue Farrel, School Project Manager


five-year-old girl was referred to The Place2Be by her teacher, who was concerned about her attitude and behaviour in school. The child stole food from other children and was alienated from the peer group. She was often aggressive, unkind and used sexually inappropriate language and behaviour. The child’s mother confirmed this behaviour also occurred at home.

"She was aggressive, unkind and used sexually inappropriate language." In the first session with the counsellor the child expressed extremes of rage in her role play. As the sessions continued the child cast the counsellor in the role of the child, then created situations which were frightening and shocking, and closely observed the counsellor’s reaction, sometimes

telling the counsellor “You’re really, really scared now!” This was sometimes accompanied by threats to hit and punch the counsellor. The counsellor and I were both confused and concerned at the levels of anger expressed and the possible cause. At this point I asked Mum to come in to discuss the child’s levels of aggression. During our conversation it emerged that the child was sharing a bedroom with a teenage sibling who regularly watched DVDs and played computer games while the child was in the room and especially when the teenager thought the child was asleep. This material was certified 18+. Mum agreed to remove all age-inappropriate media from the bedroom and the effect was almost immediate. The child’s behaviour began to improve and with support from her counsellor the child explored and resolved her fears. She was able to enjoy being a child without being subjected to inappropriate images and language beyond her comprehension which she had struggled to make sense of.

Look for games involving multiple players to encourage group play because games are always more fun when played with other people, be it online or better still in the same room. Cynthia Carter Ching, associate professor of education at the University of California, believes that games do not isolate children, rather, they find ways to play and strategise together. So turn on your games machine and sing along to the latest Disney songs together – it’s safe, it’s sociable and it’s fun.



Tony* had been exposed to his parent’s drug and alcohol abuse.


his had brought a degree of turmoil and confusion to his life that frightened him. He had an "I’m top dog, mate" persona in school which gave him power and control to make other children afraid in the way he was afraid at home. Tony had

developed a reputation as the school bully, with his tough exterior becoming more formidable.

contained and safe with less need to act out or run away.

Tony came to The Place2Be with feelings of confusion and inner chaos. His uncontainable anxiety and rage seemed so uncontainable and intolerable that he wanted to escape from the room. His ambivalence towards the counsellor posed a great challenge. How was the counsellor to keep him in the designated space or prevent him from climbing out of the window? Much of the value of the counselling lay in the counsellor’s ability to consistently affirm the boundaries of their work. As a result, Tony slowly began to feel better

Increasingly Tony was enabled to come into The Place2Be room in a much calmer and reflective mood. He was at times sad and sensitive, less defensive in hiding true feelings and fighting off other people. Having ridden the storm within, Tony was able to build his trust in his attachment to his counsellor and make greater sense of his behaviour and attitude in the light of the distressing experiences at home. *Name changed

Contact us General enquiries 020 7923 5500

Write to us at: The Place2Be 13 / 14 Angel Gate 326 City Road London EC1V 2PT

Our departments

Bringing The Place2Be to your school or Local Education Authority email: or contact us on 020 7923 5506 Are you training to be a counsellor or therapist and want a placement working with children? email: or contact us on 020 7923 5507

Working for The Place2Be either in school or at Core Hub email: or contact us on 020 7923 5515

For further information about any of the research and evaluation projects mentioned in this article email:


Being involved in either participating or helping us organise our fundraising events – e.g. sponsored run email:

For more information about our Foundation Course, Postgraduate Diploma and Masters Programmes, please email or contact us on 020 7923 5535.

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Becoming a Friend of The Place2Be by making a regular donation email: tel: 020 7923 5542 Working as a corporate partner with The Place2Be email: tel: 020 7923 5536 For press and media enquiries email: Tel: 020 7923 5521

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The Place2Be Journal 2009  

Review of school-based mental health services for children, school staff and families, delivered by The Place2Be in schools around the UK.

The Place2Be Journal 2009  

Review of school-based mental health services for children, school staff and families, delivered by The Place2Be in schools around the UK.