A suitable statement of the school’s principles and practice to be known as the Statement of Purpose is available to parents and staff.  The statement is made known to children through an appropriate method of communication and is seen to work in practice. The statement describes the overall purpose of residential services as part of the overall services offered by Doucecroft School.  It describes any theoretical or therapeutic model underpinning the practice of the school. It also explains the ethos and philosophy of the school, and provides an outline of provision for children with special educational needs and/or disabilities.

Our Aim:

To provide a high quality of care for children and young people on the autistic spectrum. To achieve definite outcomes for all our children and young people through the development of careful and well thought out care and education plans. The focus is on learning and developing skills for life, which promote independence and gives students the best possible life chances.

Our Vision:

To provide a specialist residential environment through expertise of highly trained staff who are passionate about taking a holistic approach to providing care support and education in nurturing and stimulating environments.

Our missions:

Developing – independence and life skills
Opportunities – to experience and learn new things
Understanding – to be understood and valued as an individual
Creativity – to express myself as an individual 
Encouraged – to try new things and realise my potential
Confidence –to achieve and develop my self esteem
Respect – to feel accepted and accept others
Openness – to share experiences and feelings with others
Fairness – to be recognised for my achievement
Tolerance – accept that everybody is different

Our ethos as a specialist residential provision:

Dovetailed into the residential care activities is the aim to promote independence and develop personal competence in relation to life skills. It is recognised that learning takes place throughout the extended curriculum and residential staff work closely with education staff to ensure learning targets are set and worked on. This also links into the child’s and young persons review process.

At Doucecroft we have the advantage of being able to offer children and young people the opportunity to access care therapy and education on one site. An important part of a child and young person’s development is having many opportunities to enjoy and achieve to their full potential. Each child and young person is encouraged to participate in ways that suit them and their needs. Staff will  support the children and young people to achieve at their own pace and ensure that any activities or social situation offers an opportunity to develop creative, physical and social skills.

We give residential children and young people a warm friendly and supportive environment. The residential team build up positive relationships with the children and young people. Those who reside with us will benefit from, the consistent strategies and approaches that link the residential, school environment and the therapy teams as mentioned in the 24 hour curriculum policy.

All children and young people are treated with respect, dignity and their cultural identity is recognised, whilst children and young people are encouraged to challenge themselves to meet their full potential as well as their hopes and ambitions. We encourage personal choice and independence the children and young people are given the opportunity to experience and develop their own personal interests as well as opportunities to continually develop social interaction and communication skills, by accessing a variety of community based activities.

Life skills/independence targets are set for the child/young person when they become a residential student. Staff will do ongoing assessments of progress and set individual targets. These targets. of progress and development are recorded and evidence is collated, to ensure we continue to work towards learning and developing new skills.  Individual achievements are recognised and celebrated, however big or small.    

It is the responsibility of the senior management team to ensure that the statement of purpose for the residential provision is monitored regularly. It is the responsibility of all Doucecroft residential team members to engage positively in that monitoring and ensure implementation.

A Student's Perspective:

What I have achieved at doucecroft.   I started here when I was 9, I did find it difficult and had challenges but I got through it and now really enjoy my time here.

What I enjoy In Sycamore. I enjoy seeing everybody and going out on trips. The trips I like going out on are  shopping, swimming, parks, bowling, leisure world and the cinema. My favourite trip I go out on is the stanway youth club. When im there I like socialise with others by playing games, dancing at the disco and hanging out. I like to help out around the house and enjoy helping with the cooking.  I laugh a lot at school and enjoy Sycamore and it’s always fun.

I have just started my driving lesson’s with Bensons motor company. I really like these lessons and I have one lesson every Wednesday for 1 and a half hours. I have driven all around Colchester and I like to read my theory books at night which staff help me with.

I have learnt a lot over the past 8 years thank you doucecroft For everything.

Respite provision:

Our residential provision is on the outskirts of Colchester, with good links to public transport to get into the main town. The residential houses are set on a secure site. We benefit from having outside play areas, a park, all weather sports pitch, specialised trampoline, indoor swimming pool, sensory integration suite and a gym. We keep chickens, rabbits and guinea pigs, giving the children and young people the opportunity to be involved in caring for the animals alongside the animal therapist. Staff are committed to forge and sustain relationships with the children and young people based on equality. A programme of evening and weekend activities are offered to residential children and young people.

We have two residential houses with eight bedrooms in each house.  We encourage interaction with peers and staff in communal areas, such as lounge and kitchen, especially during meal times. We access the community for fun activities as well as life skill, such as shopping. Residential accommodation is comfortable and homely with individual bedrooms for all children and young people.

Children and young people’s safety, dignity and security are respected as part of the ethos of the residential provision, it is recognised that consideration due to specific cultures and beliefs are supported and this is identified in the individual’s wishes. 
We have Designated Safeguarding Leads who are trained in and responsible for managing safeguarding concerns, detailed in the safeguarding policy.

A family centred approach is encouraged by working closely with parents, carers and outside agencies. This is paramount to provide on-going care and to ensure working in partnership is maintained to achieve agreed outcomes. This gives us the opportunity to involve the parents in their child’s progress and the next areas of development

We also offer respite/flexible boarding for students who attend Doucecroft School. This gives children and young people the chance to interact and socialise with a peer group in a familiar environment, as well as participate in a wide variety of activities both on/off site.

The senior management team will be responsible for implementing and reviewing the residential statement of purpose. 

Parents Comments:

Since Alex began boarding two years ago he has developed life skills that he has transferred into his life at home. He can make his bed, strip the bed linen, do the washing up and lay the table. He enjoys reaching the targets set in his personal life skills plan. He is far more confident and has a greater chance of being more independent after leaving school. He is far less dependent on me and is happy for other adults to support him. He also has lots of fun, going on trips to the cinema and swimming with deeper peer friendships made in the more informal boarding house setting. It really is a happy home from home for him and I can enjoy my respite knowing Alex is receiving the best care possible.  Holly

We are very glad that we made the decision for our son to have a residential place at school. The staff in the boarding house are very knowledgeable and caring and also work closely with the school staff and therapy team to make sure he gets the best support. Boarding has helped him to develop better life skills and he is becoming much more independent.  It has also enabled him to have a more active and interesting life. Rather than simply watching TV after school, he is going out shopping, swimming and to youth club and also has access to lots of activities on site. Boarding has had a positive impact on our family life. We have been able to spend more time with our daughter and feel our life is much more balanced. Crucially, we know that he is happy, safe and well cared for and the staff give us plenty of feedback on how he is getting on both in school and in the boarding house.   Natasha

Nathaniel has benefitted from attending respite as it has helped to develop his social skills as well as improving his life skills. He enjoys trips out and has built great relationships with different staff. Staff know him very well, which helps to keep him calm & happy as they know which activities he enjoys & can help him choose something different when he has had enough. Nathaniel has also got used to living with his peers (he is an only child) , which will help prepare him for the future. As a family it gives us a much needed break to enable us to cope.  Kerry

Jessica has and is benefiting so much form Doucecroft School and even more so as a residential student, its so important for Jess to continue learning important life skills which she does when she is boarding, for example her table manners and waiting skills are so much better we can actual go out or enjoy a family meal be it at the local chinese which she loves or at home she will sit at the table and be part of the family and wait rather than taking her meal up to her bedroom or quickly eating her meal and rushing to get down from the table.  Also trips to the Supermarket, I use to dread as it was more than a workout that going shopping for food, she will now quite happily hold the basket or trolley and go get the items of food and put them in the basket/trolley and yes she always adds something thats not on my list but thats Jess.  Other things Jess has been able to access clubs, interacting with peers whilst boarding which at home ive not been able to do with 3 chilldren all with different needs.  The consistency between school and the boarding is second to non, Jessica needs routine and a specific environment to be able to learn without being overloaded with sensory stimuli which she gets.  She is much calmer and less challenging when she does come home for the weekend which enables us as a family to enjoy the time together.  Andrea