At Starley Hall we use the ‘3 phases of transition model’ to help us make sense of the psychological process of change. We recognise that at every transition a young person makes there may be a sense of loss, an ending or having to let something go. Prior to their ‘new beginning’ young people often experience a ‘no man’s land’ where they may experience confusion or ‘fight or flight’ and have an urge to return to what they left behind.
As such, at Starley Hall we focus heavily on transitions, recognising they are a time of high anxiety for young people.
Transition periods are therefore carefully planned and the plan for every young person is specific to their needs. Transition into the school involves a number of professional planning meetings, where appropriate and possible parents or carers are fully involved in this process. There is a robust information gathering process and contact with previous educational and care establishments. Young people are offered opportunities to visit, spend time in class, share mealtimes and activities with peers and where appropriate stay over, this process can take a period of weeks or days dependent on the needs of the young person. Profiles and risk assessments are compiled prior to young people commencing placement, educational psychologists, social workers and other relevant professionals meet with staff and share relevant information so that all staff have a very good awareness of the educational and care needs of the young person.
“A comprehensive transition programme ensures that all staff have a very good understanding of the holistic needs of young people and how to support their wellbeing. Very positive relationships, and high levels of unconditional positive regard towards young people, ensure that they feel safe, cared for and included. This is helping to re-engage young people with their learning, many of whom have had long periods of interrupted learning at previous education placements.”
Education Scotland and Care Inspectorate report – March 2020
We recognise this is just the start of the process and a great deal of planning goes into the day to day plans for each young person. Many of our young people find the transition from the house to school particularly difficult and we have established a number of strategies and interventions to manage this. Morning routines in the houses which allow young people to experience consistency and predictability, visual planners and timetables which enable the young person to know what will happen and make them aware of any changes to their day. In school the timetable follows a predictable routine with the same staff and steps are taken to keep change to a minimum.