Charity has a role to play

28th April 2006 at 01:00
Jane Arrowsmith, principal of Oakbank School in Aberdeen, challenged the Smith group and the Scottish Executive to outline ways of ensuring that partnerships were created between charitable trusts such as her school and mainstream schools.

"I have tried to develop partnerships with mainstream schools and their response has been: 'What can we learn from you?' There is really good practice in Scotland. We don't need to go searching all over the world to raise opportunities and the achievements of looked-after children, but we do need better partnership approaches.

"Inclusion has been detrimental to some children because they have remained in an environment which is not suitable to their needs. Their behaviour has become entrenched and earlier intervention would have brought about more positive outcomes."

As a school for pupils with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties, Oakbank has to deal with fundamental gaps in children's lives. It provides therapeutic back-up, including a psychiatric nurse, drama therapist and emotional intelligence support.

The school also runs a "reasoning and reacting programme" to make up deficits caused by ineffective parenting, lack of good role models and limited social skills.

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