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The Acorn Centre

Where Everyone Thrives

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Team Testimonials

Nikki Lucas, Provision Lead & Lead DSP

'Hi I'm Nikki and I lead the provision at The Acorn Centre.  I am a qualified teacher and senco and have had a passion for working with children with additional needs since the beginning of my career.  I am particularly interested in Autism, attachment and social emotional, mental health needs. Since setting up and working at The Acorn centre I have completed numerous training courses which include: Theraplay, sand story skills, drawing and talking and autism training. I am currently a Herts Steps tutor and also am able to train others to do sand story skills. At the Acorn centre numerous staff including myself are all THRIVE practitioners.


The Acorn Centre is an amazing place to work and be, we work with such a wide variety of children and schools so every day is different. Our support is invaluable to the schools, children and families that we work with.'


Lisa Shaw, Deputy Provision Lead, Specialist Teacher & DSP

'My name is Lisa and I am the Deputy Lead at The Acorn Centre. I have been a qualified teacher for many years and have worked with different year groups and a host of families. I am passionate about celebrating children’s successes and developing strong relationships to help support them in school and at our centre.

Acorn’s ethos of providing positive experiences to the children and families that we support has been fantastic to be a part of as it is such a unique provision. Our fantastic team work incredibly hard and we are lucky to be able to work closely with children to give them skills that help to equip them for life.  Learning through play is a passion of mine and is adopted within the way we work which is incredibly successful.'


Family Support Practitioner

Tracey Anne Gill

"Hi my name is Tracey. I have recently joined The Acorn, but already the passion for working with Families who have children with additional needs has come flooding back. I have previously worked in a SEMH school with Families and have also worked for a local Service providing support to local schools. I have various skills and expertise in different areas so that I can best support every individual family I work with. We are all different and that's ok! 

Being a Parent is one of the hardest jobs ever and it does not come with a manual! Parenting a child with an additional need including Autism, ADHD and Social, Emotional and Mental Health needs can be even trickier. Being able to help and support through these difficulties is what we do best.


Going on a journey, where we don't always know the end destination can be scary. We aim to be with you on that journey."


To find out more about that our Family Support Practitioners can offer, click here. 

Jo Kingsley, Trainee children's counsellor

I’ve worked in schools since 2015. I started as a volunteer listening to children of all ages to read in a primary school. I then became a Midday Supervisor's Assistant for 5 years, which meant looking after the children during lunchtimes and out on the playgrounds. I really enjoyed this role as I was able to be very creative with the children through play. As my creativity had been unlocked I decided to train as a children’s counsellor. I use play and art to allow the children to open up and express themselves freely. The child is given a confidential space to manage their thoughts and big feelings in a safe way. By using 7 forms of art to connect their mind and body, this visual language supports the child to safely explore their internal and external worlds, with the aim of improving their emotional well-being.


I worked at the Acorn Centre previously as a Therapeutic Play Practitioner and I left this role to concentrate on my training. By July 2021, I will be qualified as an Integrative children's counsellor using the arts. I feel very privileged to be part of the team at the Acorn Centre.  

Acorn Behaviour Support Practitioners

Fiona Ford

'Hi, my name is Fiona, and I am a Behaviour Support Practitioner. I have previously worked within a school environment and have recently completed a Counselling qualification. I am a Thrive practitioner as well as Sand Story Skills, Drawing & Talking, loss/bereavement interventions and trauma informed (Aces).

I am passionate about supporting children with social and emotional needs; hearing their voices so as they may reach their full potential.'

Debbie Massey

'Hi. I am Debbie and am fortunate to work alongside a great team at Acorn.

I have worked within the educational setting for 13 years as a pastoral lead and now trained as a behaviour support practitioner travelling to various schools educating school staff in behaviour management and emotion coaching whilst supporting children whom are at risk of exclusion. Ensuring they are heard, listened to and on some occasions "being their voice". '


Alison Colby

'Hi my name is Ali Colby, I have worked at the Acorn centre for 3 years as a behaviour support practitioner. I worked as a TA in a senior school, moving on to become behaviour support manager. I’m a trained Parenting support Facilitator, a trained instructor in baby massage and now a trained Thrive practitioner.

I have attended numerous courses relating to children’s behaviours including attachment, drawing and talking, protective behaviours, step on, understanding Autism, safeguarding, trauma and speech & language course. Also achieved a Diploma in social work and HE. I’m a DSP and first Aid trained.

I love working with such a varied range of children within the Acorn centre and on outreach within schools supporting the child and staff. Giving them positive experiences and strategies to help their development.

The Acorn is such a unique provision for children, families and schools. Having lots of different avenues to work with (therapeutic, play, family support etc) it’s a lovely team to be part of, working together to give our children the best possible outcome.'