The Acorn Centre has evolved hugely over the past few years following its formation in 2013. DSPL9 was one of the first areas to review their primary behaviour support, the Acorn being it's pilot scheme. After consultations with Primary Heads, it became clear there was a growing need in DSPL9 for a behavioral provision to be led by primary schools and a primary head teacher. The aim was to offer support to children and schools, supporting inclusion and to prevent exclusion. The behaviour partnership board continues to oversee the strategic development of the provision and includes primary head teachers from each DSPL9 area and the DSPL9 ISL manager. The board devised a tiered approach of support that is now used across all DSPL areas in Hertfordshire. At this time there was a pupil support base (PSB) in DSPL9 that had made a decision to not continue and therefore the decision was made to decommission the PSB and for a primary head teacher to oversee the new model of support. This went before HCC cabinet and after a full consultation was agreed and our new tier 4 and 5 outreach and in-reach provision began to evolve.
After consulting with Primary Head teachers we looked for a site that was not attached to a school site - as this was deemed to be a barrier for some children with the highest need. It was decided that we needed an area where the outside could be used to support learning and build relationships. At the point of this change there was no classroom and no capital funding available to support this. With support from ISL leaders, advice from HCC estates, H&S at HCC and the goodwill of Carey’s builders and other contractors we had a small classroom base provided at no cost, which is currently in use and continues to be the main support unit for excluded and high risk children.
There continues to be a significant need within the area and the provision has grown. We continually work creatively to support all of the children, however, being afforded a larger provision would bring us in line with other settings across Hertfordshire and also provide additional support. The hunt for a new location and premises continues...
Over time our provision has evolved to include intense outreach, in reach either at the Acorn Centre on the Lincolnsfield estate or at Warren Dell school. To ensure we offer holistic support for our families we have our own family support practitioner and trainee children's counsellor along with outdoor learning sessions for children and parents and the opportunity for parents to attend courses such as Families Feeling Safe. We treat every child as an individual and aim to support every child, family and school in a way that is right for them.