Welcome to Junior House
“A happy and safe home from home environment for very special kids”
— Kyle McLaughlin – Head of Care —
Our Boarders live in a modern building known as Junior House. (It’s also known as J Block) This is the 2nd generation building, which houses the boarders. Originally, boarders lived on the 1st floor of A Block, which is in the main school building. In the 50s, the School Management decided to build a new building to house the boarders and give them something purpose built. The result was a 3 floor concrete building, housing 3 units, a large dining area and Sick Bay.
By the end of the 70s, the building was deteriorating and was suffering with Concrete Cancer and other structural problems. It was decided that the building needed to come down and a new building put in it’s place, built of brick. So in 1982, the Boarding Provision moved back to the main building in rooms that had been converted back to dormitories. In 1984, the Residential Team was handed the keys to the now more modern building, which originally had 6 units, with their own lounge and own dining areas, 1 or 2 bedded rooms, better toilet and washing facilities and Sick Bay was given a larger purpose built medical facility.
In 1997, the units on the 4th floor (The Ceder and Ash Units) were closed and converted to offices. Over the next few years, all the units were thoroughly refurbished and the interior of each unit modified, to increase the bed-space, without loosing communal space. The units now had connecting doors from one unit to the other, which meant that we could then do horizontal evacuation in the event of a fire emergency and it meant each unit did not need it’s own Sluice Room. Instead, sluice rooms, and Linen Cupboards were now shared between units. (However, each unit does have it’s own Staff Room, Locker Room and Toilet \ shower facilities.) Each floor also had it’s own Sleep in Room, which meant that extra bedrooms on each unit could be added for boarders. The staff sleep in bedroom is off the main stairwell and has it’s own en-suite toilet and shower facilities.
In 2011, all units had their bathrooms and toilets replaced and new kitchenettes were fitted, replacing the kitchens installed between 2000 and 2001. We also had a call system system installed and the units (to allow boarders to call for help if needed, using red ceiling mounted pull cords and call buttons on the wall) received automatic magnetically locked doors, which allows boarders in a wheelchair to be able to access their unit without staff assistance. Each of our Disabled Units, also received either a walk in bath or a Parker Bath, in addition to the baths we already have on each unit. This meant that disabled YP’s could be bathed in a safer environment. Each unit also received 2 new wet rooms, which also have a toilet and a wash basin, as well as a thermostatically controlled shower.
The building has been designed not to be “Institutionalized”. All the units have been cleverly designed in a way that makes them look more like a domestic property and looks like a large flat. The communal areas are very open planned, with large windows that let in lots of light and walls that are very colorful. The bedrooms are similar to those in a hotel, with comfy single beds \ bunk beds, a writing desk, comfy chair(s) chest of draws, bedside tables with reading lamps, (or in the case of bunkbeds, wall mounted reading lamps) Plenty of wall space for posters \ personal photos, plus curtains and blinds fitted in each bedroom. All bedrooms have either alarm cords or call buttons to call for a member of staff if needed. Bedrooms also have smoke detectors fitted, (as part of the building’s Fire Alarm system) along with flashing beacons that alert the boarders, that the fire alarm is sounding. There are also points by each bed, which allow us to connect a vibrating mat, (which goes under the pillows) to wake up a boarder that may be hard of hearing, should the fire alarm sound during the night.
The Fire Alarm sounds in stages, depending where the fire is. If you are in a area where the fire alarm has been activated from, the fire bells will ring continuously, all the beacons will flash (in communal all areas, including in the bedrooms and bathrooms. Also the vibrating pads, under pillows in bedrooms, (where they are fitted) will be activated. If you are on the unit next door, on the stairs or on a unit above or below the zone the fire alarm is sounding from, the alarm will sound in Intermittently. The beacons will also no be activated on that unit.
The fire safety design features of the building mean that you do not need to evacuate unless the bells change from Intermittent bells to Contentious bells.
The difference between the “call alarm” beacons and the “fire alarm beacons” is easy to spot. The call alarm is a square light, which is orange and the size of a stamp. When activated, it stays continuously lit and does not flash
The Fire Alarm Beacons are red, are the width of a mug and have a plastic dome cover. The light rapidly spins round inside the cover and will light up an entire room when activated. The beacon has a sign underneath it that has the words: FIRE ALARM.
When the system sound sounds the alarm using intermittent Fire Bells, where the fire bells ring for 5 seconds, then silenced for 2 seconds. This means that there is a fire somewhere in the building, (either in the adjacent fire zone or a fire zone, that is above or below you.) When the alarm is in this stage, Staff and Boarders should continue normal activities, but should the fire alarm change to continue bells, be prepared to evacuate. (Follow instructions given by the Duty House Parent or another senior member of Care Staff. During the night, this also means that we do not have to wake up boarders unnessercery.
This is what the Intermittent Fire Alarm sounds like: (You can hear the “thud” of the automatic fire doors closing in the background)
And this is what the call alarm sounds, should a young person press the call button in their room, the unit common areas or if they pull the red alarm cords in the bathroom or the toilet.
However, this is not the same fast pace as the emergency alarm, which uses a much faster beeping alarm. A member of staff can activate this alarm, by holding down the call button and pressing reset for 5 seconds. Staff can use this alarm, should they feel threatened, need urgent assistance, or in the event of a medical emergency. Activating this alarm will send staff running, as they will be able to see where the alarm has been activated from, as it will show up on the call alarm panel, at the Staff Base.
Continuous ringing of the fire bells means evacuate – fire in your immediate area. In this mode, the system will switch the corridor lights to full brightness, close the fire doors, activate the flashing beacons and the vibrating pads. Outside the unit, the alarm beacons will flash, which means that you should not enter. Sometimes it can be obvious why the alarm has activated (someone smoking, deodorant spray etc) and the alarm can be silenced, until Sam can come and reset the system. At other times, it may mean the the unit will need to be evacuated.
On either mode, A House Parent, or another senior member of Care Staff will give instructions to staff and boarders and lead evacuation, as required.
We use the horizontal evacuation model. This means we evacuate boarders and staff to another unit on the same floor. (Separate Fire Zone, which is protected by 2 sets of double doors. (Either side of the Lift Bay) Unless there is danger to life and we cannot evacuate to the next door unit, we will not move boarders or staff down a floor. However, if this is needed, all stairwells have Evac Chairs, to assist evacuation. If we need to evacuate to another floor in the building at night, we have mattress straps by the internal fire stairs by each unit. (Main stairwell and rear stairwell)
All staff are trained in fire fighting and all units have extinguishers and fire blankets provided for this. Boarders are also reminded to tell a member of staff or to break the glass on the nearest red fire break, if they discover a fire, or can smell or see smoke. Boarders also have been told not to sound the alarm, unless there is a real fire. Activating the fire alarm without good cause is a punishable offence and can lead to detention, extra chores or the more serious of punishments, which is being suspended from school!
If needed, we can evacuate the entire building (it takes alot of man power and we have done so in drills) to the Gym, but it is safer if possible, to evacuate horizontally.
this is what the Continuous ringing of the fire bells sounds like:
After the fire at Grenfell Tower, we had the “Mock Tudor” Cladding removed from the outside of the 3rd and 4th floor, with immediate effect. We then had the brickwork cleaned up and new fire-resistant “Mock Tudor” Cladding was installed on the the 4th floor.
Lighters and smoking materials are not allowed to be bought onto school premises by pupils. (Including E-Cigarettes) We immediately confiscate such items on discovery and an appropriate punishment issued.
The main doors to J Block are open from 7am – 9pm. Junior House Reception is manned between 8am – 8pm and deals with visitors to the building. Outside of these hours, visitor are directed to the Intercom Panel, by the Security door, which will allow a visitor to contact the relivent Unit. The Units also have security doors, which are locked overnight and in some units, are locked all the time, for young people’s safety.
From the secure inner lobby, boarders can access the garden, which has high fencing around the parameter.
J Block has a network of 64 colour security cameras, inside and outside the building. On the units, there is a camera at the entrance to the unit and also in communal areas. The sleeping area and the bathroom areas do not have cameras fitted. All corridors outside units, the lifts and stairways also have CCTV fitted.
Outside, the building has several cameras and all entrances are view-able. Staff can see what is going on via the monitors in the unit office and Sam can watch the cameras from his office, which is also the School CCTV Control Room.
In our school, we take the safety of our staff, pupils and visitors seriously. This is why we have strict security controls in place.
Sick Bay is our own miniature Hospital. It’s open 24 hours a day, 7 days week. Sick Bay is on the 3rd floor of Junior House and is purpose built. We have two four bed bays for children who need to be kept an eye on, but cannot be cared for normally on the units. We also have 2 en suite cubicles for kids who need to be barrier nursed. (IE: Kids with Impetigo or another infection that cannot be treated on the main ward.) The other bed bay has 6 beds and is our Day Unit, for Children who cannot be taught in the traditional classroom setting. (due to either their health or mental health needs but require closer monitoring.) The Day Unit has 6 beds, as well as a tabled area with a whiteboard and computers. We have 2 Teachers who are based in Sick Bay, between 9am – 3pm and 2 Classroom Assistants.
We also have 2 Treatment Rooms, which are used for First Aid, hearing tests, eye tests and for changing catheters etc. The treatment Rooms are also used by our two on site GP’s. (We are one of the few Schools with Resident GP’s) Dr. Robinson and Dr. Daryk, are our GP’s, with one working during the day, from 9am – 8pm and the other is on call out of hours. (On a rota basis)
Appointments to see the Doctor can be made via a member of Care Staff, or for older boys; in person by visiting Sick Bay and both doctors can be easily paged as needed.
Other areas of Sick Bay include: 2 bathrooms, a pharmacy room, a small kitchen, play room, sluice room and a counselling room.
The large garden is fenced in and is huge! It has a large adventure play area with a large Pirate Ship in the middle, which the kids can clilmb on and can even make staff walk the plank! (Kyle and I have walked the plank many times now!
There are also shady areas to sit, with either tables and chairs or benches. We also have a BBQ area, which does get used alot in the summer months.
In the sheds, we have bikes, tykes and pedal Go Karts, which the kids like to ride around the grounds. (Supervised of course)
Many Pupils have helped to plant flowers & shrubs in the garden and also create a area that is a memorial to Pupils who have passed away in the past.
Our garden gets used all year round and is a separate space from the units and the school, for relaxation, reflection and recreation and open to all Boarders.
Pictures uploaded with permission from the School Leadership Team.
Each unit is safe, secure and bright. Access to each unit is via an Intercom, where a member of staff can see who is at the door, as well as speaking to them. The outer doors to Junior House are also locked after 9pm and access is via an electronic locking system and are intercom controlled. Staff have electronic ID Cards, which allows them to open Security Doors, around the building.
The units are a home from home and are highly furnished and brightly
- A large communal lounge, with flat screen TVs, Sky TV, toys and games, Pool Tables, comfy sofas, armchairs, books and comics.
- A large dining area on each unit.
- A kitchen for cooking sessions and preparing snacks
- Single, twin and 3 bedded rooms, which are bright and friendly and furnished to the highest standards.
- All bedrooms have a call button next to the beds, to summon a member of staff.
- a minimum of 3 Bathrooms on each unit, with a mix of baths and showers. (All have a call button by the toilet, as well as a red alarm cord by the toilet and a alarm cord by the shower \ bath.
- On our Accessible Units, we have “Swing Baths” as well as Wetroom provision.
- “Safe Space Room” (calm rooms where children can take time to think, calm and reflect or can be taken if they become distressed)
- Staff Base, just outside the Unit Office
- Private family contact room with toys, television, beanbags etc.
- Unit Office, (Unit Admin and House Parents Office)
- Staff Room and separate Staff WC and Shower Room
- Security Doors, which have a intercom and are in view of CCTV Cameras.
- Both audible and visual fire alarm sounders
- Sluice Rooms shared by 2 units on the same floor
- Access to a telephone, (for contacting family etc in Private)
- Fruit/vegetable patch (We grow our own fruit and veg)
- Large grassed garden with large “Pirate Galleon” play structure and Football Goals
- A park (5 minute walk away)
- religious and cultural needs (IE: Church \ Mosque etc)
- Fully central heated, with underfloor heating in bathrooms and toilets
- Openable windows to allow fresh air in (All Windows have safety latches)
- Separate “day” and “night” mode for corridor and toilet lights, with the lights automatically dimmed during the night. (The lights will automatically come back on at full brightness, should the fire alarm be activated during the night. Staff can also override the Night Lighting, if needed )
- First aid boxes in each unit office and a “Crash Trolley” shared between 2 units, on each floor.
- Alarm cords \ call buttons in communal areas
In addition, Sick Bay and the Squirrels and the Foxes Unit have:
- Wider doorways to allow wheelchair access
- Larger bathrooms and toilets
- A “Changing Places” Toilet
- Wet Rooms
- A Parker Bath or a Walk in Bath
- Alarm cords in communal areas
Did you know: We used to have a Matron in charge of Boarding? This was scrapped 22 years ago and we adopted the term “House Parents” instead. It also introduced a new job role, known as Head of Care, (also referred to as the Head Careworker) which is the title Kyle currently holds.
Each unit has 6 Care Staff on duty at all times, as well as House Parents. (Also known as Unit Leaders) We have a mix of Carers and Senior Carers on every shift.
Senior staff are able to give out medication and also more than often, are also the shift supervisor, who assists the Unit Leaders.
A Homely Environment with dedicated staff who truly care about each and every Young Person!
Our kids, who have struggled to form positive relationships in the past, have plenty of laughs and fun with staff and each other and engage in a wide range of enjoyable activities such as sport, cooking, art and music. There are photographs on the units of the many activities that the kids share with sensitive and dedicated staff.
Effective routines and boundaries in the home and a very strong ethos around nurturing support the kids to learn to manage their own behavior. This reduces the risk of violent incidents and self-harm and going missing. the kids benefit from the innovation of our ‘safe space room’ where staff can take them to calm down and reflect if they are distressed. Our staff know how to handle situations that escalate and can intervene before things get out of hand. (IE: Self-harm and suicide) all the kids also have a “Keyworker” who meets with them on a weekly basis to talk about any issues they may have. The kids also know they can speak to a member of staff in confidence at any time and know that all they need to do is ask!
In the event of an emergency, we have a member of staff who are on sleep in and sleep in accommodation that is off the main stairwell and next door to the units. This means that there is always an extra pair of hands when needed. If something more serious happens, we have a “Duty System” where either Kyle or Bev are on call for emergencies. Thankfully, we do not have many situations, where Kyle \ Bev are needed, but the system is in place if we need it, meaning that there is staff \ pupil support day and night, all year round.
3 dedicated staff teams provide YP’s with a stable and consistent environment and avoid the confusion of multiple members of staff working different shift patterns all with varying standards and approaches to their work. These care teams are managed by the Head of Care, (Kyle) and Deputy Head of Care (Bev) and are based on the 4th floor of J Block. (However, they both do a number of shifts on the units and are not always chained to their desks!
Each Shift has:
- A House Parent \ Assistant House Parent on duty
- 3 Carers
- 2 Senior Carers (who can also hand out medication)
- Play Worker \ Play Specialist (3pm – 10pm)
- Counselors (Rosemary, Marion and Mike) 4pm – 8pm Mon to Fri)
Teams work different shifts, earlies, lates and night (Waking Night or Sleep In)
- The Early Shift is from 7am – 10am
- The Late Shift is from 2pm – 9pm
- Night Shift 9pm – 7am (The member of staff on Waking Night, generally go to bed between 10.30 and 11pm)
Each YP has a Care Plan, which is tailor made, to meet their personal care needs. From full one on one care, to help with personal care and regular observation, our YP’s get the care they need, 24 hours a day.
The Units also have their own team of Housekeepers, who keep the units clean and tidy, take laundry down to the Laundry Room, change beds etc. We also have a small team of volunteers, who help with morning routines, homework and reading.
Each Unit has an “Interdependent Visitor” who they can talk to about any problems they may have and we have facilities for YP’s to speak to relatives on the phone in private, as well as access to services such as Childline and NYAS. The kids can also get counselling and we have a counseling on the units on weekday afternoons and early evening. The Counselors also work during the school day too.
Sam deals with the maintenance of the units and is also on call, should there be a maintenance emergency during the night or weekends. (including fire alarm and central heating emergencies)
Talking of emergencies, Our YP’s know how to keep themselves safe in an emergency on their unit. Sam and I devised a poster that is easy to understand and covers everything from the fire alarms, what do do if someone is hurt, where the First Aid Boxes are located, how to leave the units in an emergency and a list of emergency phone numbers.
The safety and security of our school is key and these posters are a useful written guide for boarders , should an emergency occur and a YP cannot find a member of staff in the immediate area. (This is rare, as there normally are at least 2 members of staff in the communal areas at all times)
Freshly prepared meals, 7 days a week
Food is prepared in the main kitchen and is bought over by the Catering staff every evening. We serve 2 hot healthy options, as well as a vegetarian option and salads can be ordered. We also serve 2 hot puddings as well as yogurt and fruit. There is access to a fruit bowl, with fresh fruit in the Unit Pantries, which the kids can help themselves to at any time. The kids fill in menu cards on a weekly basis, to choose the food they wish to eat, but can make special requests to the caterers, if there is nothing that takes their fancy.
The Pantries also allow YP’s to make hot and cold drinks. We have a machine in each unit pantry, which makes tea and coffee. (Just put your mug on the tray at the bottom of the machine and press Tea or Coffee) We also have cordials and milkshakes available.
We do regular onsite and offsite activities for the YP’s in our care. Every afternoon after school, we have a choice of activities that our Play Specialists and Care Staff orginise. On unit and on site activities include:
- Pool (Each unit has a pool table)
- Arts and Crafts
- Drama and Dance
- Use of the School Fitness Room (Running Machines etc)
- Swimming in the School Indoor Heated Swimming Pool
- Football in the Sports Hall
- Basketball in the Sports Hall
- A weekly visit from Sox (Our visiting Pets as Therapy Cat)
- Cooking in the unit kitchen
- Bouncy Castle in the summer months
- Use of the Adventure Play Area in the garden
- Riding bikes round the grounds
- Use of the Soft Play Room
- Games Consoles
- Computers (which have a number of games and access to the Internet)
- Friday Night Karaoke and Disco in the Sports Hall
- Weekly Clubs (inc. the Model Rail Club and Aikido with Sense Sam)
- Tuck Shop
- Sports (Football, Street Hockey, basketball etc
Off Site Activities include:
- Going to the local park
- Cinema \ Theatre trips
- Meals out
- Ice Skating
- Trips to the Coast
- Cubs \ Scouts \ Explorer Scouts
- Army and Air Force Cadets
- St John Ambulance Badgers
- Youth Club
Birthdays and special events are always a time to celebrate and we also have other party nights as well. Sam does the Discos and Karaoke in the Sports Hall.
Units Daily Routine
Monday – Friday (Times below vary, depending of age of the boarders)
06:30 Staff Handover
07:00 Boarders woken up by the Day Staff, then get dressed \ Night staff go home
08:45 Walked over by staff to the school
15:15 School ends, Boarders return to their units
15:30 Boarders change clothes and put clean laundry away
15:45 Unit Meeting (Signing out for afternoon activities)
16:00 Afternoon activities begin
16: 45 Boarders return from afternoon activities
16:45 Free Time \ Homework
17:45 Free Time \ Homework
19:00 Unit Meeting (Signing out for evening activities)
19:15 Evening activities begin
20:45 Boarders return from evening activities
20:50 Shower \ Bath and Supper \ Staff Handover
20:50 Medication \ Night Shift starts
22:30 Lights out \ Day staff go home.
Weekend Routine **
07:00 Staff Handover
07:30 Boarders woken up by the Day Staff, then get dressed
08:30 Free Time \ Homework
09:00 Unit Meeting (Signing out for activities)
09:15 Morning activities begin
12:00 Boarders return from morning activities
12:00 Free Time
12:45 Free Time
13:45 Unit Meeting (Signing out for activities)
14:00 Afternoon activities begin
16:45 Boarders return from afternoon activities
16:45 Free Time \ Homework
18:30 Free Time \ Homework
18:45 Unit Meeting (Signing out for activities)
19:00 Unit Meeting (Signing out for activities)
20:45 Boarders return from evening activities
20:45 Free Time \ Homework \ Night Staff Handover
21:30 Shower \ Bath and Supper
21:30 Medication \ Night Shift starts
22:00 Lights out \ Day staff go home.
** On a Sunday, bedtime is the same time as a school day. This also applies to Bank Holidays, when the next day is a school day.
** Every Week, Unit Leaders also have Unit Meetings, where Young People can have a say about issues and for staff to talk about any important issues. **