A Dorchester school has received accreditation for its mental health and trauma services.

 Dorchester Learning Centre (DLC), which caters for children who are outside the mainstream school system, has become the first school in the county to be accredited with the Trauma and Mental Health Informed School award.

A Trauma and Mental Health Informed School is able to support children and teenagers who suffer with trauma or mental health problems, and whose troubled behaviour can act as a barrier to learning.

During their three-year assessment, DLC staff were given the proven tools and knowledge needed to support the increasing mental health needs of students. The school can now offer improved support to children and teenagers, providing them with an emotionally available adult to help them navigate their life challenges.

Dorset Echo:

David Dinsmore, Head Teacher at Dorchester Learning Centre said: “We are delighted to be the first and only school in Dorset to be awarded the Trauma and Mental Health Informed mark. Relational practice underpins everything we do at DLC and so this seemed a natural and beneficial progression for us.

“Working towards the accreditation involved significant and extensive training for all our staff. TIS will now be a central part of our practice, adding to our overall relational practice model which supports children at every stage of their development.”

The report from Trauma Informed Schools UK states that “As soon as you arrive at Dorchester Learning Centre you are aware that this is a special environment where compassion, kindness and care are at the heart of its ethos.

“All senior leaders are passionate about the work they are doing, have ambition and are determined to continue to develop the provision to reach as many children as possible”.

The assessor reported that: “Children all said that the key aim of the adults is to ensure that they enjoy their experience in school, make good memories and do the best they can.

"Children thrive at DLC because every staff member makes it their business to ensure that they understand them and meet their individual needs.”