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UP Foundation

Unlocking Potential (UP): The Schools Programme

Unlocking Potential (UP) is a charity who work within London Communities to transform the life chances of marginalised children who have social, emotional and mental health needs. We deliver outreach to schools who have a significant number of children with SEMH, through psychotherapy, occupational therapy, speech & language therapy and work with parents. The Schools Programme is the branch of the charity that enables a school-based therapeutic service to be embedded into the school. Unlocking Potential has been working with John Burns Primary for nearly three years.

What does Unlocking Potential offer schools?

The Schools Programme is a therapeutic service that benefits the whole school by being available to all children, and can also be helpful to parents/carers and staff. It offers consistent, high-quality support to children who are affected by emotional or behavioural challenges. We have a team consisting of Psychotherapists and Creative Art Therapists, Occupational and Speech & Language therapists, who provide flexible, timely and targeted interventions to improve emotional wellbeing and help children to thrive. A Team Manager is based in the school and is the link person between all these services. They provide shorter term targeted interventions and are responsible for referrals, liaising with teaching staff and meeting with parents.

When can Unlocking Potential be useful for your child and you?

There can be occasions when children feel strong emotions such as being sad, confused, fearful or angry. This could be for a number of different reasons, family challenges such as separation or illness, moving house or schools, or even the death of a much-loved pet. Some children may become withdrawn; others may become demanding or challenging in their behaviour: this is when having Unlocking Potential services in school is particularly beneficial.

Where does the support happen?

There is an exclusive room inside the school where children can go to express and think about their worries, through talking, creative art, and play. Qualified therapists and trainees who are therapeutically trained, are recruited to help children to find new ways of coping with difficulties so they have less of an impact on friendships or learning. This process is supported by a qualified Team Manager who is on site three days per week. They meet with parents and talk about their child’s progress and any concerns they may have. The opportunity to meet the therapist directly working with their child is also provided at these meetings.

Who is eligible for Unlocking Potential (Schools Programme)?

Any child requiring emotional support for any reason.

Need more information?

You can come and talk to the Team Manager based in the school, either in person or through email or telephone. At John Burns the Team Manager is Michelle Bativala who works Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. You can contact her through the school front office or find her in the playground during the mornings or afternoons.