Learning and Education at Sowenna

Learning and Education Header

During term time, all young people at Sowenna are expected to continue learning.  This is true whether you are still in school, in the sixth form or taking further education qualifications at college or becoming engaged in the world of work and training.  We think that learning is a lifelong process and more importantly, it is part of your treatment here.

Shortly after you are admitted, you will meet your Teacher(s).  Together, you will  work out what sort of timetable will best meet your needs, taking into account what you may be studying at your home school, what your interests are and how much learning time you can manage.  Your Key Teacher will link with your own school, college or training provider and together they will agree how you can most effectively continue learning and avoid falling too far behind while you are an in-patient.   Throughout the course of your stay, your Key Teacher will meet with you at least weekly so you can discuss how things are going. He or she will be part of your care team and will also go to CPA meetings to report on how you are getting on.  The Key Teacher will also link up with your parents or carers and professionals who may be involved in your work or learning, like careers advisers or work experience placement supervisors.

The learning day runs from 10.00am – 3.30pm and your learning timetable at Sowenna is a personal one: it will change week by week to reflect how able you are to learn, to work with others and to take part in various activities on and off site. 

At Sowenna we have a Head Teacher, Teacher and 3 higher Level Teaching Assistants, they can support your studies in most subjects, but sometimes you may learn online (for some languages, for example) or we may try to find specialist teachers for particular subjects.  You may be taught on your own, in pairs or as part of a group.  If you have public exams like GCSEs or A levels coming up, then these can be taken here.

In addition to these subject-based sessions, you will opt in to various groups usually including at least one physical activity a week as your health permits (e.g. PE, swimming, gym or climbing) and at least one creative group (e.g. music, art, drama, pottery).  There are other options such as cooking, gardening, critical thinking.   There is usually a weekly trip off site to places of interest.  As your needs, interests and capabilities change, you may well want to talk to your Key Teacher about which groups you are part of.  Teachers and occupational therapists tend to run many of these groups together.

As you approach discharge, your Key Teacher and your case team will plan carefully with you for reintegrating into your own school, college or workplace.  Whenever possible, you will be able to benefit from supported visits back and experience a gradually increasing timetable.  If you are not in education, employment or training, then teaching staff and Occupational Therapists will work closely with you to help you think about what you might want to achieve in the next stage of your life, support you in preparing for that and link with community workers to start making that happen

Group work

Part of your treatment takes place in groups. If you are under 16 a teacher will advise you of the groups you will be expected to attend throughout your stay. If you are over 16 an occupational therapist will meet with you following your admission to find out what your hobbies and interests are and how we can support your future plans for work or within education.

They offer you a chance to talk about your worries and to hear the concerns of other young people. Through groups you can learn that many people have similar problems and together you can help each other to overcome them. Your team will help you to find out what groups may be beneficial to attend.

Skills group

These groups give young people coping skills to help manage stressful situations, difficult relationships, and to help cope with strong emotions.

Expressive groups.

These give you an opportunity to express yourself in different ways (e.g. pottery, art, photography, Graffiti- which are subject to availability).

Talking groups.

The emphasis of these groups is on supporting each other, discovering that other people have similar problems and that you are not alone.

Leisure groups.

These groups look at exploring different recreational activities, hobbies and leisure activities and interests that you can do in your own time (e.g. gym and swimming, art and crafts.)

Eating Disorders Groups.

This group is for young people who have an eating disorder. The group will cover themes such as psycho-education, motivation for change and CBT formulations which will help you gain an understanding of your eating disorder.

Community Meetings.

These happen on the unit each day and are an important opportunity for all the young people and staff to get together. There is a morning meeting at 09:45 am and an afternoon meeting at 20:45 which you will be expected to attend. The morning meeting provides a formal start to the day, whereas the afternoon meeting is a less formal opportunity to reflect on the main part of the day. The aim is to:

  • Discuss any important information that affects the unit atmosphere.    
  • Discuss any concerns or issues related to the unit.
  • Provide a place where young people and staff can find out what is happening on the unit.
  • Allow you to express how you are feeling and share this with the group.
  • Work together to resolve problems related to the unit.

Mental Health Advocacy at Sowenna.

Independent Mental Health Advocates (IMHAs) can visit Sowenna (INSERT TIME) to offer a free and confidential mental health advocacy service.

Mental health advocates are there to ensure people’s views, wishes and concerns about their care and treatment are heard and respected. Information on rights under the Mental Health Act is also provided. If you would like to se

e an IMHA, or talk on the phone, at any time, these are our contact details:

MHA Advocates Info

A Parents information leaflet is also available to explain the service.