With the child at its heart, The Harbour Programme adopts an holistic partnership approach to supporting children with social, emotional, and mental health (SEMH) needs. We work alongside the child’s family and home school to enable the child to succeed long term within mainstream provision.  For a number of children this will include directly working with them.

The Harbour programme focuses on building on a child’s strengths to support the development of their social and emotional needs to help them flourish. The basic needs of all children are to be safe, healthy and understood. At different stages of development children may need some support with understanding their thoughts, feelings and emotions. 

The programme is a collaborative approach bringing together information and views of key staff, parents/carers and the child themselves in order to have a greater understanding of a child’s strengths and needs. 

Our principles are child centred approaches focusing on their strengths in order to focus on:

  • Developing the social and emotional skills of the child
  • Collaborative team approach involving parents/carers, school and Harbour staff
  • Planning direct work with the child which may be carried out by Harbour staff

For support from The Harbour Programme to be effective, it is critical that there is engagement by schools and families in the programme. It is successful when the adults involved with a child are provided with the time and space needed for reflection and planning. More information about our collaborative working expectations can be found here

The Harbour Flow Diagram

Our flow diagram helps schools to understand our processes and the different support that we can offer, either through working directly with children and families or by helping schools to reflect, review and develop working practice.

The Harbour Programme Origins

Our journey began in July 2017, after the local authority had consulted with schools in the Trowbridge area about the need to develop provision for young children with social, emotional and mental health (SEMH) needs in Wiltshire. The need for this provision had been recognised within the authority and highlighted by the high number of school exclusions occurring for children of a young age. Following this period of consultation, The Mead Academy Trust was awarded funding from the Primary Heads School Forum (PHF) to develop this provision within Castle Mead and River Mead Schools.  A team of professionals including Specialist Teaching Assistants, Senior/Inclusion Leaders, Wiltshire LA Educational Psychologists and a Clinical Child Psychiatrist was established to develop and set up this provision, managed by the Inclusion Lead for The Mead Trust

The service level agreement put forward by the Local Authority outlines 8 core principles of the provision, which has driven our work from the outset – these are based around working closely with families and children from a young age to develop emotional stability through a multi-agency approach. 

It was agreed early on in the journey that our work should be underpinned by relevant evidence and theory and if possible, by an approach that enabled us to rigorously monitor and assess the progress made by children in the programme. Following further research and consultation with practitioners, it was agreed that The Thrive Approach would be used to underpin our provision and enable us to monitor and assess the progress in the emotional development of the children within the programme. This approach, developed by psychotherapists and educationalists, is based on attachment theory, child development and neuroscience and has a focus on using the arts to explore emotions in a safe way and as a means of re-establishing social and emotional connection.