Wellbeing & Safety

The Marchant-Holliday School is a weekly boarding residential and day special school catering for boys aged 5-13 with a complex range of Social, Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH) needs. The school seeks to provide a safe, secure, and positive environment in which children can learn, develop and grow, making full use of the range of relationships and facilities available to them. 

The Headteacher, senior leadership team (SLT) and staff work to provide a stimulating and safe environment that meets the needs of children with a wide range of difficulties. Emphasis is placed on quality of provision and the school works hard to ensure good practice and full compliance with current educational and childcare standards.

The school’s aim is, “to offer positive learning experiences within a secure and caring environment that will enable pupils to develop their full potential for social, emotional, intellectual and physical growth”. To reach our aim we work with our young people to achieve the following:

  • Positive feelings of self-worth
  • Intellectual growth and academic progress
  • The development of appropriate, lasting, and meaningful relationships
  • The development of a full range of life and social skills and positive attitudes towards families and society
  • The development of the moral and spiritual values that will enhance the pupils’ lives and help them to become effective and valued members of society
  • The enjoyment of school life and the promotion of happiness, confidence, and a sense of well being

The school seeks to develop an environment that is caring, structured and secure. Emphasis is placed on providing high standards of care within an atmosphere of trust and respect between adult and child. There is strong emphasis on safeguarding and child protection, achieved through involvement of a committed governing body, effective staffing levels, effective liaison with outside agencies and the use of independent visitors.

The residential provision is weekday throughout the school year.  The Marchant-Holliday School delivers not only academic education through the school day but also social and emotional education and support for boarders and day pupils. A holistic and multi-disciplinary approach is taken with regard to pupils’ specific difficulties. The school employs specialists, consultants, and therapists to address these. The school operates a 24-hour care curriculum which means that pupils are constantly being guided and supported in achieving their specific individual goals and targets through identified work, discussion, role modelling and activities with staff.

Ethos and Philosophy

The Marchant Holliday School aims to safeguard and promote the welfare of its children. It is conscious that the wide variety of behaviour and emotional distress experienced by the children, their complex circumstances and youth, demand from the staff a special vigilance and a commitment to provide physical and emotional care to a very high standard.

The school believes that the children have a right to happiness, to an environment which actively promotes good mental, physical and emotional health and to an education which fulfils their needs.

The environment of the school is designed to allow the child to catch up on missed experiences and to progress to a position of emotional and intellectual stability, from which he can achieve his full potential. 

The school is sensitive to the religious and cultural backgrounds of the children and strives to develop and maintain links with home, and to give appropriate consideration to the wishes of parents and carers.

Children are entitled to the security of a structured and consistent environment. An environment which is fair, whilst remaining flexible to a degree that permits consideration to be given to individual circumstances. Sanctions are applied in a manner which is clear, open, and recorded.

Good professional relationships and the giving of relevant praise and reward are the most effective tools in instilling appropriate behaviour and in achieving the aims of the school. Verbal and non-verbal signalling of praise is essential as is celebrating achievement through the use of the token economy, the pencil or special award assemblies, reward trips and experiences, and certificates and stickers.

Well-being & Safety

The Marchant Holliday School is committed to Safeguarding and Promoting the Welfare of all its pupils.  Each pupil’s welfare is of paramount importance.  Adequate staffing is provided to ensure that children have a level of supervision and care appropriate to their needs and development. Individual risk assessments are in place for each child and are regularly reviewed and updated.

The provision of good care, nourishment, and warmth along with having clear and consistently applied rules, routines and expectations are essential and are the foundation on which appropriate relationships and emotional and intellectual growth can be built. Both male and female workers are available to the children. Both can be seen in leadership roles and as providers of primary care.

The DSL, Family Support Officer and Residential Managers are responsible to the Headteacher for the children’s day-to-day physical health and for the keeping of necessary medical records.  There is always at least one member of staff on duty who has a qualification in first aid.

The school provides a wholesome diet in which sugar levels are kept low and artificial additives are avoided. Healthy eating is promoted, and children are encouraged to try new foods.

All staff are responsible for the care and safety of the children. The school recognises that the safety and welfare of children is paramount, and that we have a responsibility to protect children in all our school’s activities.  We take all reasonable steps to ensure, through appropriate procedures and training, that all children, irrespective of sex, age, disability, race, religion or belief, sexual identity, or social status, are protected from abuse.  School will actively liaise with Children’s Social Care when matters of child welfare arise.

The school employs an Independent Visitor to provide external scrutiny for the residential houses. Independent Visitors have free, regular access to the school and provide reports to the governing body. The visitor has a responsibility to visit every half term. They are truly independent and are available to listen to children and staff confidentially, without prejudice.

Children in the residential houses also have access to an Independent Person through termly visits and through a monitored telephone message service where they have the opportunity to access independent support and advocacy for any concerns they have.

CCTV – There is no CCTV within the school buildings or houses.  There is a camera on the gate which links to the school office and staff can be deployed to collect visitors.  There are cameras facing the car park and the driveway by the entrances of the school.  These are for additional safety.


Adequate levels of staffing, supported by experienced supervisors, is provided throughout the day and night.  A minimum of three adults sleep in every night. The pupils’ bedrooms and other selected doors have a magnetic contact activated at night.  When a pupil leaves their room at night-time, an alarm sounds in the staff sleeping in room alerting staff that a pupil may need support. 

The Headteacher and other senior staff are readily available to discuss with adults any immediate difficulties. There is a member of SLT on call to offer support in the evening and overnight. 

All new members of the care team receive a thorough induction. The Staff Induction Manual contains a list of all policies and where they can be found.  The new member of staff signs the appropriate form in the manual to confirm that they have read all the policies. This is then counter signed by the DSL or nominated Mentor, when it is demonstrated that they understand them.

The Care Team receive supervision sessions termly, or more often if appropriate.  The Head of Welfare supervises the Shift Leaders and the Shift Leaders supervise the Residential Pupil Support Workers.

Key Working

When a new boarder starts at the school, they are allocated a Key Worker who will act as an advocate for the pupil in all matters. Throughout a pupil’s time at the school, he Key Worker provides a point of contact between home and school. They have responsibility to keep records, attend Annual Reviews, contribute towards reports and they meet regularly with the child and provide them with support when needed. The Key Worker and the child will set targets together and review them every term. The Key Worker disseminates information as appropriate.  The Key Worker role is overseen by the Head of Welfare and is supported through regular supervision.

Religious, Dietary, Language and Cultural Needs

Our aim is to create a positive environment where staff and pupils are respectful of different abilities, backgrounds, colour, ethnicity, gender, home circumstances, language, nationality, religion and sexuality.

All pupils will be supported and encouraged to follow the religion of their choice and their parents/carers will also be consulted about this at the child’s admissions or before. Staff ensure they make themselves aware of any important religious dates for young people and make sure they are given the opportunity to observe the events and are not discriminated against because of this.

School assemblies incorporate the celebration of differing cultural and religious beliefs and pupils are encouraged to share their religious and cultural beliefs with others to promote understanding and acceptance.

Where English is not a child or families’ first language, we will try our best to overcome any hurdles to communication.


The underlying belief of The Marchant-Holliday School is that children are most likely to behave well when:

•      Expectations are clear and achievable

•      They feel valued and cared for

•      They receive regular praise and positive feedback

•      They feel they are being successful

•      They receive consistent messages from staff, their families and carers, and their external networks

•      They feel understood

Children earn tokens in school for completing work and for positive behaviour. At the end of the week, they may use these tokens to buy things from ‘The Token Shop’.

Staff are trained in Team Teach positive behaviour training.  This training provides a holistic approach to managing behaviour with a strong emphasis on de-escalation.  We believe all behaviour is communication driven by experiences and emotions. Team Teach training focuses on helping staff to understand the drivers and motivations displayed by distressed individuals and to learn positive ways to manage challenging situations.

When working with challenging behaviour, interventions of any nature should be in the best interests of the child, reasonable, proportionate, and necessary.  The school follows the approach, guidance, and ethos of Team Teach in all matters relating to the use of restraint and the use of reasonable force.

If a pupil is presenting risk to themselves or others or causing serious damage to property, physical interventions that are reasonable, necessary, proportionate, and in the best interest of that child, may be required. This will be carried out with the minimum amount of force and for the minimum amount of time.

Wishes and Feelings

Pupils are actively encouraged to express their wants and needs.  As well as through day-to-day conversations with staff, we have a number of other forums where this can take place; through circle time, Pupil Voice Meetings, assemblies, End of Term Reviews, Key Working sessions and through their input into annual reviews and one page profile meetings.

Pupils are encouraged to speak to an adult if they are upset or worried. This can be any member of staff or independent visitor.

Home School Communication

At The Marchant Holliday School, we like to work with parents and carers and the Key Worker acts as the main home-to-school contact.  We share important and useful information with parents and carers, and we encourage parents and carers to share with us. Key Workers aim to communicate with parents and carers at least once per week. 

We encourage parents and carers to phone their child at school during the evening as frequently as they wish.  If there is a barrier to this, we will work to overcome this.  The pupils do not have free use of a telephone, but staff can support them in making phone calls to parents, carers, social workers, or helplines, as required.  The senior member of staff on duty facilitates this. 

Important Information

If you have a safeguarding or child protection concern, please contact the Designated Safeguarding Lead, Dr Neil Fortune, n.fortune@marchant-holliday.co.uk or 01963 33234