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Longcause Community Special School

Longcause Community Special School

Learning for Life

Family Project

Family project 

The Family Project is an intervention programme, where families and children will work together with various professionals on a weekly basis during term 2 and term 4.


Blending of family and school…

Working in partnership….a family centred approach.

We aim to help parents and family feel empowered to be their child’s first teachers. We respect and embrace the family experience and knowledge of their own child whilst hoping to show them how to use techniques modelled and explained by therapists. The family is as much a part of the intervention team as the ‘professionals’. Family are a key part of the programme  and our experience has shown us that involving the family is the most effective intervention.

Strengths based…

Our intervention programme starts with a focus on what the child can do, rather than what they currently cannot do.  It will build on the child’s and families strengths as a point of access to developing those things which the child finds more challenging.


We believe that at the core of human development are the emotional  bonds between family and child and that emotional development underpins all aspects of physical and cognitive growth. Effective intervention will therefore embrace the reinforcement of relationships between family and child, professional's and child and among the whole team.

Build support….

We will encourage families to interact with each other to help provide mutual support, sharing of ideas , hopes and difficulties.


Each professional is encouraged to observe the work of the others so that the best picture of the needs and responses of each child can be formed.

We will have team meetings of about an hour at the end of each session which will allow all the professionals to discuss each child’s strengths and needs having been freshly observed, make joint notes and decide on any adjustments that need to be made.


Why did we start the family project? What is it? How does it work in our school?

Birmingham University Publish Research on our Family Project

Impact of the project- family views and feedback, visiting professionals feedback.

Hello Anne and the Family Project Team,


I would like to thank you all for being so warm and hospitable to us on our recent visit to the Family Project at Longcause Community Special School. After reading about the model, we were excited to have the opportunity to see it delivered. We had a wonderful day observing and joining in. Allocating a real family to each of us, allowing us to experience the project with them was emotional and a privilege.

Thank you to the families for welcoming us and giving us insight from their perspective. Though it was only week 2, hearing one of the Mum’s talk about the progress her son had made in just a week was astonishing; her beaming face said it all! I lost count of the amount of times she told the team members how much she was loving it. Navigating our way around the school was fun; the children were able to transition without much difficulty. All staff, not just those on the project helped us find our way, with smiles on their faces.

I was interested to see the logistics of delivering the approach in a school environment. Anne’s vision and belief, using every available space, even giving up her office for the morning facilitated this. Having time for the families to re-group and share how they got on that day confirmed how effective the project is.

The Team- wow, such dedicated and highly skilled practitioners. It was evident that every single member loved the project and had a real passion for their role in process. They enabled and empowered the parents to engage with each session, discussing progress and possible differentiation for the next week with expertise. Positivity and happiness shone throughout.

As a passionate believer in the Early Support model, being part of the team meeting, where all the professionals group together, to discuss the how the child and parents managed in their sessions was inspirational. It was obvious that the team like and respect each other. Seeing the learning between the professionals was fantastic. Sharing different professional perspectives built an all-inclusive picture of the children and their families. We also learnt so much from the wealth of knowledge around the table. We were able to see each family holistically. Multi-agency working at its best. Fabulous!

Our day at Longcause was well worth the long trip from London, in fact the three and a half hours on the train home whizzed by, as we could not stop talking about the project. We are inspired and eager to create a similar project at Whitefield Academy.

Thank you for having us.

Zoë and Geraldine


Zoë Wells Geraldine O’Grady

Specialist Early Years Researcher Research and Development Centre Director


Whitefield Academy Trust

Waltham Forest. London

Further visitor feedback....


Dear Anne


I’m sure Alison L has already contacted you to say thank you to you and your team for being so welcoming to us this week. I just thought I’d very quickly offer my own thanks and thoughts. My trip to Longcause really touched me – perhaps I’ve been stuck in an office for too long away from the real world but I did find the day we spent with you to be very emotional – in a rewarding and life-affirming sense. Obviously, the project was amazing but the thing that I was most struck by was your team. I’ve been around the block a few times and have been involved with many schools or organisations but never have I seen a team that was so … I don’t quite know what the word is … so together, actually so like a family.


One incident that stayed with me was when it was brought up that somebody had to challenge Mum about (I think ****) use of nappies. I loved the way that it was suggested that Richard would be the one who knew what to do but that he should explain it to another member of staff so that it could be explained to Mum in simple terms! And that all that was done with such knowing humour and good grace that revealed how deeply and intimately everyone knew each other and how they felt totally safe and bonded with each other. It was a simple but lovely moment.


And of course, in each of the sessions there was such incredible skill, energy and real love for those children. I noticed this in the corridors too with other staff and children that I saw even in passing. Literally everyone seemed to be smiling. All the time!


I imagine you must go home each weekend exhausted but extremely proud of your colleagues and your students.


Thank you Anne and please thank your team for being so inspiring and restoring an old man’s faith in life.


Ian Sutton

Commissioning Officer

Children and Young People's Services- Strategic Commissioning

London Borough of Newham