Learning to live, living to learn
For referrals email Angus Burnett or call 01865 300202
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Outreach and Training

“The support from The Mulberry Bush has been effective. It has given you an excellent opportunity to have a professional dialogue to test out your own ideas and learn from others…..The training they have provided has also improved staff confidence, raised teacher expectations and improved the quality of their teaching and learning.”


Leadership and Development

At the centre of our outreach work is an understanding of the importance of helping leaders develop the culture and ethos of their organisation.

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We work with leadership teams to:

  • Recognise the importance of open and honest relationships between all members of the organisation community
  • Build strong teams
  • Provide good levels of support to staff and children
  • Create structures that consistently meet the needs of staff and children
  • Encourage collaborative thinking before action, and learning from experience
  • Strengthen approaches to assessment to include broader aspects of child  development
  • Have confidence to take risks in the best interests of the children
  • Value communications in whatever forms they are offered

How we do this

We recognise that changing culture takes time. We run projects in schools, and other settings, where we put together bespoke packages including staff training, developing reflective culture and promoting an understanding of children’s behaviour as a communication of their needs.

Sign up for our course in Leadership for an Emotionally Aware Environment

School Improvement Partners

We provide experienced School Improvement Partners, who are systems leaders and current Ofsted inspectors, to primary, secondary, independent and special schools.

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The structure of our approach ensures that schools are supported in pay attention to all areas that inspections will focus on. Our work usually includes either three or six day visits per year, plus supporting the headteacher’s performance management process. This helps schools to:

  • Quality assure their work
  • Stay in touch with current requirements
  • Think through challenges with an experienced, independent practitioner

All of our School Improvement Partners have extensive leadership, and school-to-school support experience.

Staff Supervision and Support

As professionals we are used to dealing with children’s feelings, but what happens to the staff holding those feelings? We consider reflective supervision to be an essential part of working alongside vulnerable children and use attachment theory to support staff and to recognise ‘how they cope with strong emotions in the workplace’.

We offer 1:1 and group supervision and are happy to discuss non face-to-face approaches if necessary.


Engaging Hard to Reach Children and Families

Trying to find ways of engaging the families of the children with whom we work can often be demanding. Drawing on our experience, The Mulberry Bush Outreach offer a tailored programme of support that is designed to help you find new and creative ways of developing positive relationships with families who you may feel are hard to reach.


Where parents and teachers work together to improve learning, the gains in achievement are significant” (Harris, A. and Goodall, J.: 2007)



Our team of trainers offer a wide range of training courses which can be delivered as INSET days or twilight sessions. Our courses include:

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i. Understanding attachment in a primary/secondary setting

These courses are designed to support staff working with children with potential attachment difficulties. Staff will develop an understanding of the theory and look at practical applications within their work setting.


ii. Observation skills in the classroom / home

Enables teachers and teaching assistants to explore how observations might be useful in understanding children’s behavioural communication. These courses use real life examples of practice to help staff consider ways to observe and develop confidence in understanding what is observed and experienced using observational skills.


iii. Outstanding for Behaviour

The course comprises four sessions which include:

1.Understanding the causes and function of behaviour including practical
strategies for working effectively


2. Working with emotional and behavioural communication in the
classroom/home/organisational setting


3. Emotional resilience for adults working with behaviour using
a reflective format


4. Using psychodynamic approaches to understand and manage
relationships in the classroom and wider school


The courses can be taken as sessions 1 and 2 leading to a CPD certificate in Understanding, Preventing and De-escalating Behaviour (foundation) or as sessions 1-4 leading to a CPD certificate in Understanding, Preventing and De-escalating Behaviour (advanced).

Team Teach

Team Teach is a programme used widely across the UK offering a framework for working with challenging behaviour with the aim of reducing ‘anxiety, risk and restraint’. Team Teach focuses on reducing incidents of challenging behaviour using positive behaviour management strategies.

The training covers basic positive handling and is delivered for groups of staff over a 6hr course. 3hr Refresher Courses are also available.


Foundation Degree

We believe having a well trained workforce is essential to supporting good practice and developing good outcomes for children and young people. As a result we offer a level 5 Foundation Degree in Therapeutic Work with Children and Young People, accredited through the University of the West of England, for not only our own staff but child-care professionals working in education, care and health services.


Applications are welcomed from March each year with interviews for the course taking place in June prior to the course commencing in the first week of September. PLEASE NOTE THAT APPLICATIONS FOR SEPTEMBER 2018 ARE NO LONGER BEING ACCEPTED.


This course is accredited by APPCIOS  and was awarded the National Training Award in 2012.
For further information please click here
Click here to download the course information booklet
Click here to download the UWE Application Form for Undergraduate Study. 


Observations/Clinics & Workshops

Using our experience of working in a collaborative, reflective and psychodynamic way, The Mulberry Bush Outreach can offer observations, workshops and clinics for those working with children with SEMHD.

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Observations can be of individual children or groups and are focused on gaining an understanding of the behavioural communication that is being displayed and encouraging staff to have the confidence to be curious when working with behaviours that challenge them.


Staff are then brought together for a workshop that draws upon the emotional experience of working with children who display behaviours that challenge us and reflecting on ways of working with the behavioural communication effectively. These workshops are designed to enable the embedment of learning into practice and collaborative working as well as to offer practical advice and support.


We can also offer follow-on clinics to help staff to continue thinking reflectively about working with behavioural communication and the emotional impact of this work on them.

“MBOX staff have really supported our school in developing reflective practice. The clinics have been instrumental in building capacity and strength within key teams and have promoted a more collaborative and joined up approach towards meeting the needs of all. This method of working has enriched our journey towards a more holistic culture and as a result we feel more resilient and prepared to face the challenges ahead.”

– Oxfordshire Head teacher


Reflective Practice

When we talk about Reflective Practice we use the following definition:

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‘to be able to use one’s own internal experience and observations from others (individually and in groups) to understand and regulate one’s self and relationships, and develop one’s practice. This enables an enhanced awareness of the impact of self on others’


This skill enables individuals to communicate more clearly and feel more in touch with those around them and engage in their work more effectively through better understanding of themselves and others.


We offer a range of facilitated groups with the aim of supporting staff with the emotional impact of their work. All of our meetings and training sessions emphasise the reflective element of working collaboratively, and they support staff to learn to think about dynamics and unconscious communication. This helps develop awareness, confidence and skills, and builds resilience in staff which benefits children, young people and colleagues.

Teaching Assistant Network

In October 2015 we established the Teaching Assistant Network to provide support, training and opportunities to exchange ideas and share best practice.  The network meets for training and reflective sessions three times a year at The Mulberry Bush Learning & Research Centre, Linden House, Standlake. Please see further details here.

The core group consists of Mulberry Bush and local mainstream school Teaching Assistants and is appropriate for teaching assistants in any setting to join.

For further details please contact Kathy Smith: ksmith@mulberrybush.org.uk / 01865 594700


Forthcoming Training Events

Please note: there are places for two TAs per school at each of this year’s TA training events. All our training programmes are CPD accredited.


There are no scheduled training events at this time. Please contact us to find out when further events are to be held.


Peer Review

In response to the tighter economic constraints placed on schools, limited availability of school improvement services and continuing need for mentoring and sharing best practice, the Peer Review is a minimal cost system for providing peer support.

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Over the last six years over 65 schools from eight different local authority areas have taken part in this work, which has been led by The Mulberry Bush Outreach. We currently run groups for primary schools, SEMH special schools, and learning difficulty special schools. In addition we are setting up care home peer reviews across the region.

You can read more about our Peer Review here
Read a Peer Review case study here


The peer review reaches the improvement parts that other processes fail to reach. This is because trusted professional expert colleagues come at your invitation, to help you to critically evaluate, to reflect and to problem solve together in the areas you know are your weakest. Because this is the express purpose of the exercise and carried out in partnership with others facing the same sort of challenges in their own contexts, you actively and specifically share the things which you are least proud of and therefore cannot fail to make them better with the benefit of such a helpful process. This is the direct opposite of more adversarial approaches we have all experienced in recent times, where you do all you can to hide every weakness for fear that it should become a loose thread and be used to unravel the whole rug”.

Special School Headteacher

Educational Psychology

Our Educational Psychologist works both within the Mulberry Bush School and as part of the Mulberry Bush Outreach team. Working through a consultation framework this work can be focused at a group/class level, a whole school level or around an individual child’s needs. Focus is given to developing nurturing practices within schools to meet the needs of vulnerable children and families. When working with individual children value is given to working systemically with parents and key professionals involved with a child echoing the Mulberry Bush multidisciplinary Treatment Team model to develop reliable teams to work around the needs of a child.

For more details contact our Lead Educational Psychologist
Ruth Seymour: 


School Council

We work with schools to help them introduce or develop their school councils. We recognise the significance of effective councils, and their role in school improvement. When councils are well run they can:

  • Develop children’s sense of being included as a valued member of the school community.
  • Help children feel motivated to contribute to improving the school community.
  • Enable children to take an active part in school decision-making.
  • Give children the experience of being respected and listened to.
  • Learn how to participate in reasoned argument, hearing other people’s point of view.
  • Learn what behaviour is appropriate in different situations developing peer support for appropriate behaviour.
  • Develop empathy for other members of the community

Our approach to this can involve running workshops for staff and children, or carrying out observations of current practice.



feature-school The Mulberry Bush Outreach

Behaviour Support for Schools and Professionals helping those who help others. National Specialist Outreach for Social Emotional and Mental Health Difficulties (SEMHD).

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feature-mboxThe Mulberry Bush School

By improving the life chances and social inclusion of traumatised children and young people, we create long-term benefits to society by reducing anti-social behaviour and its impact on families, schools and communities.

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feature-nationalcentreNational Centre Logo

Our free alliance whose aim is to share knowledge about therapeutic care for children and young people, and to support the use of reflective practice and research, in order to improve service quality and ensure excellent outcomes.

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