Curo Salus

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Curo Salus's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Curo Salus is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

Highlighting best practice
Bridgend Cottage, one of our
therapeutic environments
Primary children baking for
a Macmillan coffee morning
Director Sally Dolan leads Scotland-based Curo Salus, which
provides safe, therapeutic, caring environments for children
who have attachment problems as a result of adverse
circumstances and emotional trauma in their early years. The
Curo Salus team use a model of practice based on attachment
and trauma theory, and is informed by current research findings
in developmental psychology and neuroscience. Sally tells the
about the therapeutic aims of the service.
Our therapeutic atmosphere creates opportunities for growth and development
thanks to the predictable nature of the environment we provide, the highly structured
day, the programmes we offer and the expertise and competence of our staff.
At Curo Salus, we work with children to alleviate problem behaviours and help
them regain trust in adults. We recognise and acknowledge that is often a painful
process for them – children are likely to be resentful, chaotic, destructive and
distrustful of staff at the outset.
Our daily living environment is structured to facilitate close, meaningful relationships.
Throughout both day and night, we have high numbers of staff on duty.
This is necessary if we are to protect the children from dysregulating effects of their
behaviours. We help them to overcome everyday challenges, to build up resilience
and develop better coping skills; our daily programme provides children with both a
predictable flow of activities and the flexibility to cope with individual needs as theyarise.
Our staff are trained in both attachment and trauma models as well as safe crisis
management. They are supported to deal with both the behaviours presented and
to handle the feelings and emotions which underpin these behaviours.
»Director: Sally Dolan
»Head of Care: Grace Malone
»Opened in 2005
»Based in the west of Scotland
»Services: Specialist support
for children who have
experienced emotional trauma
»No. of employees: 200
»We operate 6 care homes
»We also operate our own
»We work with 17 different
local authorities
Curo Salus
A model grounded in trauma
Working in our context is challenging,
but we have the opportunity to really
change things for the children we care
for. Our interactions are critical to the
outcomes of the children we work
with –healing and change derive from
relationships grounded in a foundation
of trust.
Over the last decade, research has
highlighted the devastating effects of
trauma and abuse in the early lives of
our children. As medical technology
has developed, brain scans have shown
disrupted neurodevelopment as a result
of adverse childhood experiences. This
helps to explain the social, emotional
and cognitive impairments which we
see in our children.
These behaviours will have helped
the children to survive their traumatic
experiences. Sadly, however, such
behaviours make it difficult for them
to then thrive in schools, families,
employment and communities. To
help our children recover, we must
understand what has happened to
them, and how these experiences
have affected their brains. Therefore,
we embrace the trauma-informed
paradigm, and we approach our
work with children always with
understanding, and never with
Our questions are never “what is
wrong with you?” or “why are
behaving so badly?” but rather “what
happened to you?”
Staff are trained to offer a therapeutic
attitude of playfulness, acceptance,
curiosity and empathy, or PACE. These
concepts form the basis of our working
approach with children, helping to go
beyond the child’s behaviour.
Our work in education
Our children attend our school,
Northview House School, full-time
and follow the Scottish Curriculum
for Excellence. At senior phase of
the curriculum, pupils are presented
for national qualifications, including
Advanced Highers, Highers and
National Awards – we were absolutely
delighted with the results that our
pupils achieved in the 2018 Scottish
Qualifications Awards.
Let’s talk about mental
Working in
our context is
but we have
opportunity to
really change
things for the
children we
care for
Highlighting best practice
Our primary pupils have also
experienced a great many successes,
including their entry in the Glasgow
Art Galleries competition, where
they achieved gold, silver and bronze
awards. We also offer a wide range of
outdoor education programmes which
provide challenging and fun activities,
which help the children to become
more resilient, develop new skills and
receive awards. These include mountain
biking, horse riding, paddle power
passports and both the John Muir and
Duke of Edinburgh Award schemes.
While they’re at school, we offer all
pupils support, both individually and
in small group sessions delivered
by our psychology team. This
includes directive and non-directive
play therapy, mindfulness, anger
management and emotional literacy.
To provide each child with a coherent
and accurate narrative of their early
lives, we also undertake therapeutic
life story work.
Upon leaving school, all of our young
people have positive destinations,
usually in the form of a college
placement or modern apprenticeships.
Securing better futures
Children stay with us for varying time
frames. Referrals for younger children
are increasing, resulting in some
staying for shorter periods of, for
instance, two to three years.
Last year, three of our younger children
moved on to foster care placements
with specialist education support in
their communities. To date, these are
going well.
Our older care leavers go on to a
variety of services depending on their
circumstances – leaving care is a huge
step for our young people. They need
to feel supported and encouraged to
cope with the major challenges that
face them after they move on from
To this end, we work closely with
leaving care teams from local
authorities. They are good at listening
to our young people, involving them
in the process and offering them
choice in the type of placement and
location. We also try to ensure that
these children receive continued
counselling and support for their
mental healthissues.
There is little research on the outcomes
of care leavers. We continually engage
in rigorous self-evaluation with the aim
of improvement.
We aspire to soon undertake a study
that examines and analyses the
outcomes of those young people who
have had residence with us over the
last 15 years – this should allow us to
gain insight into what really works.
For now, we hope that the work that
our young people have undertaken
with us, their achievements and
successes, the trust and strong
relationships they have forged with
their care, education and therapeutic
teams will have broken the cycle of
abuse and neglect.
Beyond that, they will then be
appropriately equipped to realise their
full potential and lead fulfilling lives
beyond the world of care.
We aspire to
soon undertake
a study that
examines and
analyses the
outcomes of
those young
people who have
had residence
with us over the
last 15 years
Learning to trust

This article was sponsored by Curo Salus. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng.

Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng

This year’s Parliamentary Review reflects on a tumultuous and extraordinary year, globally and nationally. As well as being an MP, I am a keen student of history, and I am conscious that 2020 would mark the end of an era. It will be remembered as the year in which we concluded Brexit negotiations and finally left the European Union. Above all, it will be remembered as the year of Covid-19.

In our fight against the pandemic, I am delighted that our vaccination programme is beginning to turn the tide – and I pay tribute to the British businesses, scientists and all those who have helped us to achieve this. But the virus has dealt enormous damage, and we now have a duty to rebuild our economy.

We must ensure that businesses are protected. We have made more than £350 billion available to that end, with grants, business rates relief and our furlough scheme supporting more than 11 million people and jobs in every corner of the country, maintaining livelihoods while easing the pressure on employers. The next step is to work with business to build back better and greener, putting the net zero carbon challenge at the heart of our recovery. This is a complex undertaking, but one which I hope will be recognised as a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Through the prime minister’s ten point plan for a green industrial revolution, we can level up every region of the UK, supporting 250,000 green jobs while we accelerate our progress towards net zero carbon emissions.

With our commitment to raise R&D spending to 2.4% of GDP and the creation of the Advanced Research & Invention Agency, we are empowering our fantastic researchers to take on groundbreaking research, delivering funding with flexibility and speed. With this approach, innovators will be able to work with our traditional industrial heartlands to explore new technologies, and design and manufacture the products on which the future will be built – ready for export around the globe.

And I believe trade will flourish. We are a leading nation in the fight against climate change. As the host of COP26 this year, we have an incredible opportunity to market our low-carbon products and expertise. Our departure from the EU gives us the chance to be a champion of truly global free trade; we have already signed trade deals with more than 60 countries around the world.

As we turn the page and leave 2020 behind, I am excited about the new chapter which Britain is now writing for itself, and for the opportunities which lie ahead of us.
Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy