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 The Rt Hon Theresa May MP.

The Rt Hon Theresa May MP's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By The Rt Hon Theresa May MP

This foreword from the then Prime Minister appeared in the 2018/19 Parliamentary Review.

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review. For Her Majesty’s Government, our task in the year ahead is clear: to achieve the best Brexit deal for Britain and to carry on our work to build a more prosperous and united country – one that truly works for everyone. 

The right Brexit deal will not be sufficient on its own to secure a more prosperous future for Britain. We also need to ensure that our economy is ready for what tomorrow will bring. Our Modern Industrial Strategy is our plan to do that. It means Government stepping up to secure the foundations of our productivity: providing an education system that delivers the skills our economy needs, improving school standards and transforming technical education; delivering infrastructure for growth; ensuring people have the homes they need in the places they want to live. It is all about taking action for the long-term that will pay dividends in the future.

But it also goes beyond that. Government, the private sector and academia working together as strategic partners achieve far more than we could separately. That is why we have set an ambitious goal of lifting UK public and private research and development investment to 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2027. It is why we are developing four Grand Challenges, the big drivers of social and economic change in the world today: harnessing artificial intelligence and the data revolution; leading in changes to the future of mobility; meeting the challenges of our ageing society; and driving ahead the revolution in clean growth. By focusing our efforts on making the most of these areas of enormous potential, we can develop new exports, grow new industries and create more good jobs in every part of our country.

Years of hard work and sacrifice from the British people have got our deficit down by over three quarters. We are building on this success by taking a balanced approach to public spending. We are continuing to deal with our debts, so that our economy can remain strong and we can protect people’s jobs, and at the same time we are investing in vital public services, like our NHS. We have set out plans to increase NHS funding annually by an average by 3.4 percent in real terms: that is £394 million a week more. In return, the NHS will produce a ten-year plan, led by doctors and nurses, to eliminate waste and improve patient care.

I believe that Britain can look to the future with confidence. We are leaving the EU and setting a new course for prosperity as a global trading nation. We have a Modern Industrial Strategy that is strengthening the foundations of our economy and helping us to seize the opportunities of the future. We are investing in the public services we all rely on and helping them to grow and improve. Building on our country’s great strengths – our world-class universities and researchers, our excellent services sector, our cutting edge manufacturers, our vibrant creative industries, our dedicated public servants – we can look towards a new decade that is ripe with possibility. The government I lead is doing all it can to make that brighter future a reality for everyone in our country. 

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review 
The Rt Hon Theresa May MP
Prime Minister