Chief Social Work Advisor comments on school visit

"I was delighted to accept Laurence`s (Laurence Alfred, Executive Director of Camphill School Aberdeen) invitation to visit the school following a meeting with Friends of Camphill in Edinburgh last December.

"It had been many years since I had visited any of the Camphill resources and I was therefore interested in how the school reflected the pace of change which everyone in the care and education sectors has experienced in recent years Whilst much has evolved and will continue to do so, what struck me was the importance of the underpinning philosophy of care and what we might today describe as an asset based model where the emphasis is in 'creating an environment to identify what everyone has to offer' - despite the significant challenging behaviour of some of the children, I was struck by the phrase 'children are the teachers who help you develop your humanity'. In other words whatever the challenges the children would always know that Camphill was their home. It therefore struck me that two words I have heard too often were seldom applied in Camphill – placement breakdown.

"I was impressed not only by the skills of individual members of staff but how their talent helps create some wonderful opportunities through sculpture, crafts and outdoor activities including the gardens, farm, horse riding and for the more adventurous Duke of Edinburgh Awards with 3 young people hoping to achieve gold this year.

"I was impressed with the outward looking approach including, the 'nature and nuture' work with younger children from Aberdeen City and the partnership with Aberdeenshire Council through the St Andrews Project providing individualised therapeutic programmes and flexible respite care.

"The school rightly prides itself on the importance of evidenced based practice and I will read with interest the evaluative work currently being carried out by CELCIS.

"Finally I was delighted to meet up with members of the Pupil Council who have an important role is ensuring the views of children and young people help shape and develop Camphill in the future.

"I am very grateful to everyone who gave me a valuable insight to life, challenges and most importantly opportunities in meeting the needs of some very special children and young people."

Alan Baird
Chief Social Work Advisor to the Scottish Government