A new name for our Specialist Resource Base

Our Specialist Resource Base is changing its name to better reflect what it offers young children with social and emotional needs in Norfolk.

The Wensum Trust, in partnership with Norfolk County Council, officially opened The Base at Arden Grove Infant School just over a year ago and it has since been providing short term support and education for children aged between five and seven-years-old.

At the provision, specialist educators practise Playful Learning with Acceptance, Curiosity and Empathy and therefore it has been decided a more fitting name is The PLACE at Arden.



Anne Oakley, The PLACE lead, said: “When the Specialist Resource Base opened, it naturally got called ‘The Base’ for short. However, one year on, we wanted a name which would reflect the learning environment we offer the young children we have with us. It’s important that they have a sense of belonging in a place where they feel safe, confident and happy learners.”

At The PLACE staff support children with their social and emotional behaviour, and as Anne explains, they understand that every child is different: “Over time, children develop something we call self-regulation. This means they are able to manage their own emotions, responses and actions. They are able to listen well and begin to feel confident to try new experiences and learning. However, for many different reasons, some children may need a longer length of time to develop early self-regulation skills. Perhaps they may find the expectations and interactions of the busy classroom environment overwhelming and become quickly disengaged from their learning. Their rising stress levels bring big emotions with confusing behaviours and their self-esteem and friendships begin to suffer. Children are often then referred to as having social and emotional mental health difficulties (SEMH). At The PLACE at Arden however, we look at this differently.” 

The PLACE has two classrooms, each for up to eight children, with high staffing ratios and access to dedicated support. Initially, staff help children know they are safe within their new environment and help them build trust in their adults and other children. As children begin to feel calmer they work with the child, their family and their home school to provide a bespoke, engaging curriculum, alongside a continuous web of therapeutic approaches. 

Anne added: “We understand that some children may need more support to manage big emotions and some children may have gaps in their social and academic learning. Many of our children are also neurodivergent - they feel, think and learn in different ways and they therefore need us to be understanding and accepting of their needs. They need us to believe in them, to help them re-engage in learning and to provide strategies to help them become successful in their home school, or wherever the next steps of their educational journey will be.”

You can get more information about The PLACE at Arden here.