Gap Year Opportunity
Ochil Tower is a relatively small residential school with up to 38 children and young people whose ages range from six to eighteen years. All of the children have Additional Support Needs, many have severe learning difficulties, disabilities and/or health issues ranging from autism, epilepsy to a variety of syndromes, all of which can affect their physical and mental health. Many present a high level of challenging behaviour. The children and most of the co-workers live together in five houses. The school is situated in the centre of a small town, but is surrounded by seven acres of land with gardens, lawn and woodland. We have 5 classes in which the children are grouped less according to age or disability and more to do with the young person's individual needs and compatibility with other pupils. Throughout the curriculum there is strong emphasis on crafts, music, drama and practical skills with full use made of the school grounds and locality to increase learning opportunities.
Although primarily a residential school, we are also part of the world-wide Camphill Movement, which is a movement for social renewal based on Anthroposophy. We try to create community life through the celebration of the Christian festivals, through our concern for the environment, and by the mutual care for each other. The practice of Social Pedagogy underpins all our work with our pupils and further information about this can be found at www.socialpedagogyuk.com and www.thempra.org.uk/social-pedagogy
Our approach to Social Pedagogy is expressed by replacing the usual staff/client relationship by mutual relationships based on sharing daily life in all its manifold aspects, including the preparation and sharing of meals, caring for the household and surroundings and creating social events.
Each year a group of approximately 15 volunteers come to Ochil Tower to join the team here and all of our volunteers experience this as a very significant opportunity in their lives.
All the children go home every second weekend and then everyone is free to relax or to take the opportunity to explore the local surroundings or to visit the nearby cities of Glasgow, Edinburgh, Stirling or Perth.On the weekend that some of the pupils stay all co workers have either the Saturday or the Sunday free. In the last few years there has been a great interest from young co-workers to explore the Scottish countryside on the free weekends and this has been facilitated by a senior member of staff who organises hill walking, canoeing and rock climbing. If there is time and interest, overnight trips have been arranged during holiday periods.