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History of Spring Hill High School

Barbara Scrivens


In 2003, Thoughts of Others Ltd recruited Barbara Scrivens to develop an on-site school, Ofsted registered, for the young people in their care. This initiative was to meet the 2004 requirement to make sure that all students with a Statement of Special Educational Needs (SEN) had the support of Ofsted in checking that their school could meet their needs and meet the standards expected of registered schools in Britain.

Spring Hill High School was formally inspected and registered in 2004. The name of the school had been chosen by the students, and the school badge was also designed by one of the students.

At first, all children were taught in the Thoughts of Others’ home in a designated space. Each student had a personalised curriculum, fitting into the National Curriculum framework and was taught 1:1 This diminished the anxiety for the students, so that they could build their confidence and catch up on missed educational opportunities. This also built the team care around each student as the home care staff became involved in their schooling. Progress in school was celebrated with the students in their homes each Friday, by teachers, staff and students together.

In 2010, the school developed an off-site school to allow the students to adapt to a routine of ‘going to school’. The Hunton Road site became the next step for the students to prepare them for college in the community. It was at this point that the Local Authority asked the school to accept Key Stage 3 students, who were struggling to maintain their place in their mainstream school. It was recognised that Spring Hill High School had developed skills and expertise, shared between teaching and care staff, that benefitted students whose behaviour was challenging in the larger arena of a mainstream secondary school.

This demand also led to setting up the Slade Road site, as an expansion of the provision at Spring Hill High School, to include more ‘day students’. Regular links between the school and the Local Authority made Spring Hill High School well known as a highly specialised educational provision for students with very complex behaviours and very complex needs. At the same time, Thoughts of Others Ltd was becoming known as a valued specialist placement for young people who were experiencing multiple challenges and needed the consistent high level of care and understanding to enable them to move forward in their lives. The school expanded again, as did the company.

As the school expanded, the original concept of personalised learning for each student has been carried forward. The concept of the 1:1 teaching has been continued, building into students’ ability to work together in a group on the site and learning how to manage group work successfully.

We have moved on from the small school for 12 students, working in each Thoughts of Others Ltd care home, to the 50 students placed in 5 school sites in the North of Birmingham, having 21 specialist teachers and 20 learning assistants trained to support and manage the students’ behaviours and meet their varying needs.

We now have in-house speech and language therapists team, an independent careers advisor, life skills counsellors and a parents’ liaison officer. We also buy in the services of a music therapist and have access to psychological service, Phoenix House. We still have the training and supportive staff from Thoughts of Others Ltd as we are all part of that company.

It is a great place to work in, for staff and students alike. The warm and ‘family’ atmosphere in each site creates an inclusive and positive school, able to create good memories for the students and offer them the basis to take control of their futures

Written by Barbara Scrivens,
Former Headteacher



“Barbara is a legend. She is so loving and gentle. She is the nan I never had.”
Former student, 2015



Barbara was very instrumental in establishing Spring Hill High School. She was Headteacher from 2004 until her retirement in 2015.

She has taken the school through a number of Ofsted inspections where the school’s rating has always been good. During her tenure she worked assiduously to maintain or better this rating. Her passion for children drives her to continue her work in education as an education consultant.

Barbara, the students, parents, carers, Directors and staff salute you as a true champion for vulnerable children, those with Special Educational Needs and those who are looked after. Your boots are very big to fill.

Sheraine Reid-Ferguson