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Compass - A Virtual Residential School

The Compass Schools services are three specialist therapeutic-education provisions based across Norfolk.

The Compass Schools are run in partnership between staff teams from education (The Short Stay School for Norfolk) and NHS NSFT Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS). We also work closely with local Children’s Services to make sure that all children and their families or carers are able to access all the support they might need. Across the three schools we work with children from key Stage 1 to 3 (6-14yrs).

Children attending a Compass School have usually found that mainstream education and / or CAMHS have not been quite the right fit for them or their families or carers. At Compass Schools, all children, families and carers are able to access therapeutic support, while children attending are also able to access education on a daily basis, designed to meet their individual needs. We often find that we work with parents and carers as much as we do with young people coming to school with us. In addition to accessing the National Curriculum on a daily basis, we believe that children should be able to have fun, experience the benefits of playfulness, emotional warmth, and care.

Therapeutically we offer specialist multidisciplinary and inter-agency assessment, meaning that we are able to spend time getting a really clear picture of what might be tricky, and how we can be helpful. We offer individual therapeutic sessions for both children and family members or carers, and also offer training and consultation to other professionals working with our young people. By doing this, we hope to work together to ensure everyone’s educational, social, and emotional needs are met.

 What conditions does the service treat?

The Compass Schools services comprise a range of educational staff (teachers, teaching assistants and instructors) and therapeutic staff (such as clinical psychologists, art therapists) who provide an integrated approach to looking after specialist educational, social, emotional, and behavioural needs.

We largely come to understand children's difficulties as being related to 'attachment'. Many young people we work with may have also experienced what we call 'trauma' in their early years' development.

We also specialise in supporting children and families with a range of other difficulties which include: 

  • Difficulties with emotional recognition and regulation
  • Misunderstood or 'challenging' behaviours
  • Mood disorders
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder

Our environment tends to be less suitable for people with learning disabilities or those on the autistic spectrum.

 What support do you offer carers, family and friends?

We welcome working closely with families, parents, siblings, or carers. If appropriate and possible, we offer support to other family members. We also believe it to be helpful to join with other professional agencies wherever possible to ensure we all have a shared understanding of where we can be more helpful, and what is going well.

 What age range does this service treat?

​6 – 14 years.

 Service contact information

Name of Operational ManagerNeil Toplis
Service administrative address

Administrative Address
Unit 5a, Octagon Business Park
Hospital Road
Little Plumstead
Norwich NR13 5FH


Compass Belton (East)

Bell Lane, Belton
Great Yarmouth NR31 9LD

Tel: 01493 923122


Compass Lingwood (Central)

School Road, Lingwood
Norwich NR13 4TJ

Tel: 01603 717117


Compass Pott Row (West)

Cliffe-en-Howe Road
King's Lynn PE32 1BY

Tel: 01485 601670

Office hours (days and times)08:30 – 17:00
Telephone number (general)01603 727616

Telephone number (urgent)

If there is an emergency call 999 for an ambulance or call/attend your accident and emergency or GP for an urgent assessment.

 Referral information for the public

Referral criteriaChildren will have an Education, Health and Care Plan organised by the education setting and referred through the Local Authority ECHP Coordinator.
How can people get referred to this service? To get help from our service you need to be referred to the Compass Schools Admissions Team. This is usually done through a child's Education Health Care Plan Coordinator (EHCPC) making contact with the local authority educational placements team
What to expect when referred
Referrals firstly have to be approved by Norfolk County Council and the taken to a schools admissions panel which happen half termly, if a place is offered at the panel it will begin as soon as possible afterwards, usually at the start of the next school half term.

 Referral information for clinicians – information for health professionals only

​Referrals are made through the education sector.