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Compass – Virtual Residential School

  • The Compass Schools services are three specialist therapeutic-education provisions across Norfolk. The Schools provide an integrated approach to looking after specialist educational, social, emotional, and behavioural needs for children. The team is a range of educational staff (teachers, teaching assistants and instructors) and therapeutic staff (such as clinical psychologists and art therapists).

  • Service Manager Lead: ​Neil Toplis (Operational Manager)
  • Service Contact: Telephone 01603 727616
  • Address:
    Compass,  Unit 5A,  Octagon Business Park,  Hospital Road,  Little Plumstead, Norwich, NR13 5FH
  • Service hours: This service is available Monday to Friday from 8:30 to 17:00.

What this service offers

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).   

Our team also works with local children’s services to make sure all children and their families or carers can access the support they might need.   

Compass works with children from key Stage 1 to 3 (6 to 14 years of age). 

Referrals for Compass Schools first have to be approved by Norfolk County Council. They are then taken to a schools admissions panel which happen half termly. If the panel offers a place the placement will begin as soon as possible afterwards. This is usually at the start of the next school half term  

Children attending a Compass School have usually found that mainstream education and/or CAMHS have not been the right fit for them.  

At Compass Schools, all children, families and carers can access therapeutic support. Children attending also access education daily, designed to meet their individual needs.   

Our team often finds that they work with parents and carers as much as they do with young people coming to school. Besides accessing the National Curriculum, children should be able to have fun, playfulness, emotional warmth, and care.  

Our team offers specialist multidisciplinary and inter-agency assessments. This means that they can spend time getting a clear picture of what might be tricky, and how they can be helpful.   

Compass offers individual therapeutic sessions for both children and family members or carers. It also offers training and consultation to other professionals working with our young people. Our team hopes to work together to meet everyone’s educational, social, and emotional needs.  

Compass Schools come to understand children's difficulties as being related to 'attachment'. Many young people our team work with may have also experienced 'trauma' in their early years.  

Compass Schools also support children and families with other difficulties including:   

  • Difficulties with emotional recognition and regulation,  

  • Misunderstood or 'challenging' behaviours  

  • Mood disorders  

  • Anxiety disorders  

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder.  

A Compass School is less suitable for people with learning disabilities or those on the autistic spectrum.  

Access this service

To get help from the Compass Schools service children need to be referred to the Compass Schools Admissions Team. This is usually through a child's Education Health Care Plan Coordinator (EHCPC). They should contact the local authority educational placements team.  

Visiting and onsite facilities

Our Compass Schools are in 3 different locations. Addresses and contact details are:  

  • Compass Belton (East), Bell Lane, Belton, Great Yarmouth, NR31 9LD. Telephone 01493 923122.   

  • Compass Lingwood (Central), School Road, Lingwood, Norwich NR13 4TJ. Telephone 01603 717117.   

  • Compass Pott Row (West), Cliffe-en-Howe Road, King's Lynn, PE32 1BY. Telephone 01485 601670.  

How this service support carers including friends and family

Compass welcomes working closely with families, parents, siblings, or carers. If appropriate and possible, we offer support to other family members.   

Urgent help

If you are a service user and are in crisis and need support urgently you can contact your service on the number which will have been provided.  

Call 0808 196 3494 to speak to our 24 hour mental health crisis line called First Response.

If you are with someone who has attempted suicide, call 999 and stay with them until the ambulance arrives. 

If anyone is at serious risk of harm, call 999 and ask for the police. 

For non-life threatening medical situations, call NHS111 on 111.  

For more information, see Help in a Crisis

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