Beannachar offers trial placements, usually for one month, for potential day or residential places. The purpose of the trial placement is to give an in-depth experience of life and work at Beannachar to a potential student and to enable Beannachar to assess the suitability of our provision for meeting that person’s needs. The trial placement is also the basis on which we put together a Personal Development Plan, inclusive of goals designed to assess progress in various areas of personal development. Where a trial placement results in an offer of a full placement, these Personal Development Plans form the basis of twice yearly reviews. Trial placements may be extended beyond one month at Beannachar’s discretion.
Day students participate fully in our programme during the week. The working day starts with a gathering of all staff and students, called the Work Meeting, where we sing together, share news and events of the day, and where the Work Leaders present activities and accomplishments, in turn, from the workshops. The students then disperse to their assigned workshops for the rest of the morning and return to their house for lunch and a rest period before attending different afternoon workshops. It should be noted that many students choose to socialise with their peers rather than rest! The house attachments for day students are an important aspect of daily life at Beannachar. Although only a few hours a day are spent in the houses, these attachments form a secure base and supportive foundation for going to work each day.
It is our aim to provide an environment which is warm, welcoming and therapeutic—the smell of home cooked food being prepared, the feel of solid wood furniture, the visual display of colourful wall hangings, table cloths and fresh flowers—these are more than just an outward sense of a cared for and attractive place to live, but engender the emotional sense of “home”. And like in any home we wish to make our own, we are all responsible at Beannachar for keeping it cared for and attractive! All household tasks are shared out amongst students and staff, from meal preparation and washing up to cleaning, recycling and taking out the rubbish. In this way mutual responsibility is fostered, promoting social development, team working skills, and, ultimately, independence. In our experience, independence is best engendered by engaging with the real dynamics of interdependence. We limit 'screen time' to rest periods and private rooms because we wish to promote a lively, rich and varied social life with students and staff, where peer to peer interaction is of essence.