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Aycliffe Secure Centre - information for professionals

Aycliffe Secure Centre is a Local Authority Secure Children's Home (LASCH) run by Durham County Council.

Vocational work at Aycliffe Secure Centre

We received a 'good' Ofsted rating in October 2015, and 'improved effectiveness' during the interim inspection in March 2016.

Referrals to our centre are directed by:

  • Youth Justice Board (YJB)
  • Councils - for young people who satisfy the 'welfare' criteria specified within Section 25 of the Children Act 1989 

All welfare referrals must be made through the National Secure Welfare Commissioning Unit (NSWCU). The Unit has been created to provide a single point of contact for secure welfare placements and to streamline the process of finding the most suitable placement matching the individual needs of each young person needing secure care. You can use their website to make a secure welfare placement: National Secure Welfare Commissioning Unit - make a secure welfare placement.

We offer a high ratio of staff to young people and house some of the most vulnerable young people, many of whom have complex problems and need intensive support to help turn their lives around. Our care, education, health services and interventions are high quality and help young people to reach a point in their lives when they can successfully return to their families or enter independent living. Young people leaving our care will have improved opportunities to be able to reintegrate with their families and engage in education, training or employment.

We have five homes. Four homes accommodate up to eight young people, both male and female. The fifth home looks after up to six young people and has a medical and dental facility attached. All homes are furnished to a high standard and young people are allowed to personalise their bedrooms to reflect their individual tastes.


We have a team of nurses who work at the centre who oversee all of the medical care for our young people. All young people in our care receive a comprehensive health screening and treatment service and receive their initial health assessment within 24 hours of admission to make sure that all their needs are met while they are here and that they have a discharge pathway. Every young person will automatically be registered with the local GP during their stay at the centre and the GP visits weekly. 

We have our own dental suite and the dentist visits on a monthly basis as well as attending emergencies. Sexual health services are available to all young people and the nursing team will discuss in confidence with the young person the services that they may require.

A local accident and emergency department is located at a nearby hospital where young people will be escorted if necessary. In the case of any emergencies the young person's family and local authority will be contacted immediately.


The education of young people is an essential element of the holistic approach to meeting individual needs. Our Learning Centre provides a broad, balanced, age relevant curriculum. Young people are assessed on admission over a range of attributes by the Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO) and an individual plan is developed in response to each learner's needs.

Our Learning Centre is state of the art and we provide a range of academic and vocational programmes which cater for the individual needs of young people. We provide learning for 50 weeks of the year and aim to provide as normal an educational facility as possible. Pupils are supported and encouraged to achieve their potential without feeling anxious or under pressure to do so. We believe that, through learning, young people will develop self confidence, self esteem and self worth to help them move forward with their lives. Formal examinations and accreditation are available and a variety of qualifications at Entry Level, GCSE, AQA Unit Awards, OCN and Functional Skills form part of the accreditation for young people. We want to help young people develop a love of learning and an ability to recognise their own talents and potential to facilitate a smooth transition back to the community.

Emotional and behavioural development

We have a contract with the Kolvin Service who provide an in-reach service to the home. The mental health in-reach team consists of a consultant psychiatrist, consultant clinical and forensic psychologist and a community psychiatric nurse who are located at the centre. All young people receive a mental health screening on admission. The primary role of our in-reach team is to provide specialist expertise to our care planning process. Regular multi-disciplinary meetings take place to discuss the emotional wellbeing of all the young people, which includes specialist Barnardo's workers who provide therapeutic input in relation to sexual exploitation and trauma.

If you feel that the young person who you place with us needs additional services from the mental health team this will be considered on an individual basis and negotiated with the local authority depending on the services required.

Therapeutic services

Our Intervention Team aim to provide the young people in our care with the appropriate levels of care and support to meet their individual needs. We work with young people exploring the nature of risk that led them to being secured and help them see what choices they can make in the future.

We have an extensive range of programmes including:

  • Cognitive behavioural programmes
  • Substance misuse (up to Tier 4)
  • Anger management
  • Self-harm
  • Sexual exploitation
  • Those who sexually harm
  • Peer relationships
  • Social skills
  • Self esteem
  • Absconding
  • Emotional resilience
  • Weapon and gang
  • Consequential thinking
  • Knowing and understanding emotions.

If you require any further information on the programmes available or wish to discuss whether we have a programme that could suit the needs of the young person who you wish to place with us, then please contact us and we will be happy to discuss this further with you. 

Below are some of the comment from our young people who have accessed programmes:

  • "Doing this work made me think about how I get into more trouble when I hang around with certain friends."
  • "Doing this work means that I now think about things before I do them."
  • "I have learned that people are not always my friends and I won't let myself be exploited again when I leave Aycliffe."
  • "I now understand how other people are feeling and how when I am feeling angry it can make me behave in certain ways."
  • "Doing the work has helped me think before acting and more aware of the risks around me."
  • "I enjoyed the programme and found it easy to understand. I have learned how constantly thinking about negative stuff is not good and that it makes me more angry."
  • "The programme has helped me to control my anger and find different ways of dealing with stuff instead of fighting. I have also learned to accept support from people when I need it."
  • "I think the programme has helped me a lot because it has given me the chance to talk about a lot of stuff."
  • "I enjoyed the programme and looked forward to sessions. I think one of the main things I learned was that the way I acted and am with people influenced the types of relationships I have and how I get on with other people."

Video conferencing facilities

We have three video conferencing rooms to enable young people, their carers and professionals to maintain and promote contact. The video conferencing system can also facilitate contact meetings, court appearances, care planning and Personal Education Plan review meetings. These are subject to prior arrangement and approval.

We also have facilities for Skype contact, which is also subject to prior arrangement and approval.

How to make a referral

See our Aycliffe Secure Centre - referral process page for details on how to make a referral.

In partnership with

  • Aycliffe Secure Centre
Contact us
Aycliffe Secure Centre
03000 263 000
Our address is:
  • Copelaw
  • Newton Aycliffe
  • County Durham
  • United Kingdom
  • DL5 6JB
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