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Open Box Education Centre

Principal's Welcome

Welcome to Open Box Education Centre: a nurturing, caring and vibrant school which supports our students to meet their full potential, academically and as individual young adults, and prepares them to take the next step towards realising their aspirations with hope and confidence.

In the last 16 years, initially as a charity and now as a registered Independent School, we have supported hundreds of Year 10 and 11 students to achieve qualifications, build skills, gain confidence and self-esteem and experience acceptance and success before moving on to college, apprenticeships and employment.

We are proud of our status as a trauma informed and attachment aware school, whose core principles of care, nurture and bespoke provision are based on an understanding of the neuroscience of trauma and an in-depth knowledge of the needs of each of our students. Our school’s unique approach has been recognised this year with two awards: TISUK Trauma Informed School Award and Essex Attachment Aware Gold Award. Please click here to see a copy of our report from TISUK.

Alison Dolan - Principal

Relationships, Resilience and Resources
We work on the principle that young people can thrive and achieve when they are able to recognise and experience positive RELATIONSHIPS, build and develop RESILIENCE and have access to a range of creative and educational RESOURCES.  I am proud and confident that:

  • Our fantastic team of dedicated, caring and skilled staff, who demonstrate positive and restorative RELATIONSHIPS based on unconditional respect and regard, support our students to communicate and interact as part of their community

  • Our therapeutic support and interventions, including counselling, mentoring, social & emotional skills coaching and collaborative work with wider agencies, support our students to understand and develop RESILIENCE that will allow them to persevere and thrive in the future.

  • Our bespoke, broad and balanced curriculum, including GCSEs, Functional Skills and a wide choice of enrichment subjects, equips our students with the RESOURCES they need to move on to Post-16 study and adult life.


An Educational Home
Many young people come to us after struggling to find an educational option that meets their needs.  At Open Box, they find a secure place to learn and hope for the future. Our small school of only 20 students can cater for each individual’s needs and students are referred to us for a variety of reasons.  Open Box is a positive choice for young people and their families, many of whom are looking for:

  • A place for that is nurturing and small with a bespoke curriculum that is designed around their individual social, emotional, behavioural and learning needs.

  • A place that provides an ‘educational home’ for those who may have found themselves ‘educationally homeless’ through permanent exclusion, moving home at a difficult time or unwise elective home education.

  • A place for those who have experienced hurt or trauma where they can find hope, healing and wholeness as well as finish their education in an environment that understands the impact of trauma on learning and behaviour.

If you would like to know more about us or would like to come and visit, please contact us on 01992 577 300 or by email at and we would be happy to arrange a time when we can welcome you to our school and show you around.

Mrs Alison Dolan

“It was such a privilege to spend the day with you all at Open Box. It is so abundantly clear that the importance of relationship sits at the core of all you do at Open Box. The cascade of care and wellbeing starts at the top with the level of care you show to your staff who in turn really care about your students, who know it and feel it. One student told me that in his previous schools, he was always in the bottom set and he was ‘a no-one going nowhere’. He said that your staff and your school had changed that and he was now ‘a someone going somewhere.’ ”

Christine Davis, Head of Training TISUK East of England

NAS_Autism_Award_Logos_Full_Colour_RGB_ASA Accredited 2024_edited.jpg
Trauma Informed Schools UK Logo
Ofsted Good Provider
Young Carers in Schools Silver Award
Healthy School Logo
Attachment Aware Logo
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