The Mulberry Bush Organisation is a non-for-profit charity which has separate but connected services: The Mulberry Bush School, MBOX Teaching School and The National Centre for Therapeutic & Residential Foster Care.
John Diamond, Chief Executive Officer, BA (Hons.), MA in Therapeutic Child Care, MA in Consultation & The Organisation
John is CEO of the Mulberry Bush Organisation. His working career has been in residential therapeutic work with children and young people.
John has published papers and lectured in the UK and internationally on this work. He is a trustee of the National Association of Special Schools, on the editorial board of the International Journal of Therapeutic Communities, and a member of the Therapeutic Communities Accreditation Panel at the Royal College of Psychiatrists. John has trained in group work at the IGA, the Tavistock, and with OPUS, and has an MA in therapeutic child care and in consultation and the organisation; psychoanalytic approaches.
He is the chair of the reference group at the College Centre for Quality Improvement at the Royal College of Psychiatry. The group has written national standards for Therapeutic Communities working with Children and Young People and oversees the peer review and accreditation system. He is a Therapeutic Community (TC) specialist in the auditing of TC Prisons. His focus and interest remain in the development of high quality integrated therapeutic services for children and young people.
After spending 20 years in sales and management within the outsourced IT sector Nigel moved into the charitable sector as Managing Director of a charity providing employment opportunities for people with disabilities or other impairments to obtaining work.
He is a Fellow of the Dartington Social Policy Group at Warren House. He has a long association with Therapeutic Communities, having worked at the Mulberry Bush for over 20 years in total, where from 1991 to 2001 he was its Director, and at the Peper Harow Foundation from 2001 to 2005, where he was Director, Children and Young People. He was a Senior Lecturer in Health and Social Work at Reading University (1986 – 1991) and continues to teach on such professional training courses here and abroad. Over recent years he has advised the Department de Segurances Social [Children and Families Department] in Portugal on the development of Specialist Support Houses for highly emotionally troubled young people.
Richard completed the Part 1 Training in Child Psychotherapy at the Tavistock Clinic [now an MA], qualified as a Social Worker with an MSc from Oxford University in 1983 and in 2005 completed the MA in Organisational Consulting at Ashridge Business School. On several occasions Richard had been the Chair of the Charterhouse Group of Therapeutic Communities, and he remains the Chair of the Care Leavers’ Foundation.
Ursula Howard, Vice Chair of the Trustees
Ursula Howard has spent all her working life in education, as a teacher, senior manager and researcher, mainly in the field of adult literacy learning.
Before retiring in 2008, Ursula was Director of the National Research and Development Centre for Adult Literacy and Numeracy at the Institute of Education, University of London. She is now a Visiting Professorial Fellow there and works as a literacy consultant in several countries. Ursula is closely involved with the Mulberry Bush ‘Outcomes’ project, a longitudinal study of the progress children make over their time at the School. She is interested in developing practitioners’ engagement in research at Mulberry Bush. She is a Quaker, and convenes a group which works with other organisations to address poverty in Oxford.
Nick Goodwin has been a trustee since November 2007. He is a barrister specialising in cases relating to child protection and matrimonial finance.
Much of his work arises from the representation of Local Authorities on applications to take children into care following abuse allegations, but he also represents parents, prospective adopters and children themselves, through their Guardians. He practices out of chambers in Oxford but appears throughout the courts of the Midlands and South Eastern circuit.
John has worked in the Social Care sector since graduating in 1969. He joined the staff of the Cotswold Community, a pioneering therapeutic community that helped emotionally unintegrated boys, in 1972.
John took over from Richard Balbernie as Principal in 1985 and continued in that role until 1999. He worked alongside the consultants to the CC during those years, Barbara Dockar-Drysdale, Isabel Menzies-Lyth and Dr Eric Miller and learnt a great deal from them. John also did the Advanced Residential Work course at Bristol University under the direction of Chris Beedell and trained as a Group-Analytic Psychotherapist, qualifying in 1984. In 1999 John moved to ISP (Integrated Services Programme) as the CEO and later Managing Director. ISP was the first independent fostering provider in the UK and provides a multi-disciplinary wraparound service for children in need of specialist therapeutic services. John plans to retire later this year and has published several papers over the years and given lectures in the UK and other European countries. John has also developed a website to act as a digital library of material relevant to the therapeutic care of children www.johnwhitwell.co.uk
Michael Sarrington is a new trustee and comes from a business background. He has worked for a number of global organisations in the steel and gases industry both in the UK and overseas.
In the latter part of his corporate career he specialised in marketing and communications. Michael currently runs his own business offering consultancy advice and training services. He has delivered psychological education programmes for adults with mental health problems. Michael is also the chair of governors at a primary school.
Mark Thomas has worked in Social Care since graduating from Liverpool Polytechnic in 1988. He spent his first 5 years at the Cotswold Community as a Residential Social Worker and Household Manager gaining a Diploma in Therapeutic Childcare.
Mark then joined the West Swindon Family and Community Project as Project Co-ordinator and was part of developing services for families in this newly created part of Swindon. In 1999 he completed his MSc in Group Relations at the University of the West of England. Mark worked as a Consultant to newly developing organisations in the Charity and Not for Profit sectors within Wiltshire. Mark joined ISP Foster Care in 2000 as Centre Manager of the new Centre in Watford. He is still at ISP and is the Registered Manager for the Buckinghamshire Centres of Chesham and Milton Keynes and responsible for the development of new areas in Cambridgeshire and the West Midlands.
Following a sociology degree, Margaret undertook a professional training in psychodynamic casework and qualified as a Medical Social Worker at the Institute of Medical Social Work.
Generic social work followed, then time off to raise a family. She returned to work on a research project looking at social work interventions to help physically damaged drinkers before spending 10 years in psychological medicine working with people who attempted deliberate self-harm. During this time she took a basic family therapy qualification and a year’s course in CBT. She also acted as an Approved Social Worker.
In 1998 Margaret joined the then Family Team at the Mulberry Bush working with the parents and foster carers of children at The Bush, where she remained until retirement in 2011.
David Astor, CBE
Sir Hugo Brunner, KCVO
Dame Fiona Caldicott, DBE
The Right Hon. David Cameron
The Right Hon. The Lord Hurd of Westwell, CH, CBE
Jon Snow, Hon FRIBA
Joanna Trollope, OBE
WATCH A SHORT VIDEO ABOUT THE WORK WE DO AT THE MULBERRY BUSH SCHOOL
Transforming Troubled Lives Together
Providing hope and positive outcomes for troubled children who are looking for a way to learn and live again.
By improving the life chances and social inclusion of traumatised children and young people, we create long-term benefits to society by reducing anti-social behaviour and its impact on families, schools and communities.
Behaviour Support for Schools and Professionals MBOX (Mulberry Bush OXfordshire) helping those who help others. National Specialist Outreach for Social Emotional and Mental Health Difficulties (SEMHD).
Sign up for our Annual Conference “A Good Listening to…. what are they telling us?” Helping Looked After Children to be heard. Date: Friday 17th March Venue: The Mulberry Bush School, Standlake, Oxfordshire, OX29 7RW Who is it for? Professionals who are involved in the care, support and education of looked after children. This may include foster carers, residential workers/managers, teachers, educators, social more »
At the second of our seminars on ‘Developing Research for the Children’s Residential Sector‘ a full house heard Yvon Guest and Dez Holmes from Research in Practice and John Diamond and Caryn Onions from The International Centre for Therapeutic Care discussing the importance of research within the children’s residential sector. The seminar explored how others have more »
Our aim is for reflective supervision to be a key part of the children’s sector by 2025 for all staff. MBOX Teaching School is now offering staff supervision which helps to: reduce staff stress reduce staff absence increase retention develop clarity of roles and tasks across organisations make better use of time increase our understanding more »