Yesterday - DAY 3 - in the land of PETTATHON:

"What has PETT ever done for me?" -  Recorded lots of occasions and events, of course - there may be some surprises here

"PETT Showcase" - A beautifully constructed and very moving digital story by Tash Fairbanks of the Caldecott Community - 'First Morning Home'

"Guest Blog" - 'A lasting legacy' by Assistant Principal of Trinity Catholic School Stephen Steinhaus (officially "unexpected and inspirational" - Rich Rollinson)

"Favourite Photograph" - 'A Brief History of the Swimming Pool' (is that really Rex Haigh in that v. cold pool?)

THANKYOU!! There are LOTS more 'likes' on our Facebook page (, and 12 new followers on Twitter!! Thankyou!

Busy day at the PETTATHON HQ yesterday with trustees Rosemary Lilley and Linnet McMahon popping in to lend a hand.   Lots of new features went up on the website:

"What has PETT ever done for me?" - Encouraged and supported researchers and research

"PETT Showcase" - A digital story by  Takumba Ria Lawal of the Caldecott Community - Memories of arriving and of food!

"Guest Blog" - 'Why I became a Trustee of PETT' by Chair of Trustees Rosemary Lilley

"Favourite Photograph" - 'I find it hard to speak' - Maurice Bridgeland, author of the incomparable Pioneer Work With Maladjusted Children (Staples Press, 1971),2006

We've had a few new 'likes' on our Facebook page and 6 new 'followers' on Twitter.For those who 'do' social media, please support and interact with us (if you're not already!) or encourage friends and family to support us in this way and help us spread the word!

Finally, a HUGE thank you the Wennington Old Scholars Association who have got the ball rolling by donated a very generous £500 to the appeal.

Welcome to the PETTATHON - the Planned Environment Therapy Trust's first ever, exceptionally brief and unprecedented international attempt to raise £50,000 during the month of October 2012!

Over the next two weeks we'll be adding new material to the website every day to showcase the work and contributions the Trust is making to the fields of therapeutic community, group therapies and progressive/alternative/democratic education more broadly, in the hope that people will be moved to make a donation which will help us to continue apace.

Each day we'll have a new page on:

-'What's PETT ever done for me?'!

- and another in 'PETT Showcase'

- We'll be featuring 'Guest Blogs' from some of the many people who have been involved with the Trust over the years, as well as trustees and
team members, addressing any concern, issue, insight or whatever is most important to them at the moment (please feel free to contribute -
there's room for more than one a day).

- We'll also take the opportunity to share some of our 'Favourite Photographs' from the past 23 years of the Archive and Study Centre, as
well as objects from the archives. We'll take requests.

New Features on Day 1:

"What has PETT ever done for me?" - Created websites and email discussion groups

"PETT Showcase" - A digital story by Pat Mitchell of Wennington School on 'Archive Weekends'

"Guest Blog" - A personal reflection on 'Rusty Staples' (not the famous American baseball star) by project archivist Matt Naylor

"Favourite Photograph" - Professor Eric Broekaert and Stijn Vandevelde, 2003.

Please share the PETTATHON with your friends and family to help raise us to raise awareness of the Trust's work and the work, needs and
possibilities of the field generally. And if you are touched by anything you see, please find a way to support our ongoing activity.

Thank you!

September has been another busy month at PETT with visits from a number of researchers and volunteers, the Caldecott Association's AGM and Reunion;  a meeting of the Children and Young Peoples Sector Group of TCTC (The Consortium of Therapeutic Communities), which was an always-welcome opportunity to meet new people and to catch up with lots of familiar faces; and there have been some lovely groups staying at the Barns Centre.


Elsewhere, Rich and Craig have been out on the road - meeting with John Turberville at the Mulberry Bush School to continue developing our work together and joining Stephen Steinhaus and a team from Trinity Catholic School at the inaugural meeting for the Institute for Childhood Trauma and Recovery in London, before parting ways - Rich off to Portugal for his consultations there; Craig to an Oral History Society Committee meeting and a meeting of the Campaign for Voluntary Sector Archives in London, and then up to sunny Yorkshire for Wennington Old Scholars' Annual General Meeting.  

Gemma gave a fantastic paper at a University of Warwick conference on 'Understanding Parenting: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives’ conference, and while she then took in the joys of Morocco, Chris Long and Jo Jansen were out and about locally attending fundraising seminars, and meeting neighbours and representing PETT at the Toddington Country Fayre on a very rainy Sunday (with great flapjack!).  

Back at the Archive, Matt has been making great headway with scans of photographs and cataloguing Caldecott-related and  Mulberry Bush School archives,  has fully digitised our Accessions Register (which stretches back to 1989!) and with the help of volunteers Barry Northam, Sam Doncaster and Pat Mitchell has surged past 16,000 entries in the Catalogue Database! Keep a look-out for a special paper-clip mountain blog from Matt during October's fundraising fortnight marathon.

Those of you who have received our Autumn newsletter (haven't? Want to? Let us know!) will have seen that we're holding the PETTATHON Fundraising Fortnight from Monday 1st October.  To encourage people to dig deep and help support the work we do and would like to be able to do, we'll be showcasing our work and activities with a number of special features on our website, as well as on Facebook and Twitter..Stay tuned!

mb1On a gloriously sunny day at the end of August, numerous staff and former children gathered for an afternoon of reminiscing and catching up at the Mulberry Bush School, where they exchanged stories and met others from the past and present of the community. The school provided a delicious open-flame BBQ, and several impromptu games of rounders made for a perfect afternoon!

The PETT team was invited to attend, taking with them a whole host of archive material: photographs, films, even the old School bell as tolled by Mrs D. herself! PETT has developed a close relationship with the school, holding School archives dating back at least to 1948. Following several gatherings as part of the 'Therapeutic Living with Other People's Children' project, we are currently working together to devise an innovative Mulberry Bush archive project enabling us to digitise and catalogue the records, to create an online resource, and to engage past and current children, staff and families in the history, heritage and ongoing life of the School community..

The Bush's interest in preserving and sharing their own history and heritage is almost unique, and has highlighted for the PETT team the importance and value of preserving such heritage, and the need to celebrate the lives of the adults and children, past and present, who are part of the continuing community story. With an upcoming event to mark the centenary of the birth of Mulberry Bush founder Barbara Dockar-Drysdale in October, we are hoping to bring you more news of this exciting collaboration very soon!

American researcher and author Carolyn Lunsford Mears paid a visit to the Trust on her way to speak at the Oral History Society Annual Conference in Southampton on July 13-14, and had a very busy few days.


The mother of a child who was trapped inside Columbine High School during the shootings there in 1999, Carolyn turned her experience into an outstanding oral history project with other parents, gaining her PhD from the University of Denver with "Experiences of Columbine Parents: Finding a Way to Tomorrow". Her dissertation was named the Outstanding Qualitative Dissertation of the Year by the American Educational Research Association in 2005.

The unique oral history approach Carolyn developed was described in her first book, Interviewing for Education and Social Science Research: The Gateway Approach, a finalist for the American Educational Research Association's Outstanding Qualitative Book of the Year Award in 2010. She has most recently edited Reclaiming School in the Aftermath of Trauma, which brings together the experiences of a variety of educationalists and students in the wake of trauma as diverse as the Columbine shootings, Louisiana's Hurricane Katrina, the 9/11 attacks on New York City, and school shootings in Finland. "Reclaiming School" was published in England on July 13; the day, coincidentally, Carolyn addressed the Oral History Society Conference.

Arriving in England on Monday the 9th, Carolyn plunged immediately into the busy life of the Trust. On Tuesday morning she visited Trinity Catholic School in Leamington Spa, where she met with members of the pastoral and counselling teams, as well as newly-appointed Principal Chris Gabbett, Assistant Principal Stephen Steinhaus, drama teacher Verity Naughton, and artist-in-residence Helena Godwin. Students Flora Garner and Matt Pettle gave her a tour of the school.

During Tuesday afternoon Carolyn was part of an open seminar at the Trust with members of the Archive Team, special education consultant Deborah Best, Stephen Steinhaus, PETT Executive Director Rich Rollinson, and Trustee Dr. Linnet McMahon. Archival mugs, part of the University of Reading Therapeutic Child Care Course 'Object of the Month', were brought out by their donor, Linnet McMahon, and became part of a special event.

On Wednesday PETT's Gemma Geldart accompanied Carolyn to spend a fascinating day at the Mulberry Bush School, an internationally respected therapeutic community for children, near Oxford.

Still suffering no jetlag, on Thursday morning Carolyn met with Judith Furnivall and Zachari Duncalf of CELCIS (The Centre for Excellence for Looked After Children in Scotland), before heading down to Southampton in the driving rain, to prepare for the Oral History Society Conference - "Displaced Childhoods: Oral history and traumatic experiences" - and her talk on Friday. Following more conferencing on Saturday, Carolyn then raced back up the motorways of England to Birmingham Airport,  flying back to the States early on Sunday morning.

Matt Pettle, Carolyn Mears and Flora Garner on their tour of Trinity Catholic School.