A Critical Historical Analysis of an Approved School Transforming into a Therapeutic Community: The Journey of a Healing Culture

By Jessica Phillips
A Note from John

Jessica Phillips lived at the Cotswold Community as a young child as her parents worked there. She had childhood memories of the Cotswold Community as a result of this experience. While at university she took the opportunity to re-appraise the work of the Cotswold Community through the research project which lead to this dissertation. I feel it is a very worthwhile addition to the website and an understanding of what made the Cotswold Community special.


This research project conducted a critical historical analysis of the Cotswold Community, an approved school that transformed into a therapeutic community treating disturbed adolescent boys.
To do this, the study created a definition of a successful healing culture, it used this definition to measure the change and to track the developments of the healing culture.
The study used a combination of a thorough exploration of the relevant literature and qualitative research methods to gain in-depth knowledge of each type of institution and the process of transition that took place. The results showed four key areas to the transition: power and hierarchy, treatment, staff-pupil relationships and group living. In conclusion, the study found a severe lack of successful healing culture within the approved school in all aspects; it only demonstrated a punitive and oppressive regime for all concerned.
Secondarily to this, it was found that the therapeutic community successfully demonstrated healing culture characteristics in all areas, which was also considered by some to be fundamental in binding the entire community together; representation of the culture’s success.
Open Historical Analysis of an Approved School. The PDF will open in a new browser tab or window.