In School Provision
Etwall Primary School is committed to investing in our pupil’s health and well-being and we offer a range of pastoral support and social and emotional interventions. Emotional Literacy is important because developing children as rounded people and active members of the community is at the heart of what schools are about. Children learn better and are happier in school if their emotional needs are met.
The benefits to pupils are:
- feeling supported by having ‘special time’ and being listened to
- develop greater self-awareness
- learning to talk about difficulties
- developing coping strategies
- interacting more successfully with others
- feeling better about themselves
- managing better in school
Mrs Carter is a trained ELSA. ELSAs are Emotional Literacy Support Assistants. They are Teaching Assistants who have had special training from Educational Psychologists to support the emotional development of children and young people in school. ELSAs have regular professional supervision from Educational Psychologists to help them in their work. They help pupils learn to understand their emotions and respect the feelings of those around them. They provide the time and space for pupils to think about their personal circumstances and how they manage them. Most ELSA programmes will last for 6 to 12 weeks, helping the pupil to learn some specific new skills or coping strategies. Clear programme aims (SMART targets) are set early on and each session has an objective - something the ELSA wants to help the pupil understand or achieve. Targets are set in consultation with the child and parents are informed about how the programme is going.
Mrs Draper and Miss King are trained Positive Play Support Workers. Positive Play is an early intervention programme designed to raise the self-esteem and emotional wellbeing of shy, timid, disaffected and challenging children. One to one sessions are delivered in the school’s Starlight Room which is a sensory environment using the natural medium of play. The structured sessions are tailored to meet individual needs, assisting in developing, listening and communication skills, addressing anger management issues and helping children and young people to deal with the consequences of their actions. It is designed to equip children and young people with the necessary resilience, social and life skills to manage the issues that confront them enabling them to access the curriculum and achieve their potential.
Positive Play-Support aims and objectives:
- to allow young people a space to express and communicate feelings and difficulties in their lives, through a variety of media in constructive rather than aggressive ways and in a safe non-threatening environment
- to help young people feel good about themselves and raise self-esteem by providing activities that look at their strengths and by valuing what they do and making it special
- to provide a non-authoritarian, supportive, reliable, safe, unconditional relationship within schools and other settings
- to provide some of the early experiences that may have been missed but which are necessary for formal education and social interaction
- to help young people acquire the complex range of life skills needed to achieve their full potential.
Sometimes outdoors is the best place to develop resilience and social, emotional skills. Etwall Primary School is fortunate to have the fantastic skills of Frazer Johnston to help small groups of children once a week outside in the school grounds in our Outdoor Nurture Group. This intervention has helped build physical, emotional, behavioural, and social skills in lots of children over the years that it has been running. During the afternoon intervention, the children have had the opportunity to build bird houses out of wood and nail them to the trees observing the birds that use them over the seasons. They have made fires and toasted marshmallows as well as built vegetable plots and grown vegetables to be eaten in school at lunchtime amongst many things. These outdoor activities have numerous mental benefits such as a boost in self-esteem and resilience. Also, overcoming obstacles and improving physical skills increases self-confidence which carries over into the classroom. Working outdoors can also result in an increase in attention span and provide the children with a sense of accomplishment while reducing stress, anxiety and depression. The combination of the nurturing approach and natural environment provides children with new challenges and safe risks to take, and contributes to increased calm and relaxation. The nurturing approach is important in helping children feel safe and secure, providing social support, promoting self-esteem, and developing persistence and concentration.
In September 2019, Etwall Primary School began the Attachment Aware Schools programme. The programme transforms schools in their understanding and practice around attachment and trauma and is led by the Virtual School in Derbyshire. As part of this programme, a safe space has been created to support children, who are finding lunchtimes difficult or are in need of additional nurturing support at lunchtimes. “The Nest” was co-created with the children alongside a Creative Practitioner.
The rationale behind anti-stigma in Derbyshire is that, "We want as many people in Derbyshire/Derby City to feel confident to talk about their own or their families mental health with acceptance and without judgement.”
In September 2019, Etwall Primary School launched Anti-Stigma Ambassadors in school. We wanted to reduce stigma by creating a school community that has more awareness and supports young peoples’ mental health.
The children (supported by Mrs Giles, SENCo) attended a day’s training led by Yvonne Wright who is the Health and Wellbeing Consultant from the Education Improvement Service for Schools and Learning at Derbyshire County Council. Anti-stigma training is a local and national campaign to help people when they experience mental ill health. The school wanted to take part in this campaign to tackle stigma around mental health. We want to change this stigma by challenging stigma and discrimination, by learning how to stay mentally healthy and by understanding more about mental ill health and how to support our friends.
The role of an Anti-Stigma Ambassador may involve one or more of the following:
- Making displays, posters, leaflets, newsletters to share anti-stigma messages
- Running activities in school/community
- Sharing anti-stigma messages with parents and families in the community
- Educate and influence people about the ‘5 Ways to Wellbeing’ which can help prevent and manage mental health problems