I’m a non-teaching deputy in an inner-city 3-form entry primary school. We have 60% FSM and is in the highest quintile of social deprivation nationally. Budget-cuts in real terms have meant that we can’t afford as many additional services (we used to have a full-time counsellor, art therapist and play therapist).
We’re using Wellbeing and Attitudes to Learning in a small-scale trial in Year 3 and Year 5 currently to see whether in practice it can help class teachers support the children’s wellbeing better now that we have far less external support.
We chose this resource because it was evidence-based, it has resources for teachers to use with the whole class and the system appeared quick and efficient to use. We need to support many children who have complex emotional needs and come from home environments that are challenging. The way in which we had rolled out our previous wellbeing resource as small-group work with 3 practitioners across 600 pupils was not viable long-term and was not reaching enough children. We are hoping that the Wellbeing and Attitudes to Learning resources will enable us to identify whole-class wellbeing issues and address them with the prepared resources. Then we can direct the most needy cases to specialist TAs in school.
We feel that the main benefits so far have been:
The screening enabled the trial classes’ strengths and weaknesses to be easily identified.
The links to resources allowed teachers to choose a suitable activity to support the class’s identified area to develop.
We have been able to communicate to parents that we are specifically supporting their child’s wellbeing and emotional health with evidence-based good practice, without needing to necessarily withdraw the pupil from classes.
We haven’t really used the comparison report comparing groups or classes but we have found the listing report comparing groups within a class incredibly useful as a quick means to get a clear overview of the class, and the individual pupil report was particularly useful when a surprising result for a pupil was thrown up.
In our trial so far the resource has been effective in helping to identify areas of strength and weakness in pupils’ positivity, self-efficacy, motivation and resilience. I certainly assume that if we did roll this out for the whole Key Stage, it will also be equally as effective.
With all the curriculum changes because of the new Ofsted, we’re properly reviewing timetables in order to free up more time for things like wellbeing lessons and I expect this resource to prove helpful in directing our work with pupils.
If schools are looking for a cost-effective, evidence-based programme to support the wellbeing of pupils, this can help. Class strengths and weaknesses are easily identified and it gives teachers the tools they need to address/develop the areas of concern that have been flagged up. The lesson/groups activity ideas suggested don’t require additional education or human resources, or any specialist knowledge. Wellbeing can then be monitored and tracked and improvements shared.
SENCo, Riverside Primary School, Devon