Primary school stories

Primary school stories

Emotional health and wellbeing 1

Our school is a smaller than average primary school. Almost half the pupils come from a wide area beyond the three small communities in the xxx. Almost all the pupils are White British and speak English as their first language. Apart from the pupils in xxx, all of whom have a statement of SEN, there are relatively few pupils with learning difficulties and/or disabilities.

What needs did we identify?

The school has had to deal with the impact of parental bereavement within the school community. We recognised that a whole school approach to life changing events was essential to support staff, pupils and parents through difficult times. Findings from a pupil voice survey carried out showed that family problems were a concern for pupils, particularly among Year 6 where 30% said that family problems were a significant concern.

What outcomes did we focus on?

  • To increase the number of pupils who are able to describe strategies that help them to cope with difficult life changing events
  • To increase the number of teachers and teaching assistants that feel prepared and equipped to support pupils who experience difficult and sometimes harrowing circumstances

What activities/interventions did we put in place?

The Healthy Schools work was included in the Whole School Improvement Plan. There was a whole school focus on the development of pupil voice and oral language skills across the curriculum with specifically planned opportunities in Literacy, PSHE Education, RE and Philosophy for Children. This focus included use of partner talk, group work specific roles (e.g. scribe), hot seating, drama, digital cameras, easi-speak microphones, flip share cameras etc.

The following universal activities were already part of school life, although teachers specifically planned to maximise these existing opportunities to further promote emotional literacy skills and resilience:

  • Use of the 'Cambridgeshire PD toolkit' PSHE Education scheme of work and assessment tools
  • Getting On and Falling Out conflict resolution theme of SEAL
  • Team building activities including: orienteering, trips to outdoor activity centres, house groups, clubs and fund raising
  • Opportunities for leadership and responsibility including: school council, class job rotas, school bank, sports captains, prayer team.
  • Discussion forums including: Circle Time, school council, Life Education Centre, pupil questionnaires, pupil presentations, school newspaper
  • Anti-bullying week
  • Opportunities to talk to visitors including: the Vicar, community police officer, School Council Network
  • All teaching staff received P4C Philosophy for Children training.

Bereaved pupils were provided with access to a school counsellor. All staff were made aware of pupils' needs through a staff meeting led by a counsellor. Class teachers regularly reviewed and assessed the emotional needs of pupils and organised access to counselling where appropriate, after consultation with the Headteacher, SENCO and parents. There was close communication between the school and surviving parents. Bereaved children received additional support to help rebuild their emotional resilience.

What did we achieve, and how did we know?

Following the implementation of the plan most pupils were able to describe strategies to help them manage challenging life changing events; there has been an emphasis on sharing feelings and talking to people that you trust. Staff confidence has grown through work with counsellors and support from agencies including CRUSE. Pupils' communication, dialogue, expression and associated emotional literacy skills have been strengthened. The school community feels better able to cope with and respond to life changing events. The bereaved pupils, who received specialist support, are thriving and have been able to enjoy a class residential trip.

What will we do next?

The Philosophy for Children programme has been very successful. The impact on the emotional, social and spiritual development of the pupils was evidenced in a recent SIAMS inspection and has enhanced provision for language, literacy and communication skills across the curriculum. The role of the school counsellor was invaluable, not only in supporting recently bereaved pupils, but also in providing emotional support for staff and other children affected by change such as divorce and separation.

Senior leader quote:

'We are really pleased with the impact of the P4C Philosophy for Children training, the Cambridgeshire PD toolkit and interventions put into place. Staff feel a lot more prepared and confident to support pupils who experience difficult circumstances. We aim to continue providing support and improve access to the school counsellor.'

Emotional health and wellbeing 2

We are a small, voluntary-aided, rural primary school currently providing education from reception to year 5. From September 2014 we will be retaining year 6 children, becoming an all-through primary. Our families have a range of needs such as a high level of free school meal entitlement and poor access to transport. Healthy Schools has been an important feature of school life for over six years, helping to meet the social and health needs of our families. At the moment we have 86 children on roll including:

36% FSM,

25% SEN,

5% BME

What needs did we identify?

We identified the needs of our pupils through a school based survey, organised and implemented by our School Council in response to questions such as:

How well do you think bullying is dealt with in your school?

Is there someone at your school you can tell about bullying?

Do you know about your school's anti-bullying policy?

How much does bullying worry you?

Does your school listen to children's ideas for anti-bullying work?

Does your school teach you about different types of bullying?

What outcomes did we focus on?

  • Production of a comprehensive and effective anti-bullying policy which could achieve greater well-being for pupils
  • An improved PSHE curriculum, which engages learners
  • To achieve the Leicestershire 'Beyond Bullying' Award
  • To develop an inclusive whole school approach towards anti-bullying

What activities/interventions did we put in place?

We elected anti-bullying stars in Key Stage 2. These were children who were approachable by other members of their year group for help if they felt they were being bullied.

We wrote a child-friendly anti-bullying policy with the anti-bullying stars and our student council members. A new Anti-Bullying policy was also written and ratified by the governing body. The policy is displayed on the school website.

We made sure anti-bullying displays and messages were prominent around school. We instilled a 'worry box' in classrooms and monitored it was being used effectively by children.

Work from all classes done during Anti-Bullying Week was displayed in the school Foyer. This included poems, posters, stories, 'Say something nice today' competition and art work. Children also entered the Anti-Bullying Week -Design a post card competition.

Staff members were given training to ensure they felt confident spotting and dealing with bullying.

What did we achieve, and how did we know?

We fulfilled the criteria to achieve the Leicestershire "Beyond Bullying" Award and achieved the quantitative, qualitative and targeted outcomes that we set out to achieve.

The children in our school have a good understanding of what bullying is, what they can do to prevent bullying and how to stay safe online.

We carried out a Behaviour and Safety questionnaire post intervention survey following an earlier baseline one carried out last year. The results showed an increase in the number of children who could say what 'bullying' is and could give suggestions on how to prevent bullying.

There was also an increase in the number of children who knew what action to take if they saw someone being bullied.

Our parents and carers feel that our school deals with cases of bullying effectively. A questionnaire for parents and carers sent out by the headteacher showed an increase of parents that were happy with the way school dealt with reports of bullying.

Our recent Ofsted report also made the following comments in the report:

  • the school's work to keep pupils safe and secure is good
  • pupils say they feel safe because they are well cared for by teachers and other adults
  • pupils are not concerned about bullying. They understand the different types of bullying, including physical, verbal and cyber bullying. They know how to tell an adult if bullying happens to them and are confident that staff will help them.

What will we do next?

We will continue to sustain and develop the work that we have started. Our aim is to give our parents more opportunities to share their concerns with school and work with staff to address them.

We will be developing a training programme for peer mentors to support other pupils, who require anti-bullying support,

We will carry on curriculum work on Anti-Bullying in 2014-15 including Anti-Bullying Week events planned by pupils

Senior leader quote:

'The impact of this award has enabled the staff and children of our School to become more aware of the different types of bullying. Children have the knowledge and strategies to deal with all aspects of bullying, understanding the importance of respect and equality for all.'

Healthy weight 1

We are a larger than average sized primary school which has a smaller than average proportion of pupils known to be eligible for FSM. We also have a smaller than average proportion of pupils from ethnic minority groups and a small minority of pupils who speak EAL. There is a before and after-school club on site which is not managed by the governing body and is inspected separately. We have held Healthy Schools Status for six years and have recently achieved the Eco-Schools Green Flag award.

What needs did we identify?

Based on local and national data, in addition to our own school profile, we identified looking at the healthy weight priority area focusing on obesity in Primary School children.

What outcomes did we focus on?

  • To increase the number of children who participated in Out of School Hours Learning (OSHL) in PE and school sports, and to improve the provision of PE within lesson time.
  • To increase the number of children eating '5 a day'.
  • To reduce the amount of unhealthy food brought into school in lunchboxes and break time.

What activities/interventions did we put in place?

The Healthy Schools Coordinator worked with the Eco-Schools Committee and School Council representatives to embed the priorities across the whole school.

A sports coach has been funded to teach high quality PE during teacher's PPA time in addition to the extra PE sessions that each class teacher runs. There are also now two clubs each week for UKS2 which feed into the local league teams to increase the number of children who have the opportunity to play competitive sport.

We also provide a cross country club free of charge. We now compete in more sporting competitions throughout the school year and have progressed to the national finals.

Sporting achievements are celebrated in assemblies in order to encourage more children to take part. We also provide a range of other clubs that the parents pay for, which include: multi sports, basketball, dance and judo.

The school councillors helped to create a survey that the KS2 classes did in order to find out how many children were bringing in fresh fruit or veg to have as a snack at break time. The results were then analysed and it was discovered that a fairly low proportion of KS2 children were bringing in fresh fruit/veg.

Fruit tasting days were carried out where pupils brought in their favourite fruit to share with the class, also an exotic fruit tasting day, where the children had the opportunity to try different fruits they may not have had before.

Teachers have been encouraged to reward children who bring in a healthy snack at break time and the school councillors have continued to promote the fruit trolley at break time.

KS1 children made some healthy sandwiches and ate them together during their pirate picnic. The head teacher presented a whole school assembly about healthy eating and choosing a wide variety of fruit and vegetables for health.

The school Food Policy has been updated to include a separate lunchbox policy, containing advice for parents and to be shared with the school council at the start of each year and discussed in classes. This policy will be distributed to families at the start of each academic year and published to parents as part of our normal policy routines. The policies will be included in our induction pack for new families.

A visiting speaker came in to talk to the whole school about food miles, which linked in to our Eco-Schools initiative. She talked to the whole school in assembly about seasonal food and reducing the carbon footprint of our lunchboxes, and then she completed a lunch box survey with the school councillors, where they investigated the carbon footprint of a typical school lunchbox.

In addition, she then ran some taster sessions with children from each year group (identified by the teachers as children who could benefit from trying some different food items), where they tried different sandwich fillings such as hummus, etc.

In addition to this, each year group in school carried out some curriculum work on healthy lunchboxes. Each year group set a healthy plate homework task, where the children had to research and create a healthy plate – this was then used as a hall display and referred to during head teacher's assembly. The children in UKS2 completed some persuasive and discussion writing on the topic of healthy lunchboxes.

A gardening club has been implemented, where the children in year 3/4 grow their own vegetables. The children in 4+ run a farm cafe once a year where the children plan a day for the parents where they shop, cook and sell healthy food like vegetable soup and homemade bread.

A healthy lunch box club has been reinstated, aimed at the children in KS1 who were identified by their teachers as children who would benefit from learning more about healthy options.

Finally, a survey of lunchbox items was completed with the Food Routes team, which was analysed and will be used to inform future targets. This has all helped to impact on the children's health in a positive way as they are now more aware of what food choices make up a healthy lunch box and they have tried to include a wider range of healthy food options.

What did we achieve, and how did we know?

Children are better equipped to maintain a healthy weight as a result of our achievements surrounding exercise and healthy eating.

The children are now more active, more enthusiastic about taking part in clubs and competitive sport, which will have a long term impact on their future health and wellbeing.

Teachers report seeing more children bringing in fruit snacks in KS2 to eat at break time and a wider variety of fruit and vegetables being eaten at break time. The children are now more aware of the importance of eating fresh fruit or vegetables.

Some children have had the opportunity to taste healthy foods that they would not normally include in their lunchboxes. The food policy and lunchbox policy will help to ensure that new families joining the school are aware of our requirements for lunchboxes and the publication of the lunch box guidelines at the start of each academic year will, hopefully, reduce the inclusion of unhealthy food items over time.

Our most recent whole school survey found that 98% of children believe that their school helps them to be healthy.

What will we do next?

Focus on using the audit results from the lunchbox survey – work with the Food Routes team and the School Council to analyse the nutritional content of drinks commonly included in lunch boxes and promote the inclusion of more healthy drinks brought into school.

Embed cooking in the curriculum through D+T. The Food Routes team will come and do a staff meeting in the Autumn term to support the school in finding more opportunities to teach cooking throughout the school year. We are looking into implementing 'Big Cook Little Cook' sessions.

We want to improve the outdoor area with the gardening club and look to attend the Food For Life programme training sessions around growing and cooking in the curriculum.

Senior leader quote:

'The promotion of choosing healthy food and encouraging more children to exercise has had a great impact on pupil's attitudes. Significant work has been done to build on the good provision for supporting the emotional well being of the children. School practise has been analysed and reflected upon and excellent training has taken place for lunch time staff to help improve communication and behaviour at lunch, and for all staff to improve their understanding of attachment issues. This has served to give staff confidence that their practise is good as well as helping them to improve their practise even further and broaden their strategies'.

Healthy weight 2

We are an average sized primary school which has a large proportion of pupils known to be eligible for FSM. The majority of our pupils are from a White British background. We have an average number of SEN pupils and pupils are taught in mixed aged classes. We recently re-opened as a voluntary aided Church school and the moment we have 230 children on roll including:

35% FSM,

20% SEN,

4% BME

What needs did we identify?

The school were aware that tooth decay figures for the area were very high with 39% of 5 year olds having "experience of tooth decay". Coupled with observational evidence of the pupil's teeth in the school, particularly in Early Years, and the school's continuing commitment around healthy eating and lifestyles; they felt that a project around oral health would be appropriate for working towards Healthy Schools Enhancement.

What outcomes did we focus on?

  • To increase the number of children registered at a dentist
  • To increase the frequency that children visit the dentist
  • To decrease the amount of sweets and sugary drinks pupils consume

What activities/interventions did we put in place?

The project was supported throughout by the Healthy Schools advisor to discuss aims, objectives, means of collecting data and designing a survey, and the practicalities of carrying out the project.

It was decided the project would be concentrated in Early Years although work would still be done with the rest of the school where appropriate. A staff meeting was held to discuss the project with the Early Years staff, who were keen to contribute as they had all witnessed first-hand pupils with teeth removed due to decay.

The Oral Hygienist ran workshops with all year groups including a parent workshop in the Early Years, and there was a high parent turn-out, particularly in Nursery. The school ran three more healthy eating workshops for parents over three consecutive weeks based which again received a high turn-out.

This work was incorporated into the classroom and a dental surgery was set up in the home corner. Children were also asked to fill in a tooth diary, which helped them to see which healthy and unhealthy food they eat and reminded them of the importance of brushing their teeth.

What did we achieve, and how did we know?

We conducted a parent survey and results showed that the amount of parents taking their children to the dentist every 6 months had almost doubled from 20% to 39%.

Children are now more aware of the requirement to look after and brush their teeth. Teachers have also reported seeing a decrease in the amount of unhealthy snacks and drinks being brought in for break time.

What will we do next?

We aim to continue work around healthy eating and lifestyles and are developing lessons around how to look after your teeth in the current PSHE scheme of work. We are looking to implement a snack policy which will limit the types of snacks allowed at break time.

Senior leader quote:

'I really think a lot of our parents and children have benefited from the project and being an Enhanced Healthy School. Our children now know what drinks they should be drinking and love to try different types of healthy foods... (The) project highlighted the importance of parental involvement and parent workshops and the need to continue next year.'

Substance misuse & relationships and sexual health

We are a larger than average primary school. Most pupils come from White British backgrounds and speak English as their first language. A minority of pupils come from other ethnic groups, predominantly Asian British Indian heritage. The proportion of pupils who are entitled to FSM is below average as is the percentage with learning difficulties or disabilities. Pupils transfer to the local high school at the end of Year 5. The school has held Healthy Schools Status for 8 years.

What needs did we identify?

Locally we identified a higher than average rate of teenage pregnancy. Use of drugs and alcohol within families were also identified as a problem area. We recognised the need to raise the profile of PSHE (including SRE and DATE) within the school and the need to encourage children and parents to talk together about these issues.

What outcomes did we focus on?

  • To review the policy and practice on PSHE (including SRE & DATE)
  • To Increase the number of children and young people, who show an increase in their knowledge skills and attitudes in relation to developing and managing relationships in Year 5
  • To increase the number of children and young people, who report they find it easy to talk to their parents about sex and relationship issues from 41% to 63% out of Year 5
  • To increase the number of children and young people, who achieve specified outcomes in relation to DATE/PSHE in Year 5
  • To increase the number of children and young people, who report they find it easy to talk to their parents about drugs and alcohol

What activities/interventions did we put in place?

We increased the amount of time we dedicated to PSHE lessons and improved the recording and reporting of PSHE. We provided INSET for teachers was in PSHE. Baseline assessments were undertaken at the end of Year 4 and children were assessed at end of Year 5 to check progress. We also had the Life Education van make their annual visit.

What did we achieve, and how did we know?

Timetabled lessons for PSHE have increased from 30 to 45 minutes per week and there is a SoW for each Year Group progressing through the school. There is a comprehensive assessment rationale for PSHE, including trackers and self-assessment sheets. Teacher assessments have shown an increase in the percentage of children fully achieving the outcomes from the PSHE SoW.

There has been an increase in the number of children who report that they can talk openly to their parents about sex and relationship issues. There is an increase in the number of children who are able to identify adults they can trust and ask for help. Also an increase in the number of children who report that they can talk openly to their parents about drugs and alcohol issues.

What will we do next?

We are aiming to focus our work with targeted groups of children, namely our Pupil Premium children. We want to ensure PSHE lessons provide children and young people with the knowledge required and feel supported and encouraged to speak to SRE and drug and alcohol concerns or issues.

What will we do next?

We are aiming to focus our work with targeted groups of children, namely our Pupil Premium children. We want to ensure PSHE lessons provide children and young people with the knowledge required and feel supported and encouraged to speak to SRE and drug and alcohol concerns or issues.

Senior leader quote:

'This exercise has raised the profile of PSHE within the school. We hope to carry the work forward by continuing to prioritise PSHE and SMSC aspects of the curriculum, and ensure that the school and classroom ethos is characterised by these areas.'