“Let’s Discuss…. The impact of St Margaret’s Education Service on our school community ……Our journey so far”

Nationally and locally schools are strongly encouraged to personalise their curriculum to plan interventions for equity, meeting the needs as best we can of all children and families in our context. It is with this nurturing school philosophy in mind along with our school values that we liaised with St Margaret’s to initially further support staff in understanding the impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs).

We wanted staff to understand this so that they would be best placed to support young people themselves or to signpost them towards other partners in learning. Our school staff, and then later, our early years staff were so enthused by their professional learning experiences on ACEs delivered by St Margaret’s that we planned how we could further support young people and families.  With St Margaret’s support we developed a shared understanding and we personalised a support plan for a parent and child.  We had a programme of weekly sessions, based on the principles of Theraplay, and these also provided time for dialogue between St Margaret’s and school leaders. There were opportunities for senior leaders to participate in the Theraplay sessions celebrating little successes, celebrating together the new found confidence and enhanced relationship between parent and child. Class teachers, support staff and senior leadership team recognised that during and after the Theraplay sessions, real improvements had been harnessed for this family; it was very humbling to watch the changing interactions and positive trusting happy relationships strengthen between child and parent.

Positive relationships and the trust that has grown between St Margaret’s and our school, helps us to continue to work together to meet the needs of our community in a responsive way.

In our school we are very much aware of the challenges that supporting the vulnerability of others places on our staff. We worked with St Margaret’s to give our staff an opportunity for practising Mindfulness. This experience has provided staff with opportunity to improve their own wellbeing, to take stock, take time and just to be. Staff who participated in Mindfulness tell us that it has been an extremely positive experience that supports classroom practice and helps in their personal lives.

Our next steps are to ensure the fruition of recent planning  with St Margaret’s to introduce Mindfulness to a large group of senior pupils, We are looking forward to this as are our children and we are confident on the success this will have for them. The added benefit is that the teacher working with St Margaret’s and with the pupils has participated in the learning too. We are also about to embark on a coaching programme for senior leaders, providing opportunity for senior staff to hone their leadership skills and continue to succeed in their own leadership journey, impacting positively on self and in team, bringing further success for our school community.

We look forward to continued partnership working with St Margaret’s that allows us to personalise support and strengthen our community, we feel that staff at St Margaret’s want the best for our staff, children and families and help us to improve wellbeing. We would encourage others to embark on this journey too.

 

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