On Thursday we had our visit to see if we are an Enhanced Healthy School. We spent just over 3 hours showing Kate everything that we have put into place linked to Mindfulness and Growth Mindset and how we generally keep our Children and staff healthy and well in all aspects of School Life.
Kate, the healthy schools lead was over the moon with our commitment and achievements and we have been asked to submit a case study as an example for other schools which is amazing. This post is a t
hank you for all your support and a chance for you to read the report Kate wrote. Enjoy! We are super proud of this achievement.
Feedback from HfL Healthy Schools enhanced status visit
School: Sauncey Wood Primary School
Following the successful completion of the HfL Healthy Schools Programme at ‘status’ level, Sauncey Wood Primary School has gone on to achieve ‘enhanced’ status. The school focused on the important area of mental health and wellbeing for pupils and the wider school community. Key strands to this focus were the embedding of Growth Mindset and the introduction of mindfulness. Staff wellbeing continues to be key priority and driver too!
All the activities identified by the school in their action plan to support outcomes have been met. The actions undertaken have been well documented and monitored for impact. The activities carried out were all within the context of a ‘whole school’ approach with positive participation from everyone in the school community. The senior leadership team ensure that efforts to promote health and wellbeing are valued and embedded across the school.
There was opportunity during the visit to speak with:
* The Deputy Headteacher and Healthy School Lead
* Governor and Parent
* Class teacher and PSHE lead
The discussions and tour of the school helped support the written ,photographic and web based evidence presented. The school strives to create an environment that supports children and staff to feel good about themselves, to enjoy positive relationships and to learn confidently. Underpinning this are the school values of perseverance, cooperation, resourcefulness and reflection.
Summary of key findings from the HfL healthy schools enhanced recognition visit:
* The Learning Powers strategy was introduced in the school about two years ago and is now fully embedded across the school with all staff fully on board. Staff have noted a real shift in the attitude and ambition of the children towards their learning.
* The Headteacher and PSHE lead attended a four week ‘Flourishing Mindfully’ course which gave ideas and insights into the basics of mindfulness for staff and children. Taster sessions were also delivered in class and a parent session took place. The leadership team realised that for the mindfulness approach to be successful, parents had to understand the benefits and potential outcomes for their children and the family. An introductory information pack was sent out to parents. Parents and carers are also regularly updated via class blogs and Twitter. A 40 day mindfulness challenge was created with a different activity for children and parents to try each day at home. This was on the school website
and really helped raise the profile of the approach. The mindfulness survey that went out to parents showed the growing understanding for the approach. Parental feedback on the mindfulness approach has been positive. One parent commented, ‘As a parent, having a philosophy of mindfulness has really helped my child. It has helped her at school and at home…at home we have a book of mindful meditations which help her sleep.’ Children highlighted the impact the mindfulness approach had had on their wellbeing. ‘it helps you to be aware of things around you and helps you calm down !’
* The school runs a weekly mindfulness ‘Drop In’ club which is open to all ages and is run by a TA and the DH.
* The behaviour policy is currently under review with parents being fully informed and part of the process. Restorative Justice is an approach used across the school very effectively and all staff have a restorative ‘script’ to help give a consistent message to the children. MSA’s have found this approach has improved behaviour at lunchtimes.
* Nurture underpins the way the school supports behaviour and emotional wellbeing. ‘Chatter Time’ is available for children that need to have time out of the classroom and this time now incorporates a mindfulness approach. This support is given by a TA and can be accessed at any time by the children. The school has a dedicated nurture room for identified children to be supported. Nurture groups currently run on two afternoons each week. Lego therapy has been used very effectively. ‘Open Toy Box’ has been accessed by some PPG pupils.
* There is a wide variety of lunchtime and afterschool clubs for children including sporting, music and art based activities. Wherever possible the school uses the skills and interests of parents to help deliver activities e.g. the running club is supported by parents and there are plans to start a yoga club. Children have the opportunity to try sports that may be new to them e.g. archery.
* Children’s low physical stamina was identified as an issue and this has been partly addressed through changes in the PE curriculum. The children now have a fitness session and skills based session every week. A ‘Kids Fit’ report highlighted that year 3 girls in particular had low fitness levels and the school is working to address this. There is an excellent range of equipment and fixed apparatus outside that is easily accessible to all at lunchtimes helps make lunchtimes fun and active. The school successfully applied and gained funding from HCC as part of ‘Feeling Good Week’ and a climbing wall will be in place for a day for all to enjoy. Opportunities are taken to encourage children and adults to increase their daily levels of activity through walking, riding or scooting to school.
* There is an established woodland area in the school grounds and the children have experienced forest school activities. A member of staff has been offered a place on Forest School training course so this will help expand the outdoor curriculum offer.
* PSHE is delivered as a discrete subject across all key stages. Teachers feel confident delivering the PSHE curriculum. The Christopher Winter resources are used to support the delivery of Sex and Relationships Education and Drugs and Alcohol Education.
* The importance of children being involved with and leading charitable activities is recognised and pupil representatives lead on this.
* Breakfast is provided for some children and this has helped provide a settled start for certain vulnerable children.
* Pupil and parental voice is a constant driver in the school. There are many opportunities for all pupils to be questioned and their suggestions considered and acted upon. The children were recently consulted about a new school sign. The school has a school council, charity representatives, a pupil leadership team and an eco-council.
* The governing body strongly support the whole school approach to promoting children’s health and wellbeing. The school has worked particularly hard on supporting children’s mental health and a governor stated, ‘we place a huge emphasis on this and frequently communicate our new initiatives with parents. Good health and wellbeing including mental health underpins and improves access to learning. We support the whole child’s development here ’
There are further plans to:
* Embed Mindfulness approach across the school, within the PSHE curriculum and as part of whole school routines and approaches. Deliver training to all staff.
* Utilise the recently released HRBQ data to highlight current issues and inform PSHE delivery and health and wellbeing issues.
* Look into participating in ‘Daily Mile’ in summer term
* Have a reading dog to help support reluctant readers
* Ensure gender equality is fully promoted across the school and children work actively to combat all stereotypes. Library displays to fully support aspiration for all. (Stonewall training may be worth looking into)
* Refurbish the dining room area to help make lunchtimes a more enjoyable experience for all
* Complete the redecoration of the library area.
The school’s commitment to Healthy Schools is fully embedded into the ethos and vision of the school. Healthy Schools is not an add on but an integral to the management of the school and the pupils’ learning. The school staff, governors, pupils, parents and carers are to be highly commended for driving this healthy school initiative forward.
Sauncey Wood Primary School is to be congratulated on the breadth and depth of work that has been undertaken to secure Hertfordshire Healthy Schools Enhanced status.
Herts Health Schools Adviser