At St Oswald’s, we value the importance of a nurturing ethos and a relational approach in supporting children to reach their true potential and develop as individuals. Our classrooms, and other work spaces, are consciously designed to be safe, calm and interesting places to learn. We consider both the learning and the sensory needs of children when creating displays and aim to use the beauty that is the natural world as our inspiration throughout school. There is an abundance of research evidence stating that children’s learning is most effective when they have a sense of emotional well-being, good self-esteem and a feeling of belonging to their school community.
Support and Nurture for All
At St Oswald’s, we see our nurturing approach towards all pupils is an integral part of our school’s curriculum offer. This offer looks different from child to child, and cohort of children to cohort. Some children will access specific activities to support their SEMH (Social, Emotional and Mental Health) during unstructured times (such as break and lunchtime), others will access this as part of whole-class sessions woven into the curriculum and some children will access this as part of a bespoke group.
It is important to note that all children are nurtured, supported and cared for at our school. Some children may need an additional for periods of time and the level of this will vary dependent on their need, seeing every individual as an individual. We promote self-regulation and identifying emotions. We use the ‘Zones of Regulation’ through school to support our pupils. Further information about this strategy can be identified below.
Our Nurturing Environment
We have a number of areas within school where our activities and interventions can take place: The Den, Phase Pods and our Wild Area. These areas are designed to be bridge between school and home/outside; a place where children can feel safe, secure and develop their individual needs further.
The Den is quiet, calm and has a variety of sensory calming equipment where children can relax to feel comfortable. Many of our groups are run from this room. It has everything that we need support children through different experiences such as: grief, growing up, anxiety, change, loss, confidence building. There are also an abundance of craft activities and games to support children’s SEMH (social, emotional and mental health.)
Some phases through school have developed calming pods. These are small rooms that have the primary aim to support children to emotionally regulate and access learning in a smaller, more calming environment than the classroom.
Our Wild Area
Our Wild Area is very much as it is described. It is an area of school which we are leaving and allowing nature to ‘do it’s thing.’ This provides multiple learning opportunities for the children as well as a beautiful outdoor space to carry out outdoor learning activities. We have a space within the wildness area where a class of children can sit down and our very own fairy trail. If you are quiet enough and look closely enough, you may see the magic yourself!
Who are our Pastoral Team?
Although we have a team who oversees pastoral support in school, it is important to acknowledge that all staff have the same priority of ensuring school is a safe and open environment, where everyone is looked after, supported and encouraged to thrive. Our pastoral team consists of:
- Mrs Dunne – Designated Safeguarding Lead
- Mr Barker – Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead
- Mrs Utley – SENDCO (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Co-Ordinator)
- Miss Jennings – ELSA and Pupil Premium Champion
- Miss Benjamin – ELSA
What is an ELSA? What are ELSA sessions?
Our school’s Emotional Literacy and Learning Support Assistants carry out specialist ELSA sessions with some children in school. At St Oswald’s, we recognise that there will always be children and young people who, during the course of their education, will face life challenges that can detract from their ability to engage with learning. Some will require greater support to increase their emotional literacy than others. ELSA is an initiative developed and supported by educational psychologists. It recognises that children learn better and are happier in school if their emotional needs are also addressed.
The majority of ELSA work is delivered on an individual basis or in small group work, depending on what is more appropriate, especially in relation to the areas of social and friendship skills. ELSA sessions take place in our very own ‘The Den’ or in our ‘Wild Area’ which provides a calm, safe space for the child to feel supported and nurtured.
In ELSA we aim to provide support for a wide range of emotional needs:
- Recognising emotions
- Social skills
- Friendship skills
- Anger management
- Loss and bereavement