HeadStart School Sustainability Grants
The Headstart school standard has been developed to evidence a structured and effective support system for pupils. It is a requirement for schools to work towards achieving the standard to receive the full Headstart offer. It has been developed in partnership with schools and provides an incremental framework to achieve a whole school approach to emotional health. This is linked to the academic resilience framework and toolkit developed by Young Minds and University of Brighton to support and facilitate a whole school approach to emotional well-being: https://youngminds.org.uk/youngminds-professionals/our-projects/academic-resilience/
Subject to achieving the school quality standard and developing a sustainability plan, schools access a non-recurrent grant to facilitate an improved approach in supporting emotional health. The amount of grant is determined by numbers on roll and number of pupils eligible for free school meals.
The schools who have received their school improvement grant have invested in a variety of ways to create sustainable change including indoor and outdoor nurture spaces supporting early identification and support for vulnerable pupils, investment in PAT training, transition support and school mental health and wellbeing hubs to name a few.
St Bernadette’s reported back to us:
As part of our Headstart grant, we have converted our Rainbow Room into a counselling/sensory space for children with additional needs. We have resourced this with a range of sensory equipment including fidget toys, mirrors, a bubble wall and a number of books to support emotional well being. This has proved to be invaluable following lockdown. When children returned they came back with many different emotional and mental health concerns. This space has given us a safe environment to reflect, talk and work with vulnerable individuals In particular it has ensured that two of our children with ASD have a break out space. One young boy in Y3 comes into this room each morning before heading to class so that he is not overwhelmed and can take time to sit in a calm and quiet space to help him self regulate before the day begins. Staff had accessed books and resources where necessary to support their whole class, small group and individuals. It really has been great.
The space continues to be used to enable children to self-regulate and manage their emotions.
Beech Grove Primary School used their grant to create and resource a Reflection workshop room.
Thanks to the resources and workshop we are able to pick up and work with children who would have previously been referred to specialist services and also put in immediate support in place for children who have been referred and are awaiting support. We will continue to build on the work already being done and our resources and ability to work with larger groups of children.
Easterside Primary Academy have used their grant to develop a sensory garden with a pod and a water feature, the latter has already been used to calm a boy in crisis who loves to watch and listen to it.
It has enabled the school to provide a safe outdoor space which can be used by pupils, the care team and other professionals for therapeutic interventions and to promote emotional wellbeing.
Through our Headstart Grant we were able to design and develop a new HeadStart space for our pupils and community outdoors, supporting mental health and wellbeing. This took the form of our ‘Wellbeing Pod’ and sensory garden which has supported us in providing a safe environment for children to engage in therapeutic and sensory activities, such as Thrive, as well as having a safe ‘time and space’ area in which to be with a trusted adult. All our staff are skilled in ensuring pupils feel safe, their voices heard and that their feelings validated. Staff ‘lean in with curiosity’ to explore what we can do to help with meeting their emotional need. Our Wellbeing Pod and sensory garden has been the perfect place in which to do this and has supported pupil wellbeing, especially after the pandemic! The space is used regularly by teachers and pupils, as well as professionals and parents.
Published: December 12