We believe in a holistic approach to pupil support at Westgate and therefore, all colleagues work together to make sure pupils are supported with their emotional wellbeing, in order for them to succeed in lessons and in life. We have worked hard to create an atmosphere where it is easy and accessible to ask for help from all colleagues. We are incredibly proud of the team that is around every child.
Head of Pupil Support
I have been part of the Westgate School for over 20 years and I lead the Pupil Support Team who support all pupils. I support pupils through one to one sessions, extensive Group work and running a variety of clubs. I also co-ordinate our volunteer workers and those from outside agencies who complement our Pupil Support Team in offering a range of support for both our Lower and Upper school pupils. Pupils can be referred through teachers or they can refer themselves by popping a note in the postbox outside of my office. Please feel free to contact me if you would like support for your child or just need a sounding base for advice on A.firstname.lastname@example.org
Lead Child and family Support Practioner
My role at The Westgate School is to support pupils and their families through the ups and downs of school and home life. As a Thrive practitioner, my practise is based on understanding neuro-science, childhood development and an understanding of the communicative function of behaviours; enabling me to work in a holistic way to support young people. Being a parent and having responsibility for a young person's social and emotional wellbeing is rewarding, but undeniably challenging and demanding too. None of us are perfect parents and I never under estimate the additional challenges that some families face. A listening ear, reassurance and some well-placed advise is something that we all need at times. Please feel free to contact me directly on K.Young@westgate.hants.sch.uk
How we support pupils
The Gallery is our wellbeing room which is used for 1:1 sessions, intervention, time out and group work. It provides pupils with a quiet, calm space to support them with the challenges of everyday life. It is run by members of the Pupil Support Team who are on hand to have a chat and offer a listening ear. The Gallery is also open before school from 8.00am and after school.
Group (Student Assistance Programme)
Group has been running in the Westgate School since 2002. It is a six-week course
which creates a safe place for pupils to share their thoughts, feelings and concerns. Our aim is to take every pupil in Year 7 through the course, which then gives them a firm foundation to continue through the rest of school and life.
Group looks at different aspects of their lives and allows them to simply share what’s going on. As we look at different themes such as feelings, control, defences, forgiveness and families, the individuals grow in confidence and self-esteem, as they start to share and listen to other members of the group. Barriers that may have been formed before group, are broken down, as pupils become more aware of people around them, who are facing different issues.
The six sessions are:
Defences and Control
Families and feedback
Certificates and celebration
One to One Sessions
The Pupil Support Team and key outside agencies run 1:1 sessions with pupils. These are confidential and can run for a number of weeks. If you need support or would like to talk to somebody, please pop a note in Andy’s help box, outside of his office (just by the PE rooms). There are support rooms for Lower School pupils. The Den is situated in the foyer area of the Lower School, this creates an open space for lessons, one to work and food preparation. The Cave is situated in the foyer of the Lower School and is an area where the Support Team can take pupils who need a quiet space and a place to work with sensory items. The Nest is situated near Year R classrooms, and is an ideal space to hold one to one sessions and creative arts.
Facilitated by a member of the Pupil Support Team, a restorative conversation is scheduled to provide pupils with an opportunity to reflect on behaviours, causes and to consider alternative choices. By ‘holding a mirror up’, pupils can reflect on the impact that their behaviours had on others and to consider the possible outcomes if they do not make the choice to change. A plan is jointly created during the session and pupils are supported, by the adults in school, to achieve the change they want. A restorative approach gives pupils choices, perspective and ownership of their actions and leads to better long-term outcomes.
The Thrive Approach
The Thrive Approach provides us with a simple web-based tool to profile children’s social and emotional needs, create a targeted action plan and measure progress. A straight- forward checklist enables us to identify needs in pupils’ emotional learning and devise a programme of activities to fill the gaps. By providing right time experiential learning through fun activities and relational play, children develop better emotional regulation skills, resilience and develop improved inter relational skills. The Thrive Approach is attachment informed and trauma aware; and is unpinned by latest research in neuroscience.
Thrive resources, linked below to the website:
Our Emotional Literacy Support Assistants (ELSA) run sessions to teach children social and emotional skills and devise strategies to help pupils to better understand and manage their emotions and regulate their feelings. Through fun activities ELSA’s co-regulate with pupils and model appropriate emotional responses to feelings. Sessions are either individual or run in a small group, and typically run for several weeks.
The Girl I Want To Be
(run by The Wildfire Project)
This 8-week project is run by a couple of female youth workers from a local charity called Wildfire. It is aimed at Year 9 girls and looks at several different topics like identity, self-esteem, sex and relationships and the media. It is run after school from the Gallery.
MIKA (Pets As Therapy)
Mika is our Pets As Therapy (PAT) dog. She comes in with Rachel her owner once a week to spends time with invited pupils, in order to support their wellbeing.
Libby Read is our Creative Mentor. Libby is a professional singing coach and uses her skills to work with pupils around confidence, self-esteem and resilience. She works two days a week.
A support site for teenagers with useful sections relating to feelings; growing up; heath; lifestyle; relationships and sexual health. healthforteens.co.uk/?location=Hampshire
How we support parents
Pupil support partners
We work in partnership with a range of partners, including local and national charities, health professionals, trusts and more. We identify which partners may be able to support pupils and families, and work together to ensure each pupil has the support they need.
Some of the organisations we work with can be found here:
Child Adolescent Mental Health Services has been around for many years and has some excellent web pages giving specific advice around subjects like anxiety, self-esteem and key mental health issues
A relatively new charity that was set up in 2019 to support families and individuals which are looking for key support. Sessions are priced depending on income and you can access help quickly and confidentially
A National charity that works with pupils who have lost a family member or close friend. Jo Clarkson, one of their workers, has supported pupils at the Westgate for a number of years
ThinkNinja is an app specifically designed to educate 11-18 year olds about mental health, emotional wellbeing and to provide skills young people can use to build resilience and stay well.
Whatever you’re going through, call us free any time, from any phone, on 116123. We offer a safe place for you to talk any time you like, in your own way – about whatever’s getting to you. We won't judge your or tell you what to do, we'll listen to you.
Shout is the UK’s first 24/7 text service, free on all major mobile networks, for anyone in crisis anytime, anywhere. It’s a place to go if you’re struggling to cope and you need immediate help. Shout is powered by a team of volunteers, who are at the heart of the service. We take people from crisis to calm every single day.
How do we manage our feelings and emotions?
It is natural for us all to get worried or to feel pressure however, some of us may feel it more intensely and regularly. We work in partnership with families and support groups in order to support pupils who find worry and pressure difficult to manage.
Please find links to resources below:
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The Anxious child
A booklet for parents and carers wanting to know more about anxiety in children and young people.
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Anxiety management: Self help work book for teens
In this book you will find a lot of useful information about why we experience anxiety as well as several different types of techniques to help you manage and lessen your anxiety
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How to beat anxiety: Self help work book for children
This book tells us why we have anxiety and some ways to make us feel better
You may find links to useful websites below:
We protect and support children and young people, providing practical and emotional care and support, ensuring their voices are heard, and campaigning to ... bring lasting improvements to their lives
Information, resources and support for young people dealing with depression and/or anxiety.
Committed to improving children's wellbeing and mental health. Discover information, advice & support for young people affected by mental health. Improving Mental Health.
With the right support, young people can transform their lives
Growing up is a challenge for everyone, but for some it's more difficult than others. We offer practical and emotional support so that young people can enter adulthood with the confidence they need to achieve their full potential.
Beacon House is a specialist, innovative
and creative therapeutic service for
young people, families and adults.
With a special interest in working with individuals of all ages who have experienced trauma and loss, we are passionate about offering safe and effective therapies in a way that enables people to re-build their lives following stress and adversity.
Welcome to Inner World Work
Living with and loving a child who carries trauma pain through their daily life is a humbling and exhausting experience.
They are brave warriors whose strength and ability to keep going, even when the world feels dangerous and frightening is incredible to be part of. It also means day to day life is demanding, unusual, chaotic, scary, rewarding and at times bizarrely funny.
This website is a collection of creative works in different formats to support parents and professionals working with these incredible children.
COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pupil support
We are all encountering challenging times as the COVID-19 virus causes such disruption to our school community. However, we want to make sure that pupils and parents have the support they need. Pupils can access support by completing this form which will be sent to the Pupil Support Team. Find out how to contact the team here
Pupils may also experience inactivity, isolation and bereavement during this period. Please find resources and links that you may find useful, if your child does experience any of these:
1.Healthy body healthy mind! It is important that pupils remain active – try these NHS videos out:
10 minute home cardio workout - nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/10-minute-home-cardio-workout/
10 minute body toning workout - nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/10-minute-home-toning-workout/
10 minute abdominal workout - nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/10-minute-abs-workout/
10 minute upper arm workout - nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/10-minute-upper-arms-workout/
Other activities to promote wellbeing:
Born to be Adventurous: borntobeadventurous.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/28-days-of-activities.pdf
A creative list of non-screen based activities for children: medium.com/pobble/simple-and-fun-non-screen-activities-that-children-can-do-at-home-115543cb3b9c
30 days of Lego play ideas: thatbricklife.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/LEGO30daysofplay.pdf
Cosmic Kids stories, yoga and fun! cosmickids.com/
Joe Wicks home workouts - youtube.com/channel/UCAxW1XT0iEJo0TYlRfn6rYQ
2. Having to self-isolate and not being able to socialise with peers at school, may negatively impact on a pupil’s mental health and cause them to worry more. Please find support for anxiety here:
Wellbeing and mindfulness are widely proven to improve mental health:
1 month of mindfulness calendar
Daily mindfulness and coping ideas actionforhappiness.org/calendars
A "Body Scan" is a simple and essential mindfulness skill that can help you connect with the present moment, reduce anxiety and stress, and feel calmer. The essence of a body scan exercise is to bring your awareness to various parts of your body, to scan your body with your "noticing" and to come into contact and acceptance with the sensations in each area of your body. youtube.com/watch?v=6iDKF-TrAfE
Mindfulness Apps for Children
Smiling Mind: This app has great body scan meditations to help children develop the awareness of what’s happening in their bodies. Learning about what’s happening in your body is one of the first steps of an authentic mindfulness practice. smilingmind.com.au/smiling-mind-app
Calm: This app provides mindfulness and sleep stories for children of varying ages. Several parents I know use the app to help their children relax, and restore themselves after a full day of running around. app.www.calm.com/sleep
Three Good Things: A Happiness Journal. This app is simple and easy-to-use, helping children focus on the positive and recognising what went well today. (Ages 6 and up.) Every child gets to list three things daily that went well, which begins to train their mind to look for things to appreciate and begin a gratitude practice.
Insight Timer: This app is free with meditations for parents and children. They focus on relaxation, managing stress, concentration, and sleep, as examples.
Finally, the most important person in all this is YOU! You need to take care of yourself before you can take care of others. How you respond and react will set the tone for your child. With that in mind, we’ve also included a “Wellbeing For Adults and Children” (adapted with thanks to Southampton Neo-Natal Unit) … as it says: you can’t pour from an empty cup!
3. Getting the right tone, when talking about COVID 19 with your child can be difficult. Here are some stories which have been created to be honest, factual but without being alarmist.
These links are more suitable for Year 3, Year 4, Year 5 and Year 6:
· Dr Chris and Dr Xand from Operation Ouch – super video (8 minutes long) for KS2 children mainly about Covid-19 and children’s questions being answered - bbc.co.uk/newsround/5186109
· Why Covid-19 might not be as scary as it sounds - Dr Chris and Dr Xand from Operation Ouch, Newsround Clip bbc.co.uk/newsround/51342366
4. There is a chance that pupils may experience loss and bereavement. Please find support for child bereavement here:
If you have any questions about the above, please contact A.Hider@westgate.hants.sch.uk.