The door is always open for students to come and chat in a relaxed setting if they are feeling overwhelmed and need to offload. The pastoral team get to know the students really well, and input to reviews and timetables. They have good links with families, social care and CAHMS and regularly organise meetings and joint agency sessions to support the students. If a student’s wellbeing is good, then they are more likely to learn, and we therefore take this element of their development as seriously as their formal education. All staff advise the pastoral and behaviour management team of any issues they think may be arising, which allows us to support the student (often before they even know they need support). This could be by means of a referral to our on-site counsellor or Speech and Language Therapists (SALT).
Communication between all staff is paramount as many of the students are unable to identify themselves when they need support, Internal systems in place help us identify need and respond as required. All students are part of a 'hub' where they are based for the majority of their day. Within the hub they each have a tutor group which they attend each morning, here they have a core team of staff and peers. Although these sessions are structured it gives opportunity for students to remove anxieties before starting formal learning. Small quiet rooms are available throughout their hub, and there are safe areas where students can have time on their own if feeling particularly anxious. Our aim is to support students to be as independent as possible, our environment allows for that. For example, the pastoral team are notified within 5 minutes if a student has not arrived to class and alerts a staff member to identify their whereabouts. This allows the students to be independent, but still safe. It’s a small step, but its independence.
Breaks and lunch times are often a difficult time socially for students, common rooms are staffed during these times by Pathway Learning Mentors (PLMs). The rooms vary from pool room, quiet rooms, vibrant learning resource centre, a gym or an outdoor space. PLMs in these less formal sessions /areas build relationships with the students so they are confident and comfortable in asking for support.