“What was your focus area to improve health and wellbeing at your setting? Was there a specific issue related to health and wellbeing that your setting aimed to solve or develop through this?”
We surveyed both children and staff to find that playtimes posed the most problematic area for development for children’s wellbeing. We met with the Children’s Leadership Team to discuss what the children would like at playtimes; equipment to play with and a sensory/quiet garden area were suggested. In regards to staff wellbeing, we found the pandemic had forged a huge gap in our communication as a team so we decided to make this a priority for staff wellbeing.
“Is there anything your setting needed to do before pledging to the Health & Wellbeing Framework and starting your project?”
As part of the Durham Resilience Project, a staff and children’s working group were formed respectively. We met in our groups, albeit virtually, to discuss our action plan. We asked staff to nominate children for their working group and SLT emailed out to staff to enquire as to who would like to be involved in the staff working group.
“How many children, young people or families took part in your project?”
We decided to roll the project out on a whole-school basis – from Early Years to Year 6. We have also encompassed all staff throughout school for our staff wellbeing target.
“What difference has your project made to the children, young people, staff or families that were involved?”
Children now enjoy playtimes – we have a range of focused activities for children to take part in. We have noticed that as the children engage with the activities, their teamwork comes into play but more so their conflict resolution. Lunchtime supervisors have also been in full support of the improvements made to playtimes and have noted a huge decline in behaviour incidents. There are still times where children fall outs or incidents happen, but the children are far more resilient and attempt to sort the issue themselves rather than seeking adults straight away. This has improved relationships among the lunchtime supervisors and the children as the adults are now seen to be there to support play rather than resolve issues. Parents and auxiliary staff have also come on board and have been very supportive. Parents have commented that their child has become more interested in a particular sport (e.g. hockey) and have asked to take this further outside of school.
Staff morale has increased so much during this project. Staff have mentioned that even the fact that staff wellbeing has been made a priority by the SLT has made them feel valued and more open to accessing resources to help improve their personal mental health and wellbeing. Each half term, one staff meeting is set aside for staff wellbeing; some of the things which have been organized are a ‘Pizza Picnic’, staff yoga, cake session and a walk in the local woods. Not all staff take part, but all staff are encouraged to take part – there is an understanding that not all activities will be good for every staff member’s wellbeing. Staff feel that this is now a non-negotiable – they should look after their mental health and wellbeing and not feel guilty about doing so. This ethos will continue to be embedded throughout the staff.
“What are your next steps, suggestions and options to sustain this?“
We are looking into developing the sensory / quiet garden area for children and staff which will require us to seek funding if available or possible fundraising events. We are organising a variety of different wellbeing events that will be drawing on parents’ expertise. We are going to roll out wellbeing ideas to parents as partners through the use of social media.
Anna Bowden – Head of School & Lesley Woods – Middle Leader