"Achievement for All and Gloucestershire Virtual school have been working in partnership for many years to improve the outcomes of children in care. The Achieving Wellbeing CLA programme is a very welcome development to the provisions and programmes available to support schools and settings. We have had favourable feedback from our schools on the programme who have praised the Achievement for All coaches for their input and expertise. Having time to reflect and look at how school improvement strategies can be further developed for this vulnerable cohort is vital for schools and settings. The Bubble provides the additional materials that schools can use when they need to investigate further.
Achievement for All are great to work with, easy to approach and discuss progress of the programme of the individual schools. Prior to setting up the programme, Achievement for All took the time to meet with the Gloucestershire VSH to understand the context of each school , so that the coach was aware and the offer was personalised. This ensures that the programme will have maximum impact for the school and ultimately the children that need this additional support to help them thrive in their learning."
- Jane Featherstone, Virtual School Head Gloucestershire
"With the rising needs in mental health it is important to create a positive culture and climate in school around this agenda to support students on a range of levels; individually through our excellent pastoral team and residential Psychotherapist, in small group work through bespoke courses tailored to the needs of the students and most recently with the development of our work with Achievement for All.
Through this programme we are drilling down into the barriers for learning that our most vulnerable students have and developing strategies for how we can best support them both in and out of the classroom. By providing a more detailed overview on students through our pupil passports we aim to provide colleagues with information that will enable route one learning to take place in the classroom. We are also developing our strategies to better engage carers, working together to fully understand individually thereby reducing barriers and changing behaviours enabling the individual to grow and reach their potential. The Achievement for All Programme is providing opportunities for us to challenge our thinking and structures and make a difference for these students."
- Diane Murphy, Assistant Head Teacher, The Duchess’s Community High School Northumberland
" Schools are now the front line triage service for the increasingly complex mental health needs of pupils and in many cases families. At a time when society and communities are awakening to the importance/impact of mental health, with the additional demands such new knowledge brings in terms of unanswered questions and seeking of support, school staff in all positions need to have the skills and training to develop, implement and maintain a culture and climate of positive mental health. This is a challenge both in terms of the daily practice of individual school staff but also for school leadership who need to support staff well being in achieving the desired outcomes for the whole school community.
In relation to many of our most vulnerable children such as those in the care system, this rise in demand for mental health support has impacted on the ability of schools to deliver sustainable support, as unlike with the rise in demand, any increase in training and resources to meet the needs has not been comparative. As a result, the only approach that is manageable and effective in my opinion is that of a whole school approach, based on common principles, language, expectations and accountability.
Working with Achievement for All has enabled St Mary's to develop and implement an enhanced structure, working across the whole school community from TA's to governors, enabling myself as a head teacher to build on previous work to develop opportunities for emotional well-being with a justification that is evidence based, but recognises the importance and uniqueness of place. The impact of such an approach is already visible in outcomes for children (high attendance, progress, attainment but most importantly increasingly smiling and keen to engage in supportive but challenging relationships). It is also seen throughout the school through staff moral and practice, as the work with Achievement for All has opened new channels of communication to both support practice and staff mental well-being."
- Gary Hilton, Headteacher Berwick St Mary's School, Northumberland
"At Corporate Parents' group last night we were discussing how vital it was to address the unmet trauma needs of our young people. AfC Virtual School is working with Achievement for All so that we can develop a culture of prevention rather than reaction with a view to improving engagement and outcomes. With a sometimes stretched Health service it is more important than ever that our schools are given the strategies and tools that will support vulnerable students in their care.
The new statutory requirements that underpin the work of Headteachers of Virtual Schools and our partners in schools have an increased focus on health and wellbeing. We hope that with coaching and support from Achievement for All we will create 'Beacons of Excellence' in the schools on the programme so that they can become catalysts for change in our school communities."
- Suzanne Parrott, Virtual School Head at Achieving for Children
"For children who have come from homes of violence, neglect and exploitation the inevitable impact on their mental health can create deep barriers to developing relationships and accessing education. For these children, school is often their only safe and consistent environment. It is vital that all members of the school community understand how to identify and support mental health issues in these vulnerable children so that they are able to thrive and achieve in all areas of their lives. The Achieving Wellbeing CLA programme aims to develop a whole school awareness of mental health and how children in care are much more vulnerable to suffering from mental health conditions. The program supports schools to develop tools to ensure these children have the best outcomes possible."
- Emily Bere, SENCo and Designated Safeguarding Lead, Lowther Primary School, London
"Northumberland's Virtual School wants all looked after pupils to Learn, Achieve the very best they can and then Celebrate as they progress into further education, training and employment. They can only do this if there are few disruptions along the way and that means enjoying good mental health when they are in school. Northumberland is a Trailblazer for the development of mental health support teams in schools, and we work with partners like Achievement for All to promote learning environments with a culture of positive mental health which deepens the understanding of teachers about how looked after children's needs can be met so that they can truly succeed."
- Jane Walker, Virtual School Head Northumberland
“The programme has been a great support in transforming our school culture, especially in terms of identifying and planning for the needs of vulnerable learners such as CLA. My Achievement Coach has supported me as I stepped up to Senior Leadership and offers a valuable external perspective on our provision and systems, helping me to evaluate both when change is needed and where our existing strengths are. Being an Achievement for All school has really benefited our students as we have been able to establish a mentoring programme so that vulnerable young people have a named staff member listening to and advocating for them. In addition, I have had access to new CPD opportunities such as the Croydon DT hub where good practice is shared. This helped me bring new ideas back to school and increase opportunities for our young people.”
– Emily England, Acting Assistant Headteacher: Safeguarding, Inclusion and Behaviour, Edenham High School