PASTORAL

We regard Pastoral Care as an integral feature of a pupil's education at Sandwell Valley School.

We hope that the resources will help to facilitate conversations at home and at school about issues that can be difficult to talk about. Many barriers exist which prevent meaningful and worthwhile conversation with our young people: maybe we do not understand the technology that they are using, perhaps we have different concerns to them, or maybe we just do not make enough time in our day for a conversation to happen.

Our Pastoral Team and Form Tutors work hard to support the pupils in all manner of ways in order that they are able to enjoy their school life, make the most of their time at SVS and achieve their potential.

 

Mental Health and wellbeing

 

Mental Health and wellbeing is one of the biggest growth areas of concern in schools and, of course, this has been exacerbated by the pandemic and the multiple lockdowns that we have now had to face. This is an area that we address in school through PSHE lessons. At its most basic level, our advice to pupils often centres on consideration of the following key components:

  •  Sleep

  •  Nutrition

  •  Exercise

  •  Socialising

  •  Contributing

 

The lockdown has had, and is likely to continue to have, a detrimental impact on some or all of these areas for many people and so it is very important for pupils (and indeed all of us) to learn ways of managing and coping and hopefully even thriving. Resilience is frequently referred to in schools, although it is hard to define exactly. We tend to regard it as the ability to respond positively to change; and it can be developed. The internet is awash with mental health and wellbeing sites and advice, so the following list is by no means exhaustive. However, it is a good place to start looking for support and beginning to have healthy conversations about wellbeing at home.

The main avenue of support outside of school that we are signposting towards is Kooth. It has links to urgent support as well as general advice on mental wellbeing issues.

Many parents referred to children lacking in motivation and struggling with the lack of social contact during the first lockdown survey. We would advocate having a look at the following resources from Inner Drive:

The Parent's Lockdown Six Pack https://www.innerdrive.co.uk/Lockdown/parents-lockdown-six-pack1/mobile/index.html - a collection of blog posts including advice on sleep, smartphones and stress.

Mental Health Awareness for Parents (see attached) - focussing on socialising, working from home and mood.

Mental Health Awareness for Students (see attached) - focussing on resilience and support, fear of missing out and managing perfectionism.

Lockdown Learning for Pupils-https://www.innerdrive.co.uk/Lockdown/students-lockdown-six-pack-1/mobile/index.html - Advice on managing screentime, sleep and learning.

Each of the above resources offers further links to the research and other areas of interest.

Other sites and resources that we would recommend are as follows:

1.MindEd for Families - an e-learning platform funded by the Department of Health to support parents and carers when they are concerned about a young person's mental health.

2.Young Minds - this link to the parents' section has a lot of advice on supporting your child through the coronavirus pandemic.

3.Charlie Waller Memorial Trust (CWMT) - This organisation was set up to help equip young people to look after their mental wellbeing and spot signs of depression. The resource on self-harm is particularly good.

4.Time to Change - this link is to a useful list of different types of mental health conditions and how to access support for each of them.

 

Special Educational Needs and Disabilities

 

SEND stands for Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. This can affect a child's ability to learn and at Sandwell Valley School, like in all schools, we are keen to ensure that any additional need a pupil may have do not have a negative impact on their education. Whilst we have pupils with a range of additional needs, the most prevalent is Autistic Spectrum Disorder. We are able to cater for these needs by making reasonable adjustments to our teaching and learning and the outcomes for these pupils over time have been very positive.

Below you will find a range of resources that may be helpful if your child has a special educational need or disability, or if you suspect they might. If you have concerns, please contact the school and speak, in the first instance to SEN Inclusion Support, Alistair MacCallum for advice.

The SEND Code of Practice is a comprehensive guide for schools and other organisations working with young people. It identifies four broad areas of need:

1. Communication and interaction

Where children and young people have speech, language and communication difficulties, which make it difficult for them to make sense of language or to understand how to communicate effectively and appropriately with others.

Children and young people with an Autistic Spectrum Disorder, including Asperger's Syndrome, are likely to have particular difficulties with social interaction.

2. Cognition and learning

Where children and young people learn at a slower pace than others their age, they may:

  •  have difficulty in understanding parts of the curriculum

  •  have difficulties with organisation and memory skills

  •  have a specific difficulty affecting one particular part of their learning such as in literacy or numeracy

The term 'learning difficulties' covers a wide range of needs, including moderate learning difficulties (MLD), severe learning difficulties (SLD) and profound and multiple difficulties (PMLD). Specific learning difficulties (SpLD) such as dyslexia, dyspraxia and dyscalculia come under this term.

 

3. Social, emotional and mental health difficulties

Children and young people may experience a wide range of social and emotional difficulties, which present themselves in many ways. They may:

 

  • have difficulty in managing their relationships with other people

  • be withdrawn

  • behave in ways that may hinder their and other children's learning or that have an impact on their health and wellbeing

 

This broad area includes attention deficit disorder (ADD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or attachment disorder. It also includes behaviours that may reflect underlying mental health difficulties such as anxiety, depression, self-harming and eating disorders.

 

4. Sensory and/or physical needs

Where children and young people have visual and/or hearing impairments, or a physical need that means they must have additional on-going support and equipment.

The following links provide additional guidance and advice:

1.Department for Education Guidance on SEND - This provides an overview of the sort of support that may be available.

2.DfE Guide for Parents and Carers - This includes links to many organisations offering support for a range of needs.

3.Sandwell Local Offer https://fis.sandwell.gov.uk/kb5/sandwell/directory/advice.page?id=ighIb1zDi8E-This offers a complete map of provision of support for young people with SEND.

4.National Autistic Society - This links to a guide to education, with sections on exams, homework and school refusal.

5.Autism Education Trust - This contains advice on working with your child's school in order to achieve the best outcomes.

6.The Dyspraxia Foundation - Dyspraxia is a condition affecting fine and/or gross motor coordination. This site offers links to support and advice.

7.The Good Schools Guide - This links to a comprehensive list of the most common types of SEN and the advice and support available.

 

Free School Meals and Travel Assistance

Many families in Sandwell are eligible for free school meals for their children but do not claim for them.

Sandwell Council can do a quick online eligibility check if you want to apply. You can pick up a free school meals eligibility form at the RSA Academy reception desk and once completed return it to the academy.

If you prefer, you can apply online by clicking the link below:

https://www.sandwell.gov.uk/forms/form/16/free_school_meals

Not only will your child receive a free healthy nutritious meal but you may also be entitled to help with the cost of:

  • Residential school trips/school activities

  • Home to School Travel

 

If you need further support over the holidays you may find the following link helpful: Sandwell Council's emergency number is 0121 569 2266 and Sandwell Coronavirus_Advice  https://www.sandwell.gov.uk/info/200354/coronavirus_advice

Mentoring Support

A team of mentors support individual students carrying out one-to-one reviews to identify barriers which may prevent students from progressing. Mentors are trained to apply specific support measures to overcome areas of difficulty.
A Life Coach is available for staff and students to participate in one to one therapy sessions. 

School Health Support

There is a school nursing service, offering a fortnightly drop in facility for students. Additional training sessions are held for students and staff with the overall aim to improve health and well-being.

Careers Advice and Support

A Careers Advisor attends the school one day per week to assist students with career planning and secure progression routes. The school offers students the opportunity to attend weekly work placements.