At Alfriston School, we provide a holistic approach to education, considering each pupil’s social and emotional needs and general wellbeing. Through this approach, we provide daily support, as well as long term universal and targeted interventions.
Our whole school approach to supporting our pupils’ wellbeing includes providing a tailored social and emotional skills curriculum delivered in small groups, which helps promote self-esteem and confidence. In addition, pupils requiring further support receive this in the form of 1:1 or small group interventions, which can be either short or long term. The wellbeing department specialises in supporting an array of needs including, but not limited to, anxiety, self-esteem, resilience, anger, social and friendship difficulties and low mood. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) is rooted within each intervention and lesson, aiming to provide pupils with the skills to support themselves in times of challenge or difficulties as young adults. Alongside our approach for pupils, parenting workshops and courses are available to our families and provide advice about home environments where challenges caring for a child with SEN may arise. Lastly, we offer an array of activities for pupils during the school holidays, including cooking and swimming. These experiences help pupils socialise and see their friends in an environment with which they are familiar.
In addition to this targeted approach, the Wellbeing Team offer daily support to pupils in the form of someone to talk to, to help them problem solve and think through situations, and develop resilience. The team also support parents with concerns and enquiries, and maintain effective and regular communication with outside agencies also working with the family.
The Social and Emotional Curriculum
The Social and Emotional Curriculum delivered at Alfriston School is monitored and reviewed by Miss Gray, Head of Wellbeing and currently includes topics such as:
- Things I find hard
- Setting Targets
- Understanding my Emotions
- Being in Charge of my Emotions
- Point of View
- How to Sort out Problems
These sessions aim to help pupils develop their skills in managing emotions and interactions with others. The sessions are delivered in small groups (no more than six pupils) and include group work and discussion. Each session focuses on collaboration between the teacher and pupils and building group cohesion. In the same way as our targeted and universal interventions, the social skills curriculum includes CBT concepts. Across the two-year curriculum, pupils receive an assessment to help evaluate pupil progress in line with our learning for living criteria.
Occupational Therapy enables pupils to thrive and achieve their full potential. This is done by providing practical support to empower and facilitate the pupils to overcome the barriers that prevent them from fully participating in school life. In turn, this helps to increase the pupils independence and satisfaction in all aspects of life.
At Alfriston School, the Occupational Therapist is onsite 3 days per week and is supported by an Occupational Therapy Assistant and 3 Intervention Assistants who have been trained by the Occupational Therapist in how to best support pupils from an Occupational Therapy perspective.
All pupils have an assessment when they join the school to ascertain their strengths and difficulties. Recommendations regarding input are then made to help the pupils work towards overcoming any barriers identified and in line with their EHCP goals.
Therapy input available from Occupational Therapy at Alfriston School
Universal: Occupational Therapy interventions are integrated into the curriculum with the teaching staff using a range of strategies in lessons and an awareness of each pupils needs. This includes the use of specialist equipment in classrooms, individual programs of activities for identified pupils to complete in pastoral sessions. In addition, both Year 7 and Post-16 receive Occupational Therapy directly, via specific Occupational Therapist led lessons.
Targeted: A range of groups are available to aid pupils in building their skills for life. Pupils are provided with the opportunity to learn and practise skills in a small group environment with support from the therapy staff. Some of these are; shoelaces, zips, buttons, bra and cutlery skills. These groups are for pupils who have difficulties on their initial Occupational Therapy assessment or by teaching staff completing an internal referral. Each pupil is assessed prior to participating in these groups to ensure they are appropriate and ascertain a relevant goal whilst they are attending.
Specific: Where appropriate, pupils can be seen on one to one basis to work on a specific goal or functional skill. This allows for a more tailored approach.