Kymin View Primary School is located on the border of Wales/England and has children from a wide catchment area. There is a variety of different Service families in the area, including those serving with the USA military. There is a small barracks in Monmouth housing the Royal Engineers and some Service families have settled in the area and the parent commutes for work, weekly or over longer periods. The school has worked with the local authority and local cluster schools to identify Service children in the area, by introducing an induction that includes opportunities for families to share this information during their admission to the school.
A Learning Support Assistant (LSA) at Kymin View Primary school also highlighted the needs of Service children to the school leadership, due to her experience of being an Armed Forces spouse and sharing her own understanding of Service family experiences, challenges and needs.
The school has had the experience of a Service personnel on the governing body, who highlighted the availability of the funding from the MOD and Welsh Government. Since then the school has taken the lead with cluster schools, identifying Service children, their needs and applying for funding to support emotional and well-being. The school introduced the identification of Service families through the induction programme, along with local cluster schools, Kymin View has continued to support Service families through successful bids over the last fe
Number of Service children at Kymin View Primary School and local cluster: 23 (2%)
Case study completed by: Leigh Gywther, LSA/Cluster Support MOD Monmouth
How does Kymin View Primary School and the local cluster support the emotional and wellbeing needs of the Service children at their schools?
1. Identifying the needs of Service children across the cluster
2. Additional staff
3. Mental health and wellbeing support and strategies
4. Measuring the impact
5. Links with the local community and the Armed Forces.
1. How do Kymin View Primary School and the cluster, identify the needs of Service children on entry?
- All schools in Monmouthshire and the local cluster ask the parents on admission, to identify if they fit any of the Service criteria, this is outlined on the admission documentation; the data is then logged on the school data programme
- We speak with parents during their child’s admission or visit to the school, we ask them about previous support/areas of concern and encourage good communication during their time at school
- We ensure that all staff are aware of the challenges that may arise and possible changes to behaviour that may support an identification of a need
- Allocated staff are highly trained in mental health and well-being support areas
- Observations of children are made during daily learning in the classroom and at play, by an allocated Learning Support Assistant (LSA), feedback is then given to the class teacher and support put in place if needed
- Assessments are undertaken for core subject areas E.g. Phonics/Mathematics and gaps are identified by the class teacher and actions taken
- Assessments are undertaken for social skills through an identified programme
- The Headteacher coordinates the timetable based on the number of service children in each cluster school
- The LSA is then timetabled to visit the schools and discuss the needs with the Headteacher, class teacher or Additional Learning Needs Coordinator (ALNCo). The programme is tailor made to meet the needs of the individual children. This often includes ‘reversed integration’ where non-Service children join the service child/ren to receive specific intervention to meet their needs emotionally, socially and academically
- Careful monitoring and assessment are carried out to ensure the children are making progress and identified gaps are being narrowed. For children with no academic gaps they receive booster sessions to extend their ability and thinking.
“They implement effective intervention strategies that have a positive impact on improving pupil outcomes and wellbeing.”
2. How does Kymin View Primary School use additional staff to support Service children’s needs?
- An allocated LSA supports Service children and has time to visit and support Service children across the cluster - funded by Welsh Goverment's funding
- An introductory session with the Service children’s LSA is undertaken with a ‘get to know you’ session for the parents and children. The LSA is then used as the support person if they have worries or concerns
- An allocated staff member is trained in mental health and wellbeing strategies and is the regular contact for families and children, through good communication they build positive relationships
- The staff have appropriate mental health and well-being training and this is updated regularly E.g. ELSA/Thrive/Nurture/Lego Therapy.
3. What strategies and support does Kymin View Primary School use to impact on mental health and wellbeing?
- Drop ins and one to one/group sessions with an appropriately trained LSA
- Good communication and building of relationships across families and staff
- All staff are trained in understanding mental health and well-being needs, they are aware of the challenges Service children may face over time, new staff are inducted on the experiences and challenges of Service families and children
- We draw on Service children’s experiences and understand their needs. Ensuring that we are sensitive with some subject areas E.g. Learning about topics linked to the war in history
- The Talkabout programme is used to identify children’s needs with social skills and emotions through activities from the resources, these are adapted to suit the needs of the child
- Activities are undertaken to support children talking about their feelings and emotions
- Thrive training is being undertaken; sessions will be available for children with dedicated staff
- A special room is being developed and available for support work, which is quiet to support work and activities with the children
- Lego therapy© has been developed to support children’s emotional needs, with packs of cards with patterns to make with bricks/developing vocabulary prompt cards E.g. colour/size/texture/children given different roles - architect/engineer/designer/builder
- Cognitive behavioural therapy strategies are used to support some children with anger, behaviour or emotional needs - Think Good, Feel Good, Paul Stallard - available on PDF online
- Draw and talk therapy is available
- Books that relate to Service families and children are available on loan from the library E.g. I Miss You - a military kids book about deployment, Mummy's home and The Invisible String.
4. How does Kymin View Primary School measure the impact of the support?
5. What links does Kymin View Primary have with the local community and the Armed Forces?
- The local school cluster supports the LSA role and the continued applications for funding
- We have an awareness of Armed Forces celebrations and events and these are highlighted and part of the school cluster celebration calendar across the year E.g. Remembrance Day, wreaths are laid by all schools annually
- A mug has been designed for the 100 years celebration of WW1 by the children through a competition - this was a tri-school competition
- We hold competitions and recently a poetry book with poems was created by the children to celebrate the centenary and has been published through the funding from the Covenant Grant
- The schools support charities linked to the Armed Forces in the local community
- We invite the local community Armed Forces veterans, to attend topic related assemblies and events in schools
- Parents, veterans, local Armed Forces community are invited to share experiences in talks and assemblies
- Support and collaboration with Emma Ashmead HMF Education Support Officer for Monmouthshire
- Networking with SSCE Cymru and attendance at Stakeholder Days
“All school staff are aware of my children’s needs, their emotions can appear at any time through the day and they are aware of what to do if an issue arises, reading the signs and understanding their emotions. My child has really gained in confidence with their learning, the school has given them time to adjust, build their confidence and develop their skills.’’
Date produced: December 2019