Greenfields Primary School

How did you become involved?

I first met the HeadStart leads from Greenfields Primary Academy in November 2018.

The school’s story

The school is very much focused on their community and does a lot to support parents and the wider social community. They have an established community café that is run by parents. They hold workshops for parents and give support for individual parents.

They have a safe space room currently used intermittently, for young people who need some individual 1:1 support, but the Resilience team wanted to develop this into a more accessible space, and also to use some of their vast outdoor areas to build a garden area where plants and vegetables could be grown, a disco playground where dancing and music can be enjoyed and a ‘chill-out’ area with self-built seating areas and cushions. The school staff have been really enthusiastic to engage with the HeadStart project and been creative with their ideas.

The school wish to create a more young person-friendly space, decorations and sensory activities. The school has a very large outdoor area and want to make the most of different spaces.

The school have sourced resources and equipment, and the children have been building and painting crates for the garden area, moving tyres and also involved in the planting and growing of vegetables.

The Resilience team have created a folder for the development and implementation of their safe spaces. They have sourced ideas for materials to use, and how to decorate the areas using clippings from magazines. They want to create an L-shaped seating area all out of second-hand wooden crates, get the children to paint and decorate the area, and then make cushions and seating areas. For the disco dance floor, there are ideas for painting the floor like a dance floor, buying a school karaoke sound speaker, and then decorate the area by hanging a disco ball and cd’s from the tree branches.

They will be using some of their HSK funding to develop these different areas, and are currently waiting to receive this funding in order to move the projects forward. They may also apply for some Pay It Forward Grants in order to give the young people more of a project to become involved in.

The school’s resilience lead, Wendy Ball has been very supportive and accommodating of the project; hosting all workshops and training for all Maidstone primary schools.

Wendy and her resilience team have worked really collaboratively together with HeadStart and taken full advantage of the opportunities available.

What concerns did the school have?

Being able to complete the action plan and resilience toolkit properly. Concerns over the commissioned services being offered and how they could access them effectively. When they would receive their funding to develop their safe spaces.

How did you address the concerns?

Consistent contact, offering individual as well as group support, being open and honest, whilst supporting the school and helping them to see how they could deliver the programme to fit in with their school, and what they could do to develop further. Helping the school to work alongside other HeadStart Primary schools during workshops which helped them to maximise the ideas and opportunities for their students.

What were the challenges?

Completing the action plan. Accessing training when they could be released to attend. Not being able to access some of the services as frequently as they would have liked.

How did you address them?

Worked closely with the school and resilience team directly, to inform and support them so they felt confident to work through the resilience toolkit. Keeping all schools up to date regularly with training and commissioning services.

What were the successes?

  • Creativity and enthusiasm in creating new safe spaces.
  • Trained the school in receiving DI emails.
  • Supported the lead through the resilience toolkit, and full attendance at workshops.
  • Uptake of training offered.
  • Enthusiasm of the Resilience lead and focus on improving resilience and emotional wellbeing within the school community.
  • General relationship with the school has been a success in terms of answering any queries and communicating with them.

What actions did you take to ensure sustainability?

Ensured the school was aware of further staff training opportunities, which they took full use of.

The school had great plans for creating lots of areas of wellbeing within the school – both inside and out. They were informed of their grant funding, but also how they could utilise other grants to create student-led projects that could further develop these ideas.