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Our Approach

#931 Securing Engagement Through SEL – Clifford Road Primary

Helen Vince

What did we do?

Working with a network of Learning Behaviour Leads (LBL’s) across the Ipswich Opportunity Area, we attended a training programme based on the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) and the five pillars of “Learning Behaviour” framework. Here, the LBL journey began…

Once pupils with barriers to their learning had been identified; we worked to establish specific needs led interventions, resources and staff training. The Securing Engagement action plan was drafted, redrafted and redrafted again before a suitable working document was finalised; in part due to the fluidity of some of our pupils’ needs and circumstances. Following a range of baseline assessments delivery of the interventions and resources began.

“I feel like people take time to listen, this makes me happy.”

Pupil Feedback.

Summary of impact

Baseline assessments were carried out at the beginning of the project, using a range of tools such as pupil perception questionnaires, Thrive assessments and attendance data. Data was tracked throughout the project which enabled some interventions to be tweaked as we went. For example, we began using the P.H.O.E.B.E programme (raising self esteem) with a group of Year 6 girls, before moving to a friendship group. At the end of these interventions, we had a group of happy, more confident year 6 girls, who previously had measured themselves as “unhappy”. We have seen a reduction in play and lunch time incidents, lessons can begin without classroom staff supporting pupils to regulate and restore relationships.

Training was cascaded to staff through weekly emails, this was particularly well received as it could be read at a convenient time. Staff use a greater range of strategies within the classroom and feel confident to ask questions when they are unsure.

Data for one pupil shows a reduction in exclusions this year, he is beginning to use language to express how he is feeling and what he needs rather than fight or flight.

Steps taken

nitially emails were sent to teaching staff explaining the project and the role of the LBL, asking staff to consider any of their pupils for the project. I was keen to use pupils that weren’t necessarily “high profile”. The teacher responses enabled identification of 16 pupils, using the EEF framework and the 5 pillars of learning training I was able to establish appropriate interventions, resources and staff training. Following on from this planning for when, where and who took place. Planning for how to measure outcomes in the short term, medium and long term were set, these varied but generally were pupil perception questionnaires, Thrive assessments, attainment and attendance data. For example, Pupil J was identified as having needs in Social and Emotional Literacy (SEL) and SEND. To support the SEND needs a gym ball followed by a wobble stool was purchased. SEL needs were supported through daily Thrive check ins, weekly Thrive sessions and has had Lego therapy. This approach has led to the pupil being more motivated and engaged in learning, on his pupil perception questionnaire he is quoted as saying that he feels like school cares and he now enjoys learning.

What would we do differently

Time! more time put aside for the administration of the project, and talking to staff.

Keeping a weekly diary of interventions, outcomes and general thoughts have been crucial in planning next steps.


The £5,000 funds our resources for the interventions, as well as staff training and LBL planning, delivery and evaluation. Initially every Thursday was a “non contact day” unless delivery of interventions was taking place. As part of the funding we also accessed the Psychology and Therapeutic Services Team.


Resources required

Additional resources such as access to a computer to attend virtual training and networking were required but we already had them in place. We were also able to utilise time in the Thrive/sensory room which was already on site.

See how others have implemented this Big Idea

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Securing Engagement - Spring Meadow Primary

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Securing Engagement - Alton Park Junior School

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Wellbeing Workshops - Westbourne Academy

1-1 Support to Improve Engagement and Grades - One Sixth Form

Improving Behaviour with Projection Education - Trimley St Martin Primary School

Establishing a nurture space - The DEN at Trimley St Martin Primary School

The Inclusivity of EAL families within our School Community. - St Margaret's Primary School Ipswich

EAL Parental engagement at Northgate High School

Being a Learning Behaviour Lead - Ipswich Academy

Improving Handwriting - Clacton Coastal Academy

Reading and Phonics at Dale Hall

"Club Aspirations" improving self esteem and confidence at Rushmere Hall Primary

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Improving behaviour and engagement in a nurture group - Alton Park Junior School

Tackling lunchtime dysregulation and classroom focus - Castle Hill Primary School

Finding the right intervention to support engagement - Murrayfield Primary Academy


Clifford Road Primary School

Helen Vince

Assistant SENDCo