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Our Approach

#931 Wellbeing Workshops – Westbourne Academy

Carolyn Gallacher

What did we do?

I took on the role of LBL (Learning Behavior Lead), and attended a lot of online training based on the EEF guidance and 5 pillars of Learning Behaviors framework. The was a selection of Pillars included in this training, which included: meta cognition, social and emotional learning, improving behavior in schools, SEND in mainstream schools, parental engagement, putting evidence to work, process evaluation and impact evaluation.

I researched through observations, and discussing with staff and pupils themselves that the Social and Emotional pillar was the one that I needed to impact on at this time, especially due to Covid and the now year 7’s having not completed a normal transition. I looked at a lot of possibilities and activities that could help and selected the most appropriate approach. I decided from discussing with the SENCO and the TA Network co-coordinator A.Jo, as well as a variation of other staff that year 7 would be the ideal group to introduce this intervention to, as they have the most need in that department as a year group. They need a lot of nurture and there are a huge range of them that struggle with dealing with their emotions, and expressing themselves, as well as being aware of any strategies’ they could use.

As a team we put on a workshop day that ran for two days, one half of year 7 one day, the other half the next day. It consisted on four 1-hour workshops on a rota over the day. It covered well-being for year 7, and over 200 students took part. The topics were; steps to well being wisdom, dreams and goals, emotional literacy and expressing emotions, and outdoor learning (gardening in a classroom) I used a lot of in-house staff, and utilized their skills. We only had one workshop that was an external, and that was theatrical company- OpenView. These workshops were also beneficial beyond the school day, as they could learn to use some of these strategies at home, or when with friends.


“The most important thing I’ve learned from this is to communicate a lot better than I would have done.”

A quote from one of our students.

Summary of impact

This was beneficial as the year 7’s had not had transition period because of Covid, and their journey into school had been more isolated. Their emotional well-being needed more nurturing and help to give them guidance with their feelings and mindset.

The workshops ran well, and the rota approach was a success. The feed back from the survey, students themselves and staff was positive. More students have introduced gardening into their outside interests, and they can use colours to express their emotions as well as talk about their aspirations more now. The workshops lifted the mood of the students.

The staff to found this beneficial, and enjoyable interacting with the students in a more relaxed setting, and also on occasion being able to lesson plan, as sometimes they weren’t needed. It was value time for them also.

I have had staff inform me of positive feed back from students in their classes and form groups from the wellbeing sessions.

I did a before and after survey to show impact, and there was a rise from 75% in the first survey to 90% in the second survey on their improvement and understanding of what well-being is. Also, there was a rise from 37% to 45% on understanding self-esteem and how to improve it.

The question asked at the end of the survey: Did the wellbeing days help to support your wellbeing?

  • 47% YES
  • 43% MAYBE
  • 10% NO


As this shows, there was a positive outcome A lot of staff and students have mentioned it would be a great idea to implement this every year, and maybe with different yea groups, or on transition days for the year 6 students.

Steps taken

Having worked at the school for 14 years, it was clear to see from talking to staff and observing students of that year group, that doing a project that could be implemented over a large group of students that would help lift their mind set, and encourage helping to support their emotional wellbeing was needed.

I researched on line ideas, and looked into OpenView, as they had very positive feedback and offered the right amount of understanding and nurture in their workshops. It then became apparent to me that them attending a 1-hour workshop might not have enough impact on its own, so I decided to make them into workshop days to help reinforce the impact more.

It was clear I needed to make sure it was the correct people delivering these workshops, who would have the right empathy and patience, as well as the positive and approachable nature to deliver the skills they had. I knew the ideal people were in house. Our support staff are passionate and fantastic at the specialty they offer, plus they know the school and the students. It was their time to shine as a team, and show the impact as well as the amazing relationships they have with these students, reinforcing good positive adult role models. I know how much they care, and I knew this would come across to the year 7 students and how beneficial it would be for them.

I spoke to staff that I thought would be interested and who are very skilled at their job, they are all from the support SEND team. We have skilled support staff who run Draw and Talk, Speech and Language, ELSA, Outdoor learning, and experienced HLTA’s and TA’S who know a lot of the year 7 very well. We all agreed on topics that each would cover, and I budgeted £250 to each of them for their resources. I arranged booking out classrooms, and changing timetables, as well as letters home for parents and the informing attendance. This was also beneficial for flagging up any student that had gone under the radar and needed extra support made aware of.

Each session I asked the teacher that would normally be teaching that class to attend to manage any issues, so the SEND team could just get on with delivering the workshops. They were there in case of behavior, or needing a quick word outside the door as well as if there was any illness to deal with. Some managed to lesson plan as the students were engaging and working well with the support teams, others interacted with the students and managed to spend time with them in a different setting. I wanted it to be clear though they were not TA’S today and running after teachers, it was a role reversal for these sessions, they were demonstrating their skills effectively, and the teachers were there to sort issues so they could focus and get on more effectively with running the sessions.

We ordered in lots of little indoor garden trays, peat, plants, stones etc, for them to work in teams to design an indoor garden tray then put it together. These were displayed in the school garden. We also ordered in stencils stickers, and stamps with lots of coloured pens for the dreams and goals workshops. They used the idea of PATH to express their work.

In the Emotional literacy the helped learn new vocabulary when talking about feelings, and made expression rainbows where they related colors to a feeling. This gave them a practical element to make it more enjoyable and help discussion.

The idea of the workshops was to help support them in dealing with emotional expression and improving their mindset.

Open -view used role play, small group activities, discussion and theater to help with expressing scenarios’ they showed a short film about a young boy called Jacob who was feeling stressed and showed them ways they could manage these symptoms and strategies they could use.

I managed the safeguarding aspect also by making sure the registers where completed correctly and logged straight away for each session.

I monitored behavior, and spoke to any students removed outside the classrooms. Only one student was removed from the workshop for behavior. I helped to issue praise and encouragement, and monitor the overall activities for the day. This included labeling rooms, over seeing them to the correct ones, and organizing line up’s at break and lunch to escort them in to stop any chaos and crowd manage. This helped the children with anxiety to feel more reassured.

What would we do differently

I would only use in house staff as this came back with the best results from the student’s survey and feedback from staff conversations with students. It showed me you don’t always need to have external professionals in to do these workshops, as the in-house staff are very experienced and know the kids the best. This gave more positive results, because of the bonds they already have and the recognition of the staff additionally it also saves money. It proved you don’t have to spend a fortune to get results. You just need passion, patience, boundaries, experienced skills and a positive and empathetic attitude.


This event took 9 support staff, and myself to run the sessions, as well as in this case the one lady from the external workshop. I asked that a member of SLT do a walk around every now and again for support for the staff running the workshops. The cost of the workshops was £250 for each in- house team (x3 team= total = £750) and the cost of OpenView education was £926.50.

It cost around £1,700 for both days in this case, but if I was to help organise this again I would not have the external organisation which would save over £900 to be able to run other workshop events and it be cost effective, yet still as strong impact for the students.

Resources required

Each staff team needed a two-hour planning session time, The HLTA was great at helping to arrange this and juggle the time tables, also another hour to sort resources once they were delivered. Most resources came from Amazon. THE TA Network Co-Coordinator helped sort this, her input has been very helpful, especially her reassurance to the TA’s. I had help from the executive administrator, with booking rooms, sorting list registers, and sending my parental communications. She was also helpful when needing to know certain protocols for this intervention. Admin to help with any queries, and helping logging paper registers on time onto the system. SENCO for giving permission to take TA’s off time table and constantly backing my decisions and offering advice. She was fantastic. I’m very lucky to have a SENCO M. AB that allows me to try out ideas. SLT/ principle for agreeing to the days. LBL training activity knowledge helped identify what aspects to cover, and A. Jo who runs the TA networks support.

See how others have implemented this Big Idea

Sensory Circuits - St Marys Catholic Primary Ipswich

Supporting Behaviour and SEMH to reintegrate into the classroom - Grange Primary School

Identifying Emotions and Managing Self-Regulation - St Joseph's Catholic Primary

Maths Interventions for Inclusion and SEND - The Willows Primary

Ready to Learn - The Beeches Primary

Philosophy Sessions - Harwich Community Primary School & Nursery

Supporting anxiety in children and parents - Spring Meadow Primary School

Securing Engagement Through SEL - Clifford Road Primary

Securing Engagement - Spring Meadow Primary

The Learning Behaviour Lead role - Ravenswood Primary School

Putting EEF "Learning Behaviours" guidance into action - Halifax Primary School

Securing Engagement - Alton Park Junior School

Removing the literacy barrier to learning - Clacton County High School

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

Improving learner confidence in handwriting and spelling - Clacton Coastal Academy

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


Westbourne Academy

Carolyn Gallacher