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Our Approach

#375 Zones of Regulation – Magdalen Gates Primary School

What did we do?

For our children at risk of exclusion, we are clear that the most important end goal is for them to be able to be in the classroom amongst their peers and able to manage the demands of that space in an age-appropriate way. For many of these children, the main barrier to this is that they struggle to regulate their emotions and feelings, which can lead to behavioural escalations. Often these take the forms of risky or unsafe behaviours.

The Zones of Regulation is a curriculum designed to help children understand and recognise their emotions and develop strategies to help them to self-regulate. It comprises a set of lessons run with a small group, followed by setting up “regulation stations” across the school. These are resourced stations including tools for regulating such as sensory games, mini-trampolines and similar. Finally, once the initial teaching stage is done, there is a need for an “available adult” to come and check in in times of need and to reinforce or re-teach strategies as necessary.



“I feel like I can make different choices when things go wrong.”

“I use the Little Miss Bossy voice [inner coaching] all the time.”

“If I spot when I am going into the yellow zone I can sometimes stop it before I go into the red.”

Summary of impact

Reduction in risky/disruptive behaviours for the target group of pupils. Internal monitoring and qualitative reflections from school staff show that this has certainly been the case for 7 out of 9 of our original cohort.

Development of a pathway for early intervention when children show similar concerning behaviours. This has been similarly well met, and we are now at the point where we will be rolling out the approach in a reduced format to all classes in the beginning of the next academic year to give us a shared language to draw upon.

Classrooms less disrupted, so better outcomes for all pupils. For those pupils for whom this approach has been effective, this has been met; for those who were not yet susceptible to this approach, the potential for disruption has remained. However, we view this as a net reduction.

Reduced need for 1:1 supervision (and therefore increased intervention capacity overall). We know that in the aftermath of the school lockdowns during the Covid 19 pandemic that certain children have presented with ongoing and serious need for extra support. In terms of SEMH need, at least 6 out of our cohort of 9 children presenting with this need show significant attachment need, which often needs intensive adults support. We are satisfied that we are beginning to see a reduction in this need overall, and that we are moving towards an approach of “right support at the right time”, rather than 1:1 support all the time.

Learning opportunities for staff which will ensure sustainability of approach for future need. As well as training individual members of staff in this approach, we have trained our whole teaching team, and have training booked in the autumn term to consolidate this.


Steps taken

When the opportunity was released, SLT spoke to all staff within the school and sought feedback on the idea of introducing Zones of Regulation as an approach that would be right for our school and the cohort we were aiming it at. We then attended a briefing on the opportunity to apply for funding which was very inciteful and included pointers on completing the application.

We researched the costings for the resources and CPD which together was almost 100 per cent of our application. We subsequently drafted out our application which was sense-checked by our allocated project manager as applying for funding in this way, incorporating the Theory of Change was something new for us.

After receiving a positive response from our final submission, we followed the timeline on our application, starting with carrying out Boxall Profiling for our children, preparing an intervention timetable and seeking parental consent. The resources were ordered, (predominantly through Amazon using a simple search for regulation resources ) and the regulation stations set up within the classrooms in the school. Involving families throughout was key to enable parents to use the same strategies at home for a consistent approach. Boxall profiles were re-visited and evaluations and lessons learned noted.

What would we do differently

The nature of this intervention changed greatly over implementation. We view this as a strength because we really adapted the intervention to the specific context of our school and in response to our pupils’ responses.

At present, the input for the intervention is done working 1:1 with individual pupils; a range of available adults around school will either check in regularly with children using the language of the zones or will be available in times of escalation to co-regulate, narrate and eventually de-escalate those children. This has been highly successful for most of the children with whom we have used the approach, and we have also found it to have applications for those children who struggle with other issues like anxiety or other mental ill health.

Every major milestone has been reached in the project, and we are now at the point of rolling this out more widely in school as well as sharing it with other schools. This has included running a workshop at the final NOA meeting, writing a “shopping list” of regulation resources for schools to choose from as part of a final NOA offer, and welcoming colleagues from other Norwich schools to learn from our lessons about the shape and pacing of this intervention and our plans for the future.



Initial training.

Zones of Regulation manual.

Sensory resources.

Curriculum support books.

Allocated time for an E grade staff member to work with SLT adapting the provision for specific children.

Sharing the approach with relevant families to ensure mirrored success.

Boxall profile tokens.

Resources to do something similar yourself

A suggested menu of regulation resources has been developed by a small group of NOA schools as an example of the types of resources that can be used to support this approach

Self Regulation: The Key to Classroom Success (

Mental Health Resource for Schools & Colleges (Anna Freud Centre)

School Sensory Rooms - a set up guide for Educators (

How To Create A Trauma And Attachment Aware Classroom. Podcast with Rebecca Brooks (

Zones of Regulation has a growing evidence base much of which is collected here:

The Beacon Schools website also has some accessible information that maybe valuable for schools that are interested in zones of regulation:

Strategies for Self-Regulation, Will Turnpenny

See how others have implemented this Big Idea

Development of therapeutic and vocational student support alternative provision – City Academy Norwich

At City Academy Norwich (CAN) we acknowledge that the mainstream environment is one that some students find particularly difficult and high-quality alternative provision (AP) is essential to addressing these difficulties.

Accelerated Learning Unit (ALU) - Norwich Secondary School

Development of Alternative Provision - Colman Federation


Norwich Opportunity Area Team
Magdalen Gates Primary School

Bull Close Road