Support for Service Children and their Families
Our Family Support Worker is Michelle Pelling who is here to assist our Inclusion Manager – Jackie Udale in supporting families with any questions, issues or problems they might have. Currently 71% of our pupils are from a Service Family, this means that nearly ¾ of our pupils know exactly how a new Service child is feeling and are welcoming and friendly.
The main role of the Family Support Worker is to provide support to pupils and families in periods of transition (moving in and out of Tidworth), deployment and during other times of need or worry. She runs parenting courses to help with routines and behaviour and can give friendly advice on a wide range of issues. She holds regular coffee mornings for our parents and to help those new to the area to meet new friends.
Support is provided for all of our new Service Children within their classrooms, this involves providing a buddy who knows how they are feeling and will help them to settle into their new environment. In addition, most of our Teaching Assistants have military connections and are either currently, or have previously been, a member of a service family which means they can empathise with how the children are feeling.
Support is also provided by our ELSA (Emotional Literacy Support Assistant) – Mrs Clark to share any thoughts or worries when moving to Zouch or on to a new school. Mrs Clark has lots of activities and resources that support a wide range of worries and concerns.
During their time at our school pupils may also access the ELSA concerning a variety of issues including social skills, dealing with emotions, bereavement, social stories and therapeutic stories, anger management, self-esteem and friendship. Mrs Clark works in ‘The Zone’ with children throughout the school in small groups or on a 1:1 basis. She also runs a Bluey Club to support those children who have a family member away from home due to deployment or training. This is a very sociable lunchtime club where children can write or draw a picture to send on a bluey to their parent, they can also share their thoughts and feelings with other pupils in the same situation.
The NSPCC Lunchtime club is run by two Children’s Services Practitioners every Monday in Zany Zebra’s – they cover a full programme of issues that affect Service children including: managing worries, who can you talk to, separation, managing feelings, moving & changing homes and schools, making friends or to just go and get off their chest all the things that other (civilian) children don’t have to deal with, they understand what it is like and give them space which is sometimes all they need.
Coming in Spring 2017 – Reading Force
When Service family members are away from home it can be hard to keep everyone in touch. By using a book as common ground and something to talk about, and contributing to a free scrapbook, Reading Force boosts communication and literacy whilst promoting closer family bonds. Look out for your free scrapbook and take part.
Our aim is that the children have positive, enjoyable and lasting memories from their time at Zouch to remember throughout their lives.