Positive Mental Health is an important focus for our students at Endeavour Academy. Through a fully trained and experienced Intervention Team, we provide opportunities for our students to communicate their feelings and work through any barriers to learning through a range of targeted and embedded interventions. These sessions can be delivered 1:1, pairs, small groups or as a whole class.
We have a whole School approach using the Emotional Literacy Programme Zones of Regulation. Through this programme, students develop a better understanding of self-regulation by identifying their emotions and applying strategies to enable them to self- regulate. Resource posters to support are clearly displayed throughout the school, and all staff have received training to support students.
Intervention is allocated based on the provision outlined in each student’s EHCP, as well as by a referral system to the SENCO and School Counsellor. Class based intervention is also available within our curriculum offering opportunities with communication, movement breaks and sensory strategies and support.
Endeavour Academy also has Speech and Language Support (please see individual tab) and a visiting Occupational Therapist who provides advice, individual and class based support for our students. Support from these services is provided based on each student’s EHCP provision as well as referrals from staff members.
Drawing and Talking
Drawing and Talking is a safe, easy to learn method of working with students to help with underlying emotional difficulties that may be affecting their learning and behaviour. The core of the method is encouraging the student to draw with a person with whom they feel comfortable, regularly, at the same time each week, and this person asking some non-intrusive questions about the pupil’s drawings. Over time, a symbolic resolution is found to old conflicts, old trauma is healed, and the student is more able to control their behaviour and better able to access the curriculum.
Working with the student’s inner world needs to be carried out safely and non-intrusively, with respect for the student’s own pace and state of being. Anyone using Drawing and Talking learns to stay in the world of the student’s drawing. The student sets the pace and decides what to bring to the session. Often, in a first session, a student will produce a very neutral drawing, something in the room or the view from a window. Once they feel safe, their imagination begins to unfold.
Comic Strip Conversations
Comic Strip Conversations are a communication tool to illustrate and simplify conversations with simple drawings. The idea was developed by Speech and Language Therapist, Carol Gray.
It is an effective tool for parents and professionals working with students with ASD, social communication difficulties and other developmental disabilities with emphasis placed on what people may be thinking and can help the student to “read between the lines” in order to:
- take the perspective of others
- follow the quick exchange of information in a conversation
- tune in to what they missed
To do this, Comic Strip Conversations use simple drawings and symbols with colour used for emotions of statements, thoughts and questions. It can be used alongside Social Stories or independently.
Evidence shows that visualisation and visual supports help students with ASD and social communication difficulties.
Social stories are a short story written in a specific style and format that describes what happens in a specific social situation. It details what might be expected from the situation and what might be expected of the student, as well as how their actions/ behaviour may be perceived. They focus on one specific area of concern and address this in a positive manner.
It helps the student understand what to do and when and describes what may not be ‘obvious’ to those with impaired social understanding.
Social Stories are evidence-based and developed alongside the child and family where possible to ensure generalisation. For optimum results they are repeated regularly and used when the child is calm and receptive. Social Stories are Individual, relevant and unique to the person taking into account their language needs.
Mental health problems affect around one in four people nationally and our school is developing a whole school approach to mental health and wellbeing. Our focus highlights the need to be aware of the signs and symptoms of poor mental health and how it affects thinking and behaviour. Mental health issues include issues such as depression, anxiety, bipolar, eating disorders and self-harming feelings. Our counselling service offers the space to explore these feelings to get a greater understanding of what can often feel unmanageable. Students can seek advice and support from the school counsellor.
The School offers students weekly therapy sessions with an experienced and qualified counsellor. The sessions are specific to the needs of the students who are experiencing emotional difficulties that are affecting or impacting on their personal lives at home or academically in school. We recognise that our students need to develop coping skills to manage a variety of stressful experiences. Our counselling provides an opportunity for students to clarify and understand the things that may be concerning them in a safe space that aids student’s emotional wellbeing and learning. Counselling is accessed during the school day on wednesday, Thursday and Friday at Endeavour Academy via a referral form emailed to the Counsellor and SENCO.
Critical Thinking Skills
The ‘CTS’ Programme aims to provide students a creative opportunity to work one to one with staff and reflect on their experiences in a structured way. It is intended to help develop a higher level of self-awareness and awareness of others. Students can self-refer to the critical thinking skills programme by speaking to any member of staff. Staff can also refer students onto the programme via a referral form and a member of the support team will engage with the student.
Well-being Check ins and Learning Conversations
Our counsellor has a physical presence around the school and engages with students throughout their day to guide them in conversations that could help them make the right decisions around the school, especially when they are out of the classroom and not engaged in the learning experience. The conversations help students to follow the ethos and boundaries of the school and build relationships with their peers and staff. This draws upon psychological theories and coaching practices. Learning conversations happen throughout the day as a way of checking-in and checking-out with students.
The staff at Endeavour Academy who deliver the iHeart programme have had individual training within their thought process, the impact of thoughts on how to build natural resilience and improved mental health and wellbeing. Students are able to approach these members of staff for support.
This specialist programme which educates young people about their natural resilience, innate health and mental health is being taught in 1:1 settings and in class. Students are able to develop confidence in self, improved self-regulation in thoughts and emotional wellbeing.
Communication & Language through Art
Using skills learnt from the Advanced Drawing & Talking Course, trained members of the Intervention Team deliver this as a group intervention exploring emotions, feelings, team building and creative skills.
This is not a direct therapy session but more a way for students to build upon peer relationships within their class group. These sessions are effectively used to support students after a disrupted education following Covid 19 Lockdowns.
The Dog Mentor Programme has built upon the benefits of the human-animal bond by providing children positive experiences with dogs that can help them educationally, developmentally, emotionally and socially.
We have 3 Therapy dogs at Endeavour who have completed The Dog Mentor programme successfully: Walt, Reggie and Teddy. Our dogs are available for both Staff and Students to book on a daily basis to provide support in classrooms and in 1:1 situations. Our students enjoy spending time with our Therapy Dogs throughout the school day including playtimes and lunchtimes.