Wellbeing

We want every child to believe deep down that life is not something done to you but can be grasped and moulded into something meaningful.

Why wellbeing matters

A child whose well being is high has the social and emotional tools to combat the modern world with all its challenges, ambiguities and complexities. They have a ‘growth mindset’, are resilient in the face of setbacks and have found their own voice to communicate who they are and what they stand for.

Far too often, school well being provision is not adequate and is viewed as an addendum to an already overcrowded teacher timetable. Interventions tend to be reactive, responding to situations, rather than preventative, equipping young people with strategies to avoid or at least cope with negativity as and when it arises.

Furthermore, interventions tend to focus solely on the most vulnerable students, and as such many young people slip through the net. Empowerment is derived from a strong character; a combination of personal integrity, humanity towards others and a mindset of growth and excellence. School 21 has devised an innovative and impactful pedagogy and curriculum to develop these attributes.

We believe that well being can be taught by all teachers, not just external experts. Our approach, which combines a deep universal curricula and targeted support for the most vulnerable students with a whole-school language to support student well

being has been instrumental in ensuring that all students have a toolkit which not only maximises their emotional intelligence (knowledge of well being strategies) but supports their emotional fitness (ability to employ the strategies).

  • All students will be equipped with strategies which enable them to have authentic conversations with both themselves, their

  • peers, teachers and family and friends outside of school.

  • They will have a different way of thinking about the world which will enable them to cope and/or thrive in all contexts they find

  • themselves in.

  • All teachers will reinforce well being provision across the school. This will benefit their own well being with marked impact on

  • their performance and support of student learning and development.

  • The most at-risk students will be signposted for dedicated, targeted support before it’s too late.

Coaching: The 4 Strands

A character curriculum and teacher toolkit: During ‘coaching time’ themes are carefully sequenced and revisited for each year group. In Year 7, for example, humanity is explored through the novel Wonder (a story based around a child with facial disfigurement who attends school for the first time.) Coaches use teaching strategies such as philosophy for children (P4C) and Socratic seminars to explore issues exemplified in the text. Literacy techniques are woven in to support struggling readers. In Year 8, growth and excellence are explored as students write a 1500 word essay on an academic topic. They then have to deliver a 5 minute no-notes speech to peers and parents as part of an ‘expertise ignite.’ In Year 9 integrity is explored as children hold each other to account at the end of year through a rites of passage ceremony, attended by adults significant in their lives. The curriculum is supported by an interactive assembly programme.

A model for 1:1 coaching based on authentic conversations that gives all tutors the skills and language to deal with the hardest to reach students: Children develop their sense of integrity through being true to their

word. Our 1:1 coaching model allows children to establish who they are as they craft their ‘stand’. Coaches then hold them to account for their actions and words through ‘conversations for actions’. The 1:1 strand is suitable for all children, but we have also developed a more targeted version for children who are stuck in their progress or well being.

A diagnostic tool to assess character: Our assessment tool allows teachers to track the character of their group. Focused on where and how teachers can intervene, the tool is crucial for establishing the impact of our coaching

programme.

A teacher training programme that transforms teachers into coaches of character: All teachers who come to School 21 are expected not only to be subject experts and curriculum designers, but skilled coaches able to develop the integrity, humanity and growth of their coaching group (traditionally called a form group). This takes place over several hours of curriculum time and during 1:1 sessions. Our research based, practice-led teacher training model helps practitioners to become high-performing coaches in both these contexts.

The growth of every child

At School 21, we believe in developing a "growth mind-set" - a belief that effort and grit rather than innate intelligence is the route to success.

Our school is designed to help every child grow: as human beings, intellectually, in maturity and character. We believe that if a child feels well inside themselves they achieve more. 

Personal support through one to one coaching

Every member of staff is trained as a one-to-one coach, that means engaging children indivually in meaningful conversations where the child does 95% of the talking and the adult listens and asks simple probing questions. The philosophy behind this is to believe in the child, to understand that they can find solutions to their problems if given the right support to do so. 

 

Coaching time: one coach and 12 students in secondary, classes of 25 in primary

 

It is important for all children to have an adult who knows them well, who is there to support and encourage them. That is why everything at School 21 is on a human scale. In our Secondary school, students spend several hours a week with their coach in groups of 12 or 13 where they develop their well-being, their aspirations and their leadership skills. In Primary, class sizes of only 25 ensure that all children get the personal attention they deserve.

 

We have developed our unique well-being curriculum in a number of ways:

  • through our interactive assemblies

  • in coaching group time each day

  • through rich texts

  • in one to one coaching sessions

In years 7, 8 and 9 we will cover these areas of well-being in the curriculum.

1. STRENGTHS: What are my strengths and aspirations?

  • What am I good at? What can I become great at?​

  • Who inspires me? Whose example should I follow?

  • ​Where am I heading? How do I get there? 

  • ​What is a growth mind-set? Why does effort count for more than talent?

  • ​How do I find my voice and build my confidence and self-esteem?

  • ​What does it take to succeed?

2. KINDNESS: Am I kinder than is necessary?

  • What makes a good relationship / friendship? What are good examples of good friends?

  • What does kindness look like and feel like? What does unkindness look like and feel like?

  • What is oppression? What is it like to be a by-stander, an oppressor?

  • What is empathy? How can I learn to empathise?

3. SELF-CONTROL: How do I play the right card?

  • What is appropriate behaviour in different settings? 

  • ​How do I stop myself overreacting to situations? 

  • ​How do I deal with my emotions?

  • ​What archetypes have I played throughout my life? 

4. OPTIMISM: How do I remain optimistic and bounce back from setbacks?

  • What story do I tell myself?​

  • How do I cope better with setbacks?

  • How do I develop resilience?

5. LEARNING: How do I get “in the Zone”?

  • What does good learning look like?​

  • What are good learning habits?

  • How do I develop the right attitude to learning? How do I become an independent learner?​

  • How do I get rid of distractions?  How do I give 100% in every lesson? ​

  • How do I build my learning power? ​

  • What is flow? How do I immerse myself in activities?

6. PURPOSE: What are my values, what gives me my drive?

  • What do I care about? What do I value? ​

  • How do I lead a fulfilled and happy life? ​

  • How do I bring meaning and purpose to everything I do?​

  • What motivates me?

7. HUMOUR: How do I learn to enjoy life?

  • What is humour? What is comedy?​

  • How do I see the funny side of situations?​

  • What is sarcasm, irony?​

  • What makes me laugh? ​

  • What humour helps people? What humour hurts?

8. MINDFULNESS: What is physical well-being?

  • How do I feel good in my body?​

  • What makes me healthy?​

  • Why does exercise improve well-being?​

  • What is mindfulness and how can meditation be used to keep calm?​

  • How can I control anxiety and anger?

9. GIVING – why does giving make me happy?

  • How can I become an agent for change?​

  • How can I put something back into my community?​

  • Who should I give my time and money too?​

  • What legacy can I create in my community?​

  • Which charities are most deserving of support?

At School 21, we believe in developing a "growth mind-set" - a belief that effort and grit rather than innate intelligence is the route to success.

It is important for all children to have an adult who knows them well, who is there to support and encourage them.

Our school is designed to help every child grow: as human beings, intellectually, in maturity and character. We believe that if a child feels well inside themselves they achieve more. 

Our school is designed to help every child grow: as human beings, intellectually, in maturity and character. We believe that if a child feels well inside themselves they achieve more. 

It is important for all children to have an adult who knows them well, who is there to support and encourage them.

School 21, Pitchford Street, London, E15 4RZ      T:  020 8262 2121     E:  info@school21.org.uk

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