Southern Road
Primary School

Working together to empower pupil voice at Southern Road Primary School

Southern Road Primary School was part of the HeadStart Newham pilot programme and has continued involvement into Year 2.

As a pilot school, Southern Road established a strong and well recognised link to HeadStart’s parent support by offering peer parenting courses in the school.

Southern Road is a large primary school of nearly 700 pupils, which includes a 120 part-time place nursery. Throughout Year 1, the school started to build their group of HeadStart Champions from years 5 and 6 to empower pupil voice and support the development of their wellbeing strategy. Part of their success was the decision to allocate time for staff to work together to co-produce ideas and changes they would like to see to develop pupil wellbeing over the coming years.

We spoke with the Emma Jokhan, the SENCo at Southern Road to find out how HeadStart has helped the school focus more on their pupils’ mental health and wellbeing.

Q: Why did Southern Road Primary choose to take up the HeadStart offer?

A: We thought it was an opportunity for the school to focus more on the wellbeing of young people in our school within the context of increasing academic demands.

Q: What did you hope HeadStart would help Southern Road Primary achieve?

A: We wanted help with readdressing the balance. We also thought that with the support of HeadStart, we could provide something different for vulnerable pupils within the targeted age range.

Q: What has changed in the school since introducing HeadStart into Southern Road Primary?

A: There is a lot more focus on having a ‘growth mindset’ and there have been many more opportunities for pupils to problem solve and take risks; the school is giving the message ‘it’s ok to get it wrong, we can learn from these mistakes’.

Q: Have you seen any changes in your pupils?

A: Our pupils are much more aware of what resilience means. Amongst the Headstart Champions, they have felt empowered about being in a position to have their say and affect change in the school.

Q: Have you seen any benefits since the ‘Being a Parent’ courses have been delivered?

A: We have had a lot of parents attend the ‘Being a Parent’ course – their positive feedback has affected the way they have addressed difficulties with their children.

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