Forwards Centre SMSC

The Forwards Centre provides SEMH (social, emotional, mental health) provision for primary aged pupils. This is closely linked to our SMSC (spiritual, moral, social and cultural education) work. We work to a set of key principles which are laid out for each aspect of our SMSC provision. Click on the above tabs to see each aspect.

Spiritual development ties in closely with the emotional aspect of SEMH provision. Both are related to helping children feel the emotions that they are experiencing and learning how to express those emotions safely. Working in a person centred way means that children can explore their inner lives without fear of judgment and be gently challenged to make positive changes. It is only possible to do this when staff model well and children feel calm and safe. This is a very important part of our work. The principles set out below allow us to work on spiritual development in this way.

Key Principle – Learning takes place in an atmosphere that is ordered, purposeful, where children feel safe and anxiety is reduced.

You will see:

  • A calm, purposeful atmosphere in the centre.
  • Staff that are skilled in being both physically and emotionally close to pupils.
  • Staff that are emotionally regulated in their own behaviour and presentation.

 

Key Principle – Well planned teaching and learning activities enthuse and engage children to learn and foster their curiosity and enthusiasm for learning.

You will see:

  • Pupils’ developing an increased resilience to failure over their time in the centre.
  • Increased engagement with learning that pupils show over time in contrast to their presentation on arrival.
  • Pupils’ curiosity increasing as they begin to use new found skills to seek out information to develop and deepen their knowledge.

Key principle – We believe that the pathway to learning to manage emotions is through countless, repetitive positive, experiences within a healthy relationship with a key adult.

You will see:

  • Each child has key adult who lives life in the centre alongside, with and for the child.
  • Time in the day for relationship building.

Key principle – Emotional states are contagious and the mood of one person can affect the mood of another.

You will see:

  • Adult lending their emotional regulation to the child by being calm and present.
  • Adults demonstrating different types of calm. It may be animated, playful and lively or soft, gentle and quiet.
  • During a crisis, children having an adult bridge back to stability and safety
  • No child being isolated. We believe that Isolation is distressing and leads to escalations.

Key principle – Trusting relationships take time and are built within a child’s window of tolerance with gentle challenge and patience.

You will see:

  • Staff creating pauses in the school day to regain balance and regulation.
  • Children doing calming activities to settle before learning
  • Downtime and pauses used to counteract sensory overload
  • Sensory breaks with key worker used to alter state and emotions
  • Staff understanding when enough is enough

Key principle: Successful children regularly experience deep acceptance without judgment that allows them to explore their own inner lives free of defensiveness or fear

You will see:

  • Staff showing that they are rooting for the children no matter what for better or worse.
  • Staff viewing behaviour as a form of communication to be interpreted in each child
  • Staff explicitly communicating acceptance of child before discussing their behaviour.
  • Staff explicitly repairing relationship after displaying anger or discussing behaviour.

 

Key principle – Taking the time to build a relationship and be curious about a child, helps the child be curious about their own inner lives

You will see:

  • Staff taking time to get to know each child as a real individual and being curious about their lives.
  • Staff stating factual commentary of what they can see going on in the moment
  • Staff modelling, wondering out loud and being curious about thoughts feelings, emotions, actions

Moral development helps children to accept and take on the diverse frameworks and value systems of society and live by them. Again, this is a very important aspect of our work and we see children arrive and in the vast majority of cases take on the centre frameworks very quickly. In addition to having clear set of rules and expectations, we believe that it is equally important to live by and make explicit the things we value such as effort. The principles set out below allow us to work on moral development in this way.

Key Principle – Children’s efforts are consistently recognised and celebrated with empathy, congruence and unconditional positive regard

You will see:

  • A marking policy that recognises children’s efforts, supports development and is consistently applied.
  • A working learning environment which scaffolds and supports children in completing work independently and celebrates the efforts of every child.
  • Centre wide recognition of pupil’s efforts in academic work during assembly.
  • Text messages and phone calls to parents/carers to recognise effort in academic work.
  • Regular, positive communication between home and school.
  • Children adopting the value systems of the centre.

Key Principle – Learning takes place in an atmosphere that is ordered, purposeful, where children feel safe and anxiety is reduced.

  • Staff employing positive behaviour strategies consistently.
  • Explicit learning about the social conventions of schools. This includes how we line up; eat together; move around the centre; arrive at and leave the centre; toilet routines; keep the centre tidy; expectations of good manners. These routines are consistent throughout the centre to help a child be successful in their next setting.

The social aspect of SEMH and SMSC supports children in their efforts to form positive and rewarding relationships with others. One things that ties our children together is that they have often found this challenging with their peers and end up presenting as lonely and distressed. Therefore another important aspect of our work is to help them develop and maintain relationships with key adults and other pupils in the centre. The principles set out below allow us to work on social development in this way.

Key principle – Good relationships are formed when staff are physically and emotionally close to pupils and both feel safe

You will see:

  • Adults reading physical, verbal cues, considering internal stress systems of the child, their current stress levels and how they might be aggravated or calmed.

 

  • Adults being expressive and non-ambiguous in their communication. (not neutral)
  • Staff mirroring the intonation of the child.
  • A focus on open and engaged interactions that are playful, accepting, curious and empathic

Key principle – Fun, playful interactions counteract stress, build relationships and optimise learning parts of the brain

You will see:

  • Protected time during the day for playful interactions
  • Staff setting up and joining in with opportunities for play
  • Staff and pupils building relationships using reciprocal laughter
  • Rhythmic sensory breaks, tapping, games, drumming etc taking place

Key principle – That to be successfully interdependent we first need to learn from experience that being dependent on a trusted person can be rewarding and productive.

You will see:

  • Adults anticipating, responding to and meeting children’s needs
  • Children practising being dependent in a safe relationship with key adult
  • Children following and giving instructions
  • Staff referring children to their team for support to encourage selective attachments.

We believe that many of the pupils arriving at the Forwards Centre have had limited cultural experiences and that their challenging behaviour has meant that many have also missed out on the experiences available to other children in their prior settings. We are committed to providing each child in the centre with a wide range of opportunities. We are part of the Bolton Educational Cultural Partnership and have created a Forwards Centre Cultural offer. The principles set out below allow us to work on cultural l development in this way.

Key principle – In order to develop a fully rounded appreciation of the world around them, children need to experience and engage in a broad base of cultural experiences.

You will see:

  • All pupils who enter the centre being given opportunity to:
    • Work with a resident artist on a sustained project
    • Take part in weekly dance sessions
    • Opportunity to sing on a regular basis with trained singing teacher
    • Learn a musical instrument on a weekly basis with staff from Bolton Music Service
    • Visit Bolton Museum.
    • Visit the Imperial War Museum
    • Attend a performance at the Octagon Theatre
    • Experience performances by a traveling theatre company
    • Take part in workshops delivered by professional actors, authors and artists.
    • Take part in dramatic performances
    • Enjoy story-telling and visit the local library
    • Produce short animations
    • Visit heritage sites
    • Acknowledge festivals and events such as Chinese New year, Easter, Diwali.
    • Attend the local cinema and art gallery