The SEAL Program in Education

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Following the implementation of a pilot scheme under taken by 6 Local authorities in order to ascertain its effectiveness within schools, a primary school programme to develop Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning (SEAL), was rolled out nationally by the then Department for Children, Schools and Families as part of a national voluntary programme designed to develop the social and emotional skills of all pupils.

The aims of the programme are, using a whole-school approach, to complement, consolidate and strengthen good practice in the school and reinforce links between emotional wellbeing and effective learning.

A multi-agency approach encourages a partnership between local authority consultants and schools, drawing together personnel including:-

educational psychologists

behaviour support teams

emotional health and wellbeing consultants

staff from Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS)

The SEAL programme has recognised materials that support the SEAL programme which have been largely developed by the National Strategies and can be used in variety of ways to support the development of pupils.

The support materials are aligned with other National Curriculum materials and the National Curriculum programmes of study.

The five domains of social, emotional and behavioural skills identified in the SEAL programme are:

self-awareness

managing feelings

empathy

motivation

social skills. 

As a result of continued professional development (CPD), teachers are able to use direct and focused learning opportunities in small groups and in whole-class situations across the curriculum, and outside formal lessons to enable children to develop good social and emotional skills. These skills are crucial in helping pupils to take more control of their lives; allowing them to make good and lasting friendships, work in teams, solve problems, deal with conflict, manage strong feelings, to be calmer and optimistic, recover from setbacks, compete fairly, respect others' rights and value diversity.

The SEAL programme in operation at Berridge

SEALs permeates all aspects of school life at Berridge where the implementation of social, emotional and behavioural skills can be seen at every level, not only in the core and foundation subjects of the National Curriculum.

In my time at Berridge, the high expectations the staff and additional staff have of the children is very evident. Children are consistently encouraged to:-

manage their own learning more

not be afraid to get things wrong

assess themselves and their peers with confidence

manage emotions productively

speaking and listening as part of their formal lessons

Although the Berridge School does not use any official National Strategies materials to implement their PHSE curriculum, the school works very hard to encourage and nurture the social and emotional aspects of its children, with high-profile clubs, schemes, rewards and even consequences for unacceptable behaviour, including:-

Mrs J Youl - designated PHSE co-ordinator.

School Council. One child is democratically elected per class to represent their peers. School Council meets once per fortnight with the objective of raising and voting on school issues put forward by their by their class. The Head teacher is updated on the main issues.

PHSE during formal lessons/open discussions/role-play; including bullying awareness week (saying no to bullying), facing changes and new beginnings, getting on and falling out, good to be me, achieving goals.

Sex, relationships, drugs awareness (D.A.R.E programme) and life skills course specifically for year 6.

Family Mentor; bridging the gap between home and school and strengthening parent's engagement with the school. (Adult learning also offered).

Playground monitors. Pupils must apply by letter and if accepted on the scheme will complete a 6 hour training session in playground issues awareness.

Eco Team.

Whole-school ethos of school one of caring and fairness.

Whole-school clear discipline and reward system, giving a good degree of security through consistency.

'Healthy School' status. All school meals abide by healthy eating ethos.

Breakfast Club for children with breakfast-time provision issues.

After School Club and Holiday Childcare for children with after school and holiday provision issues.

'Fine Diners'. Seven children ('The Magnificent Seven'), are chosen weekly for their good behaviour and good manners by the lunch-time staff, to dine at the Head Teacher's table.

'Spotted'. Children are spotted by the lunch-time staff for their good behaviour in the playground. The class with the most spotted children is rewarded a certificate during 'Honours Assembly'.

Honours Book. A small group of children from each class are chosen by their teacher to celebrate their positive contribution (work ethic/achievement or behaviour) to the school. This contribution is recognised by the whole school and applauded during Honours Assembly.

Honours Assembly. Taken weekly by the Head Teacher to celebrate positive behaviour in the school.

Children rewarded with badges for consistent attendance.

Access to extra curricular subjects/activities for example, Spanish, choir, Year 4 given opportunity to learn trumpet, various sports activities, homework club for Year 6, annual Residential trip for Year 5/6.

With emphasis on the above PHSE provisions, Berridge children are noticeably happy and well-behaved. The children are equipped with knowledge, understanding, attitudes and practical skills to live healthy, safe, productive, fulfilled, capable and responsible lives. It encourages them to be enterprising and supports them in making effective transitions, positive learning and potential career choices and in managing their finances effectively. PSHE education also enables the children to reflect on and clarify their own values and attitudes, and explore the complex and sometimes conflicting range of values and attitudes they may encounter now and in the future.

The ECM outcomes are: be healthy, stay safe, enjoy and achieve, make a positive contribution and achieve economic wellbeing.

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