Saltersgate Infant School, Doncaster

Our Hamish & Milo Story

Saltersgate is an infant school in South Yorkshire that strives to place wellbeing at the centre for its 350 or so children. The focus is on creating a learning environment that encourages ‘all children to do the best they can in both an indoor and outdoor environment.’ Ofsted in 2018 recognised the school as being ‘a place where children feel safe’ and where the teachers and adults are approachable and show ‘kindness and care.’

There is a focus on a broad and innovative curriculum, a recognition of the importance of wellbeing and the need to provide a rich PSHE approach for all children.

The school places high importance on offering enhanced wellbeing approaches for some of the more vulnerable children with key adults providing qualitative intervention for the children with social and emotional needs so that they have a sense of aspiration and can thrive within the school environment.

The school offers Forest Schools as part of the curriculum and there is commitment to offer a wide range of learning opportunities as well as wellbeing intervention.

Saltersgate began their Hamish & Milo journey following the Schools & Academies Show, Birmingham in November 2021 where the Headteacher, Lee Bell was introduced to the resources. On receiving the programme Lee, the SLT and pastoral team shared the resources and began to think about how the programme could be used across the school and how to target key children for intervention.

Following this they realised how important it was to share the programme and approach with the whole staff team so that there was awareness and involvement of class teachers and staff to think about which children the approach would best support for intervention.

“We found that each of the boxes and the various programmes were tailored to specific needs and we could map out how to use it for different children.” Lisa Booth – Pastoral TA

“In the staff meeting we were able to give out the wellbeing profiles for the staff to complete and identify the children in their class that would benefit from the intervention and approach.” Sue Turtle – Senior TA

Sue and Lisa then began to set up groups of children and to start with a few of the programmes which were:

Saltersgate Infant School Logo
Saltersgate School Story Child Forest School
Saltersgate School Story Child Den Building

“We found that there were quite a few children in Reception who were showing anxiety, so we were able to give the teacher some of the ideas for the whole class. They are now using the resource as their PSHE curriculum.” said Sue

“The children love it. They look forward to the sessions and it is so important that they have this quality time with us.” Lisa

From the leadership perspective of the school Lee and the SENCO, Nicola McCue, have been able to use the resources strategically to provide targeted intervention and have seen real impact in how the children are managing their emotions and engaging in learning.

“We have never really found anything before Hamish & Milo that is bespoke enough and where we can see this level of impact. We now have developed the role of our support staff to be able to deliver this across the school and to do more of this work.” commented Lee, the Headteacher.

Involving the parents has been one of the highlights in using the resource. Sue explained how parents are involved from the outset. They are given the parent leaflets to help them understand the programme and what the children will be doing and they are also invited to the first session.

“The parents are invited into the initial session with their children. This is a chance for them to meet the staff members who are leading the intervention, find out a bit more about it and they even get chance to make their own sock puppets with the children!” said Sue.

“The parents loved the session so much, they were so engrossed that the session ran over!” Lisa

“Having the parents on board is great. It is daunting for parents when they get a letter about something happening in school for their child, but it has been so important for them to see and be part of the approach. It has also been important to see the relationship between the parents and the child and this has helped with the intervention.” Nicola McCue – SENCO

There have been many highlights so far with the programme. “One boy in Reception has made huge progress in his PESD targets, really positive outcomes that are tangible. Hamish & Milo has given us a real overview of need and we have worked as a team to map out what is needed and for who. The biggest thing that has been missing is support for social and emotional development and this is offering us the right intervention.” says Nicola.

“For a girl in Reception who was involved in the ‘Actions words and me’ programme there has been a huge change. Previously the girl would be very expressive and strong in conveying her emotions by stamping her feet, shouting out and wanting things her way. Now you wouldn’t notice her in the classroom for this. She wasn’t on track for PSHE but now she has learnt about how consequences have actions, how to listen and how to problem solve. She’s just achieved the ‘Golden Citizen award’ for her behaviour. As a result of the work she has done in this group, she is now at age related expectation (ARE) for PSHE and able to sit down and learn.” Nicola, SENCO

“Since using ‘Exploding me’ I’ve recognised that we sometimes shy away from allowing children to be angry, but this has helped us to give permission to the children and helped them to let their feelings out. One boy is full of anger, but he was able to draw how he is feeling. He drew a monster and it was black but then he gave it a rainbow head. He could acknowledge that it’s OK to have these emotions and we can release them.” Lisa

One of the other factors that has been noticed through using the resource is the development of language with the children using a wider range of vocabulary.

“We’ve had words like downhearted, heartbroken – these are the words we are getting from the children.” …“It has also allowed children to really come out of their shell. We have one girl in the ‘Amazing me’ group who was painfully shy, but she feels really comfortable in the group and it has developed her confidence.” said Sue.

Hamish & Milo has become an established part of the wellbeing approach at Saltersgate. It has enabled staff to feel more confident in the intervention work they are doing and it has enhanced the provision that is offered to children.

“I feel a lot more confident because it is so concise. You know exactly what you are doing in the sessions. The programme is so flexible and adaptable and you know you are absolutely hitting the need.” says Sue.

Both Lisa and Sue have been able to lead and develop the approach by working with the staff and SENCO to tailor and target the intervention. They are now in the process of coaching other staff to be able to deliver it and are developing the confidence of a wider team to enable the programme to be rolled out to more children.

“The programmes are so easy to follow and with previous resources we have had to source everything but with this, everything you need is there. There is real progression within the sessions and anyone can lead it once they understand the approach.” Nicola

Hamish & Milo targeted intervention groups are now an embedded part of the whole ethos and approach at Saltersgate. There has been evidence of it impacting on readiness to learn, enhancing achievement and enabling children to talk about and express their emotions. “The programme is impacting on their academic success.” Nicola SENCO

The school are working now to embed the approach and to ensure more children are given the opportunity to access the programmes and to reach their potential.

Photo of mother and children
Hamish & Milo Parent Partnership Booklet
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