Waycroft Academy, Bristol, Cabot Learning Federation

Our Hamish & Milo Story

Waycroft Academy in South Bristol provides education for primary-age children from Reception through to Year 6 and also has an early years provision for children from the age of two.

It is a friendly, welcoming and vibrant school, that places wellbeing at the centre of their approach and provides a broad and exciting curriculum which encourages all talents to be nurtured.

Waycroft Academy has recently joined the Cabot Learning Federation along with the two other schools, Woodlands Academy and Wicklea Academy, from the original Waycroft Multi-Academy Trust. The Cabot Learning Federation is based in the South West of England and its ethos ‘…promotes the delivery of excellent educational experiences for pupils, improving their life chances.’

Waycroft began their Hamish & Milo journey in the Autumn Term of 2022, as part of the initial University of Bath research project, keen to develop a wellbeing and pastoral approach that met the need of growing numbers of children with social and emotional needs.

Naomi Trickey, the schools’ Family Link and Pastoral Support Worker, took on the role of facilitating Hamish & Milo and leading the approach across the whole school. Funding was identified to create a dedicated space for small group intervention and to ensure that the environment was one where the children could be nurtured, feel valued and special.

Cabot Learning Federation

Hamish & Milo is very much at the heart of providing qualitative intervention and a graduated response for the children at Waycroft, who have a range of social and emotional needs.

Headteacher Adam Smith, along with Naomi, are committed to developing the approach further, and ensuring children receive the support they need.

One of the main ways of confirming the impact of the programme for Adam, has been the response from parents who have been ‘asking for their children to be involved’. “There is a real ‘Hamish & Milo vibe’ within the school and from the parents, and has confirmed the positive impact Hamish & Milo has been having across the school community.” he says.

Using the Hamish & Milo programme

At the outset of embedding the programme, Naomi looked at the range of need the children had, discussing this with teachers and staff. She began with Amazing me and Calm me as the first programmes, and soon found that the children loved coming to the groups, and were beginning to develop self-confidence and even new friendships within the group experience.

Clare Williams visits Waycroft Academy school in Bristol

“The group work is powerful because of the support the children give each other.”

The room Naomi has created is a safe and welcoming space with soft lighting, beanbags and cosy areas as well as the displays where the sock puppet pets hang. The children’s work is celebrated on a ‘working wall’, developing as each session progresses.

Naomi currently runs all of the Hamish & Milo sessions, with occasional support from a TA working with her to embed the programme. Naomi has used a number of the programmes but in particular:

Hamish & Milo Programmes - Resilient me Icon
Hamish & Milo Programmes - Amazing me Icon
Hamish & Milo Programmes - My friends and me Icon
Hamish & Milo Programmes - New beginnings and me Icon
Hamish & Milo Programmes - Exploding me Icon
Hamish & Milo Programmes - Celebrating me Icon

Naomi has a group about to start Celebrating me and is really keen to help build the children’s self-esteem and view of themselves and to help them celebrate who they are.

Naomi has created a ‘wellbeing team’ which is a group of children who go with her each morning to meet, greet and welcome the other children into school.

The children love this role, and are really making such a difference in helping everyone to feel welcomed, and that they all belong in the whole school community.


Using Navigator - Impact Reporting Dashboard

Navigator was created to help schools capture and present impact data for the children involved in the SEMH intervention programmes. Whilst Naomi was initially cautious, since learning how to use Navigator she is able to see the power of having the data at her fingertips, and to show the difference the programme is having for children within the Hamish & Milo programmes.

Navigator tracks the progress for each child and shows each child’s story. Naomi highlighted two examples where the value of Navigator tracking had helped with particular children. One particular child, whose scores had decreased and was showing up as ‘red’ on the dashboard, “Even if a child shows up with any red indicators, I know why. In the child’s voice they may still be down on themselves, but the teachers are seeing a difference. One child was doing so well, but in the middle of a group, her parents split up, so I knew why and it showed up on Navigator with some descriptors becoming ‘red.’ The ‘red’ isn’t bad, it just helps you understand what is happening for a child.”

“I absolutely LOVE Navigator, it is just so easy and I can see all the data instantly. If we have Ofsted, I can literally just show them every child’s experience.”

Naomi Trickey

Waycroft Academy Navigator Dashboard Apr24

Waycroft Academy Navigator Dashboard April 2024

“The data and statistics really show you the change too, for one child there was a 41% increase positively in the wellbeing profile, 14% increase in the child’s voice questionnaire and 50% increase in the SDQ score, so it showed a massive shift and change for this child, that the teacher could also see in the classroom too.”

Naomi Trickey

There have been many highlights shared about running the groups at Waycroft Academy, with a few offered below from the school

  • One child’s perspective of herself completely changed after completing My friends and me. She is in Year 5, and was really struggling with her own self-esteem and friendships. After the group, she said what she had learnt about herself; “I am fine just the way I am!” Her Navigator scores hugely shifted with a 49% improvement in her child’s voice questionnaire, and she said she felt happier and calmer about everything.
  • For another child, he was really sad and disengaged generally in school. He would often be under tables and was so shut down, but through the group experience of Amazing me, he began to talk and engage in the group and this has continued into class with his teacher reporting back that; “He has become much more confident in class.” The group experience allowed the school to track and see real progress.
  • A child who wouldn’t join in at first, gradually began to participate. As the sessions went on, he was using the sock puppet and joining in the activities.

The greatest highlight for Naomi has been seeing the children grow in confidence, and developing a positive sense of themselves, “The friendships the children have been able to make as a part of the group, and the support they give each other has been amazing. They know this is their safe place, and they want to come.”

Hearing the child’s voice

During a recent visit to Waycroft Academy, our author Clare Williams met some of the children who have taken part in the Hamish & Milo programmes. Clare commented "It was wonderful to meet some of the children who I understand would not usually be keen to speak to people they didn’t know or to come out of class, but the group of children in the programme were happy to tell me what they thought about Hamish & Milo, it was a real pleasure to meet them."

These are some of the comments from the children on their experiences of Hamish & Milo.

Waycroft ongoing plans

There is an ongoing commitment to ensure Hamish & Milo is at the heart of SEMH intervention for the children at Waycroft Academy. They aim to develop a practice that can be shared across the whole of the Cabot Learning Federation. Impact is being seen for all the children taking part, and it is very much an integral part of their ongoing pastoral approach.

  • Damers First School

    "Not only do you get the 10 intervention programmes with Hamish & Milo you get so much more. It is extremely well supported by a wealth of easily accessible extra tools and resources, quality supervision opportunities and a team of knowledgeable and passionate people on hand to answer any queries. We are truly excited to continue our Hamish & Milo journey."

  • Beechwood Primary School Hamish & Milo Interventions

    “Hamish & Milo is a wonderful emotional wellbeing programme that sits alongside Trauma Informed incredibly well. It is easy to follow and the enjoyment that the students and myself feel during the sessions makes us feel extremely uplifted.”

  • Hamish & Milo Wellbeing Intervention School room Woodlands Academy Bristol

    Woodlands Academy located in South Bristol is a small, one-form entry school with 165 children. There is a high level of need within the community and high numbers of children regarded with pupil premium needs. Woodlands Academy strives to place the wellbeing of the children at the centre of all it does.