Licette Gus, co-founder of Emotion Coaching UK visited Southern Cross School, Northenden Manchester. This is a SEMH provision for pupils aged 11-16 and is part of the Endeavour Federation, led by the indefatigable Executive Head Alan Braven. An array of provision to support secure attachments, reduce the impact of trauma and develop emotional regulation has been developed and integrated into the school day as part of their relational approach to supporting pupil learning. A highlight for Licette was the daily morning emotional check in for all staff (and later pupils). In a circle, all staff took turns at sharing their response to the morning's lead question - 'what makes you happy/or what do you look forward to when when you wake up in the morning?'. This was followed by everyone taking turns in labelling how they were feeling at that moment in time and then a short grounding activity. Licette valued this activity in supporting staff to separate home from work (school) and give them a moment to think about how they were feeling there and then in preparation for the day. Licette then joined a class for the start of their lessons. The same activity that the staff had earlier completed was led by the class teacher with their class. Pupil emotional literacy was being developed by structured opportunity to reflect on their emotions, with a particular focus on what gives them joy and labelling their feelings at that moment in time. Children had sheet of emotions stuck to their table to point to if they felt unable to vocalise the emotions they were feeling. Licette was struck by the thoughtful and purposeful action by all adults in the school. The coordinated elements of the provision demonstrated a clear rationale for what staff needed to do to support the development of emotional regulation and prosocial behaviour in young people. As a result, staff were clear about why they were responding in the way they did.
The feeling of safety and security in the school was palpable. Pupils responded to the ever-present relational approach with cooperation, respect and engagement.