New for 2020 – Solutions Focused Coaching in schools

Solutions Focused Coaching in schools  – new for 2020 

January 2020

As children return to school after the winter break, the experiences they carry with them will span the range from the ideal family get-together to something far away from that. For some children it won’t have been the best time in their life and it may well show in how they make their return to school.

There’s often talk of the idea of a fresh start in school policies, but as these children struggle to re-engage there has to be more than the usual reward and punishment behaviour management systems to greet them at the school gate.

This is where Solutions Focused Coaching in schools comes in – a fresh and refreshing approach which meets children’s needs where it’s needed, in the moment of stress, distress and potential disengagement. Fast, brief, a truly therapeutic style of teaching and learning which fits neatly into the hands and minds of school staff. Backed up by solid research evidence, simple to operate and increasing schools’ capacity to address the most complex problems in an elegantly simple way. Good for children and good for the wellbeing of staff, parents and carers too. A truly fresh start, the first step on the path ahead.

So to set this New Year off in a hopeful way, here’s an overview of Solutions Focused Coaching in the form of a Q and A. If you’ve got other questions you’d like answered get in touch with me anytime, using the chat button on this website. I look forward to a bright and positive 2020 in company with all of us working for and with children.

Q: What is Solutions Focused Coaching?
A: It’s cooperative teaching and learning, working with children towards their best
futures by focusing on their resources and successes. Has been in use for forty
years, and is effective in protecting children’s mental health, engagement &
inclusion and reducing exclusion, nationally and internationally.
Q: Why develop Solutions Focused Coaching for students as an innovative pastoral
response to children’s needs?
A: Some children struggle to find success in schools and the conventional routines of
behaviour management by reward and punishment may not secure their
engagement and inclusion. Solutions Focused Coaching carried out by school staff
fills a gap in provision in a simple and structured way.
Q: How can my school develop the skills and understanding necessary to provide SF Coaching?
A: With a face-to-face two-day course, devised and delivered by Dr. Geoff James.
This provides direct experience of Solutions Focused Coaching skills and the
essential theory underpinning the SF approach. Having completed this course,
participants can carry through SF Coaching with children of all ages. SF Coaching is
also useful in other support work school, with parents/carers, other professionals and
school staff, ideally as a whole-school approach.
For Pastoral Support Staff
The course is designed to enable staff with pastoral responsibilities to provide rapid
preventative support for all children across the range of needs. SF Coaching
provides a clearly structured educational alternative to reward and punishment,
proven to be effective when children are struggling in school and becoming at risk of
internal and external exclusion.
It is the ‘strong expectation’ of the DfE that schools provide a service to enable early,
preventative work with children and young people showing signs of distress.
https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/
497825/Counselling_in_schools.pdf
Since there have been no additional resource made available for this provision
senior management teams will be interested in training school staff with pastoral roles as solutions focused coaches, increasing capacity within school. Those already
trained in Solutions Focused Brief Therapy or other forms of counselling and
coaching may wish to develop and refresh their skills in the context of pastoral work
with children and young people in school.
Behaviour and Mental Health
Children who experience anxiety, distress and other difficulties in school
demonstrate their needs through their behaviour. This may be in the form of obvious,
outgoing and challenging behaviour or in the form of withdrawal and disengagement,
which is commonly less well recognised. Children in both categories who fail to
receive prompt, practical support are at increased risk to their wellbeing, to social
exclusion and serious mental illness. (DfE Behaviour and Mental Health, March
2016)
Essential, cost-effective training & support
Solutions Focused Coaching is a safe, structured and simple approach that enables
teachers and support staff to take rapid, effective action. In addition to its direct,
beneficial effects the clear structure of SF coaching action and review will also
indicate the need for targeted referral onto specialist intervention where this is in a
child’s best interest.The work is led by Dr Geoff James, a recognised and published
expert in behaviour, wellbeing and pastoral support. Dr. James has over 20 years
experience of working in mainstream and special schools and has used the SF
approach in the child and adolescent mental health service and residential care
services. He is highly experienced in SF Coaching, teaching and training and
professional development.
Follow-up Support
Continuing support is provided via the thesolutionsfocusedcoach.com website.
Dr. James’ book https://uk.sagepub.com/en-gb/eur/transforming-behaviour-in-theclassroom/
book243533 is available through booksellers. His Solutions Focused Coaching Workbook for educators is available by direct order via his website.
There is also an 8-week online course available on request.
To discuss SF Coaching and to book a course in your school please make contact
via the “chat” feature on the thesolutionsfocusedcoach.com website, by email to
geoff.james42@gmail.com or phone on 07770230108

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