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    • Glossopdale School Solutions Focused Coaching team
      Starting today, approaching the end of the summer term, I’ll be keeping you up to date with what’s happening in our Coaching Community with a Newsletter. I’d love to have your feedback, to get the SFC conversation going. We can hear something from two active SFC Community partners. From Meadowbank Primary School, Cheadle, headteacher Janine Appleton’s notes; “Supporting children in a solutions focused way has been part of Meadowbank’s approach to supporting children’s learning behaviours for over twelve months and is a highly effective way of enabling children’s agency, empowering children to be the leaders of their own journey. Long gone are ‘Golden Rules’ that are outdated and have become wallpaper, children recognise that to be part of a healthy community and contribute to it positively they only need to be Successful (as we all are), Hopeful (for things to continue to grow and develop), Resourceful (we have the skills needed in ourselves to achieve more) and caring (we must be kind to each other).” In setting up this initial work I’d suggested to Janine that once solutions focused thinking entered school it would find its way across the community in all sorts of different ways, as it introduces a new way of thinking about relationships, teaching and learning. In short, once the mindset changes, everything changes. This is emerging in practice; “I expected SFC to support children’s empowerment and permeate into school’s ethos and culture of positive relationships, as Dr Geoff’s approach is so aligned to Meadowbank’s view of the partnership with our children. However, I did not fully appreciate the depth of impact that SFC would have on adult well-being also. As the fear of Covid-19 eases and we learn to live with the virus I am actively observing and trying to assess how significant the impact of Covid-19 has and will continue to have on the adults that I learn alongside. As a school leader supporting our teams who are mentally exhausted, reflecting on the last 18 months and who, despite their significant efforts, are feeling a frustration that they could have done more for their children and families. They could not. Our job as leaders is to strengthen school teams’ emotional well-being through this next challenging phase of the pandemic. We know that they will provide a safe place for all in their care so we must make sure that they also feel Successful, Hopeful and Resourceful whilst doing so. Therefore, it was a heart-warming take away during our annual Well-being peer review on Wednesday to hear through staff voice SSE that our SFC coaches feel that the approach has supported their well-being also. The solution focused conversations and quality time with children and resolution of challenges has had a positive impact upon both participants in the process. An outcome of the review is to roll out the approach wider enabling new members of our team to participate and become a true solution focused school supporting the well-being for all whilst we look back to celebrate our achievements over the past year and plan the next phase of our school and pandemic journey. Solutions focused coaching for mental health, wellbeing ….. and behaviour.  It’s quite a claim. And a real possibility.” From Achieving for Children, providing children’s services across the boroughs of Richmond, Kingston-upon-Thames and Windsor and Maidenhead.  The SFC team completed the Online Course a few weeks ago and are getting underway with practical SF Coaching in schools and in homes. From our Support and Supervision meeting on June 25th. ; I opened the session, as always, by asking “What’s going well? What have you noticed…..?” Here are some of the team’s responses; “Some members of my team who are in school now starting to deliver SFC sessions shocked the socks off the school and surprised the young people - two very, very good sessions with two disillusioned young people - incredibly uplifting professional experience to break through that original  cynicism, disillusion, disengagement  - actually came into school to meet the SF Coach - went away from the session having been very reflective, the YP really happy about their sessions - shows a different side of this young person ….. a habit of thinking, ‘they won’t turn up’” “Student with coat and hood up, by just saying for this session you can call me Laura, when we leave we go back to Mrs Ford — by just saying that the coat came down to the elbows, still there as a comfort but the shield was unpeeled.” “Home visit with a very very closed individual, when I asked her what’s your best hope of what do you like doing best she was really shocked, because I suppose everyone has always focused on ‘why are you school refusing, why aren’t you going in?” But to be asked that she suddenly smiled and actually started to talk to me about her art and the cooking she wanted to do - I’m not very practiced at it , but it was just small steps .. and said I’d come to visit her this week to do more of it …. Coming straight off the training course, in time you get fluent with the structure this work but using the script in the first place ….. for me it makes me more confident to have a script ….” “The pupil feeling heard from the very beginning - in schools usually start with the idea that ‘I'm here to control and fix this’ but instead you’re asking me, wow! It’s about feeling heard." "Giving the pupil time and space to feel truly heard - a protected time and space that they might not get at another time of their week, to feel that they’re really being listened to.” “It’s about resilience finding the elements of strengths within the young person, recognising it, identifying it, bringing it forward, looking at it and creating some strengths around it … saying that’s the hook you can hang on to pull yourself forward by …. Very often children have met a lot of disappointment in their life.” Thanks for reading. Have a lovely summer break and see you later. Best wishes, Geoff Dr Geoffrey James    
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