Reduced exclusions and increased attendance at Elland Academy

A West Yorkshire school has been named as a Thrive Ambassador School with three areas of expertise for the role it plays in supporting the wellbeing of its pupils. 

 The Elland Academy is a Delta Academy Trust alternative education free school that offers provision for pupils aged from 7 to 16 who have difficulties accessing mainstream settings and are often on the verge of becoming permanently excluded. The school is based across two sites, in Leeds and Knottingley. It has been named as an Ambassador School with Excellence in the Environment, Reparative and Right-time after going through a rigorous assessment process with Thrive®, an organisation which trains teachers and other education professionals to support the emotional and social development of children and young people. 

 The Environment award recognises extraordinary schools which are making a positive impact on their pupils and on the wider community, by having a focus on emotional health and creating an environment in which children’s wellbeing thrives. 

  • The Reparative award recognises schools that have excelled in helping children who have gaps in their social and emotional development and have successfully met their needs. 
  • The Right-time award recognises schools which have succeeded in helping all pupils to understand their emotions and the role they play in positive mental health. 

  The school, which has 126 pupils, mainly offers short and medium term placements for children with an emphasis on creating positive relationships with staff that focus on mutual respect and understanding. All pupils are assessed at the start of their placement and an individual learning plan is put into place aimed at providing therapeutic interventions and building good relations between the school and family members so that the young person can become emotionally ready to re-engage with learning. The academy has several wellbeing and sensory areas available to support pupils to reset and regulate during the day as well as a drama therapist and four Thrive Licensed Practitioners®. 

 "I'm so proud to be the Head of Elland Academy. I'm proud for a number of reasons; one of the most significant being how we, as a community, have embraced Thrive and, as a result, have been named as a Thrive Ambassador School. The difference Thrive has made to our students is clear. We have had a significant reduction in exclusions and an increase in attendance across all three key-stages. Whole group and individual profiling have really helped our team to meet the emotional and social needs of our children. I'm so excited for the next phase in our Thrive journey and highly recommend Thrive to other schools, particularly those, like us, in alternative provision,” said Ed Staton, Head of Academy.  

 “Everyone gave a big cheer when I told them that we were an Ambassador School. It’s something that everyone has worked towards and feels they are part of,” said Assistant Principal Simone King. “We work with children who have difficulties accessing mainstream classrooms. We know that all behaviour is a communication of unmet need and we are here to get to the bottom of what’s going on for them. We have to ensure that they feel safe, special, and that they have a positive relationship with staff so that they are able to go on to learn.”  

 Thrive’s Ambassador Schools scheme was launched as a way of recognising excellence in the way schools use Thrive to promote positive mental wellbeing. There are five areas in which a school can evidence how they support children’s social and emotional development:  Environment, Leadership, Right-time, Reparative and Relationship, with a special Ambassador School of Excellence Award for schools that achieve the highest standard across all five categories. 

 As well as submitting an in-depth application form, the school was visited by Thrive staff to observe and assess the way that teachers and other staff implement the Thrive Approach® to help build the emotional resilience of children, so that they can better manage the ups and downs of life and be more open to learning. 

 “The Elland Academy has done a fantastic job in embedding the Thrive Approach across the whole school. Staff have a great understanding of the Approach and are able to play their part in using it to effectively support the emotional wellbeing of their pupils, helping them to return to mainstream education. The Academy really deserves to be recognised in this way,” said Dominque Sagar, Thrive’s Relationship Manager for the North West, North East, Yorkshire and Humber. 

 This article was featured on the In Your Area news site here.

Over to you

Are you leading the way in developing happy, emotionally-resilient children or young people? Are you feeling the impact of embedding the Thrive Approach throughout your setting? You too may be eligible for Thrive Ambassador School status. Click here to find out how to apply.

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