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Growing Our MindSpace

28 Jun 2019   |   Helen Mills   |   Ebor Gardens Primary Academy, MindSpace, Victoria Primary Academy

Victoria and Ebor Gardens Primary Academies are among the first Primary Schools in Leeds to recruit a full time counsellor – and what an amazing appointment.

Knowing that many of our pupils and their families face significant challenges we worked with MindSpace to explore the best possible solution – and that solution came in the form of O’Neil Grant.

While we have excellent pastoral teams and nurture provisions within our schools, we realised that for some children the issues are more complex and require a more individualised approach, targeted to their specific circumstances and experiences. We recognised that availability of child-centred counselling services was limited and that children were facing long waiting lists. As a result, these children were finding it difficult to focus on their learning and this was often expressed through lack of engagement or challenging behaviour.

O’Neil has been a fantastic addition to our team. By being based on-site across the two schools he is able to work closely with class teachers and the pastoral teams, carry out observations within lessons and playtimes and develop positive relationships with parents. He is frequently seen around school and at the school gates, ensuring that he is familiar to parents and children.

The support and supervision through MindSpace has been fantastic, allowing access to resources and advice at all times. O’Neil’s work is already having a

really positive impact on our school communities and we have plans to develop his role over the coming months to broaden the impact across both schools.

Anyone considering following our example should contact Michelle Sault on MindSpace makes an invaluable contribution to O’Neil’s support and professional development. This truly is an exceptional partnership.

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