• Calder Walk, Leamington Spa, Warwickshire CV31 1SA
Emotional Wellbeing

Rights Links: Article 24 – Health and Health Services; Article 29 – Goals of Education; Article 19 - Protection from Violence, Abuse and Neglect; Article 16 - Right to Privacy


Emotion Coaching


"Helping children and young people to understand the diffrent emotions they experience, why they occur and how to handle them." Gottman, 1996

We are an Emotion Coaching organisation at Sydenham Primary School, and all staff have been trained in using this approach, by Dr. Louise Gilbert. Members of the senior leadership team are trained Emotion Coaching Practitioners.

Emotion Coaching is based on the principle that nurturing and emotionally supportive relationships provide optimal contexts for the promotion of children's outcomes and resilience.

Rooted in the research of American Psychologist, John Gottman, Emotion Coaching uses moments of heightened emotion and the resulting dysregulated behaviout to guide and teach the child about more effective responses. Staff at Sydenham use empathetic engagement to verbally acknowledge and validate the child's emotional state, promoting a sense of security and feeling 'felt'. This activates changes in the child's neurological system and allows the child to calm down , physiologically and psychologically. Inappropriate behaviours are not condoned in Emotion Coaching and when the child is calmer, incidents are discussed in a more rational and productive manner. Moves are made to problem-solve and engage in solution-focused strategies. Through repetitive, consistent and empathetic Emotion Coaching, the ability of a child to regulate their emotions is promoted.


Mental Health First Aiders

Mental Health First Aid Training – Pragma + Associates Ltd

Our team of Mental Health First Aiders are trained to spot the signs of mental health issues in our young people, families and colleagues; offer first aid; and guide them towards the support they need. Our Mental Health First Aiders listen, reassure and respond, even in a crisis. In doing so, our school community is a safe and supportive environment for all of our stakeholders. Our Mental Health First Aiders are: Ms Swain, Ms Speight, Ms Catalano-Beattie, Ms harrop, Ms Bains, Ms Beck, Mr Burnell, Ms Doust, Ms Shaddick, Ms Challand, Ms mason, Ms Dalton, Mr Westwood, Ms Ellershaw, Ms Glenny, Ms Ashworth and Ms Westwood.





A dedicated counsellor works at Sydenham for one day a week. Counselling can help pupils to deal more effectively with day-to-day challenges to learning, as well as support them through specific emotional difficulties. Providing targeted and developmentally appropriate support at the right time is likely to enhance a child's resilience and build greater self-esteem and confidence.

Our counsellor, Joanna, establishes strong relationships with children to support their emotional wellbeing and good mental health. She enables good communication and effective collaboration with all stakeholders (pupils, parents and school staff), and serves as a valuable advocate for our children.


Music Therapy

Music therapy is a clinical intervention related to counselling and other psychological therapies. Music therapy sessions give children an opportunity to recognise, process and accept their feelings in a safe space. It is used in a variety of ways to benefit children, and is useful for acknoowledging difficult feelings and expressing them in a non-verbal way. Improvised music, based on the child's own sounds, isused to develop interaction skills; offers space for expression and communication through a non-threatening medium; builds meaningful relationships; and increases awareness of self and other. Our music therapist accepts whatever feelings come up in a session and responds to them musically, within improvised songs and talking. 


Drawing and Talking

Drawing and Talking is a short-term therapeutic intervention for children, which supports children's emotional well-being. Drawing enables children to express in a safe visual form any worries or preoccupations that they may not be able to talk about. Over time, with an empathetic, trained practitioner giving the child attention and talking to them in a gentle, thoughtful and supportive way, the child can create a story through the pictures which helps the child to find resolution and enables them to move on. Our Drawing and Talking Pactitioners are Ms Knowles, Ms Catalano-Beattie, Mr Westwood, Ms. Doust, Ms Pressey and Ms Westwood.


Lego Nurture Therapy

LEGO Education has been working with schools for more than 30 years, with the aim to help teachers take a more progresssive approach to unlock upils' interest in learning.

LEGO Nurture ABC (Aspire, Build, Connect) is a therapeutic medium to unlock pupils' potential and increase engagement. LEGO Nurture ABC encourages pupils to express their thoughts and ideas symbolically, which is a more playful, creative and hands-on way of of engaging pupils of all abilities. The method is a secure and non-judgmental process for solving problems, expressing personal feelings and breaking down barriers that can affect achievement on curriculum based topics. 

Staff trained by the Nurture Group Network to deliver Lego Nurture ABC are: Ms Irvine, Ms Ashworth, Ms Challand and Ms Westwood.


AcSEED Award

Our school has received the prestigious AcSEED Award in recognition of the care we take to support the emotional wellbeing and mental health of our pupils, families and staff.  The award celebrates the pastoral care of pupils and the many ways we develop robust wellbeing amongst the members of our school community. 

The AcSEED Award is a quality assurance mark presented to schools that have made a substantial effort to support the mental health of their students. It encourages and rewards the provision of high quality emotional wellbeing services, from the broad provision of information right through to appropriately targeted intervention. Based on best practices, the scheme defines a set of standard criteria that all schools must meet in order to receive the award.

The AcSEED Initiative is a concept founded by young people with direct personal experience of mental illness at a young age. Their combined experiences have been used to identify and recommend a range of best practices that could have helped significantly in identifying and supporting their emerging emotional difficulties during school years. They were unanimous in viewing school as a pivotal environment that significantly influenced their emotional development, and in the belief that targeted intervention within this educational and social framework could have made a significant difference in helping to contain and manage their mental health vulnerabilities.

Follow the link below to access the School Best Practices and AcSEED Assessment Criteria.

School Best Practices & AcSEED-Assessment-Criteria.pdf