Topic: A Whole School Approach to Engaging with the Families of Moulsecoomb – Moulsecoomb Parenting Group

Session summary: Moulsecoomb Primary School recognises the importance of social and emotional wellbeing as an essential part of academic success. We also feel this wellbeing and resilience is closely connected to that of the family as a whole. Therefore, over the years, Moulsecoomb Primary School has been working towards engaging parents and carers, making them a real and welcome part of the school community. Our programme of support and engagement focuses on creating an environment of respect, care and opportunities for families to take an active role and feel their voices are important in the school.

Through this approach, we have been able to build positive and open relationships with many families, some of whom are regarded as ‘hard to reach’. This approach allows us to recognise and meet the needs of children and families at an early stage, supporting families to access the right support before difficulties become overwhelming, as well as to build their own self esteem and skills, making them and their communities more resilient. We have recently created a short film about our approach to engaging families, the interventions we offer and some feedback from the parents themselves. This film was shown along with a brief presentation and a Q & A session.

Biography: Julia Jefferson: I am Inclusion Co-ordinator at Moulsecoomb Primary School. I have worked in primary education for twelve years in London and Brighton, always in schools with high levels of need and usually with children, and their families, in need of emotional and behavioural support . For ten years I also ran therapeutic art workshops for children and families in schools and community centres in London and Brighton. I have worked for several years as a Learning Mentor, and have until recently worked for the Local Authority coordinating and training mentors across the city. I have been at Moulsecoomb Primary School since 2008.

Lucy Rayner: Has a background in Psychology. She worked for the East Brighton Education Action Zone before joining Moulsecoomb Primary School as a Community/Schools Development Worker in 2003.

Angela Gregg: Is a Qualified Social Worker with a background in Child Development. Angela worked in Child Protection and the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service before joining Moulsecoomb Primary School in 2012 as part of a pilot programme to bring Social Work experience into Primary Schools in Brighton and Hove.

This session took place on Wednesday 11 June 2014.

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