Schools' celebration for supporting children with additional needs

Published Monday, 3rd July 2017
Children celebrate getting the Gold Charter

Schools which have improved how they work with children with additional needs held a celebratory event last week.

The event – held at Magna Visitor Attraction in Rotherham – marked the changes schools across the borough have made to be more inclusive.

For the last three years primary and secondary schools have been working with trained practitioners and parents of children with additional needs on how best to promote social and emotional well-being among pupils.

Results have included schools employing speech therapists to help overcome language difficulties, to developing “nurture groups” and making meetings more child-centred.

The training has been delivered by the Rotherham Charter team – a pioneering partnership between Rotherham Council and the Rotherham Parent Carer Forum

Cllr Gordon Watson, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Children and Young People’s Services at Rotherham Council said: “The Rotherham Charter is an incredibly important project which is already paying dividends in our schools.

“It asks schools and services to work in partnership with parents, children and young people, who in turn are asked to put their trust in schools and services to value their contribution as equal partners. It is these changes that can then make big differences to the well-being and outcomes of children and families.

“Congratulations to all the schools which have chosen to take on these improvements and gained gold charter status as a result.”

Children, parent carers and staff of the schools and settings involved were invited to join the celebrations last week, which included a magician, prior to a more formal presentation attended by the Mayor of Rotherham, Cllr Eve Rose Keenan.

Rotherham Council’s Strategic Director of Children and Young People’s Services Ian Thomas added: “This celebration recognised the really powerful message about how trust can be developed between staff, children and families and what a difference this can make.

“The genuine partnership between the Council and the Parent Carer Forum is leading to great results in our schools, which is ultimately benefiting children who may otherwise have missed out on the support they need.

“This partnership is now being recognised nationally as best practice which is really great news for everyone involved.”

The Rotherham Charter asks Rotherham schools, colleges, settings and services to make a commitment to parents, carers, children and young people that they will care, include, communicate and work in partnership with them, recognising trust to be the essential factor in all these relationships.

During the process, staff receive training and support from the Rotherham Charter team, which includes trained practitioners such as educational psychologists and parents of children with additional needs. The team liaise closely with parents, staff and pupils to identify good practice and areas of further development.

Settings which are recognised as being best practice following this training are awarded Charter Gold status.

The two schools that have been accredited with Charter Gold this year are Bramley Sunnyside Infant School and Rockingham Junior and Infant School. And for the first time six schools have received Gold Reaccreditation. These are: Sitwell Infant School, Meadowview Primary School, St. Gerard’s Catholic Primary School, Thurcroft Infant School, Wales Primary School and Harthill Primary School.