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Mental Health and Wellbeing


At Joy Lane Primary School, we take a holistic approach to the needs of individuals as we recognise the implicating factors that have an effect on a child’s ability to learn. We are influenced by Maslow’s Hierarchy of Need as we understand that each need creates a base for another, starting with the most basic of needs; without these, the next level of the pyramid cannot be laid.


Level 1 – Physiological (basic needs)

The base level of the pyramid refers to the needs required for survival such as food, water, nutrition, shelter, clothing and warmth.

Level 2 – Safety

Security, predictability, protection, structure, order, boundaries, limits, rules, stability.

Level 3 – Love and Belonging

Love, belonging, affection, friendship, reciprocal relationships, tenderness, understanding, empathy, connections.

Level 4 – Esteem

Independence, achievement, success, value, self-worth, positivity, competence.

Level 5 – Self-actualisation

Growth, morality, exploration, risk-taking, understanding.


Following this principle we are better able to understand the needs of our children and how these can be met and built upon to enable an individual to reach their full potential and we recognise and acknowledge that for children to learn, they will need these needs to be met. As a result of this, our philosophy is to ensure that all children feel safe, soothed and secure which is reflected in our Behaviour Policy (Joy Lane Primary School - Policies). 

In order to achieve this, we often work in partnership with families, and sometimes other professionals to ensure each level is secure, providing our children with the best opportunities to succeed.


As a school, we pride ourselves on the nurturing environment and provision we provide for all our children. Below you will see some examples of how we work towards achieving this.



Emotional Regulation

As a school, we value the benefits of Emotional Coaching to help children better understand their emotions and to begin to learn how to manage these. We understand the complexities of emotions and how these can be overwhelming for children, so take any opportunity to help teach and coach them through these. We use a variety of resources to support this such as 'The Colour Monster' book, The Incredible 5-Point Scale and the use of Social Stories (Joy Lane Primary School - Social, Emotional, Mental Health Resources). In addition to this, every child has access to a class/year group 'Zen Zone' where they can take some time to regulate using a variety of resources. 



Serenity is a morning group which runs before the start of the school day. It aims to support the transition from home to school for children who can find coming in everyday challenging. As part of the group, children are encouraged to talk about their worries through games and group activities.



Sanctuary play takes place in the family room during each break and lunch-time. It is led by members of the well-being team who encourage and model social skills in a ‘real-life’ situation. Sanctuary play is a relaxed approach to supporting children socially as they are encouraged to play games and play together in small groups.


Cosy Cabin

The Cosy Cabin is part of the Nurture UK programme which aims to support children in accessing learning through embedding the 6 principles of nurture (see below). The main focus of this group is to ensure children feel their pyramid (Maslow’s Hierarchy of Need) is complete so that they are able to access learning. This is achieved through the implementation of consistent routines and expectations with children being set achievable goals they can succeed and celebrate. This is a short term intervention with a transition programme being designed to re-integrate children back into their class full-time.


The Family Room 

The Family Room is an inviting and safe space for the whole school community and is used by children and their families. This can be accessed for informal chats or meetings with a member of the Inclusion Team. This space can also be accessed for individual well-being and ELSA support.


Well-being First Aid

We are fortunate enough to be able to offer 'well-being first aid' on an as-needed basis. Where children come into school feeling unsettled, or perhaps requiring some time out of class to help them regulate or feel reassured, this can be accessed through our Mental Health Lead. This is offered as a one-off support but a referral can be made to the SENCO's for further advice and support if required.



Emotional Literacy Support Assistants (ELSA) have been trained by Educational Psychologists to support the teaching and understanding of emotional intelligence. Emotional Literacy helps children better understand and express their feelings. It involves having self-awareness and recognition of one's own feelings and knowing how to manage them, such as the ability to stay calm when angered or to reassure oneself when in doubt.


Counselling/Psychodynamic Psychotherapy

Counselling or Psychodynamic Psychotherapy can be offered to individual children who have experienced a significant trauma or event that requires more specialised support. This can be accessed through discussions with members of the Inclusion team.




As a school we have been working towards being a Nurture UK school supporting all children's well-being, developmental and emotional development, enabling them to learn. This is done through various support interventions across the school and compliments what we already offer within our setting. 


                                            St Dunstan's RC Primary School: The Six Principles of Nurture - In Our Own  Eyes

Below is an overview of how we are currently working towards the 6 Principles of Nurture and what is on offer for our pupils at Joy Lane Primary School:

1.Children’s learning is understood developmentally

A Boxall Profile is completed for identified children to help establish gaps in their diagnostic and developmental progress. This is then used to create a targeted plan. Where children already have an Individual Provision Plan, the recommendations may be linked as appropriate. 

2. The classroom offers a safe base

Over the last few years, we have worked hard to create a calm, safe and low stimulus environment where children feel safe and welcome. In addition to this, each year group has an assigned space (Zen Zone) where children can go when they are feeling overwhelmed. We offer our Cosy Cabin to EYFS and KS1 and our Family Room and Sanctuary to KS2, so that children have a safe space outside the classroom too. 

3. The importance for Nurture for the development of Well-being

Staff have accessed training on attachment and trauma and the impact of developing strong relationships. As a result of this, our behaviour policy reflects these principles as we focus on a relational approach.  As a school we also offer Serenity (see above) each morning for children who are struggling to transition from home to school.

4. Language is a vital means of communication

As a school we encourage pupil voice and listen to children's views and wishes. We provide children with tools for communication where they can share how they are feeling through means such as The Colour Monster resources or an individual 5-point scale. 

5. All behaviour is a form of communication

Following the attachment and trauma training, we are aware that all behaviours are a form of communication for children and carefully try to unpick these through discussions with those working closely with individuals, with parents and with them themselves. On occasions, we use tools to help us better understand these behaviours such as the use of an ABC chart which helps identify patterns in behaviours. This is a strategy that is available to all, where appropriate. This can be particularly helpful in us identifying patterns of behaviour when in school.

Within our setting we also have trained members of staff in the Solihul approach which also focusses on child development and understanding and responding to behaviours.

6. The importance of transitions in children's lives

We recognise transitions for children can be particularly difficult and for some, this can even be the smaller transitions within the day. As a school we ensure every class has their own visual timetable at the front of the room so all children can be prepared for what is coming next. Where appropriate, we use social stories to help reinforce change and transition and offer time to prepare, where possible.