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Well-being is at the forefront of everything we do at Dersingham. We recognise that in order for children to learn, we need to first ensure they are healthy and happy. It is important that we empower our children, families and staff to talk about their feelings and ensure they know who to go to in school or the local community, should they need support.

The Pastoral Team - As well as our class teachers and Senior Leadership Team, we have a Pastoral Support Team who are integral in supporting the well-being of our children and families.

Sherwyn Cupido-Weaich - DSL

Danielle Brown - Play Therapist / CIN DSL

Lara Akinfie - Behaviour Lead/DDSL & Senior Mental Health Lead

Dawn Holmes - SENDCO

Satinder Dedi– Attendance Officer

Sabrina Rock - Senior Mental Health Lead & Staff Well-being Team Member

Clair Clements - Senior Mental Health Lead & Staff Mental Health First Aider


Charlotte Williams - Staff Well-being Team Member

Susan Clements - Staff Well-being Team Member

Rumina Begum - Staff Well-being Team Member

Ellie Turner – Speech and Language

Year 5 Teachers - Mental Health Champions

Play Therapy 

What is play therapy?

Play therapy adopts a child-centred, integrative holistic approach to account for the needs of the individual child, addressing social, emotional, intellectual, creative and spiritual factors. Play therapy is non-judgemental and non-interpretative, with elements of directive and non-directive work depending on the needs of the child.

Play therapy uses creative methods, so children do not have to verbalise their problems, as sometimes this can be too difficult. Instead, through metaphor, themes often emerge through play, providing children the opportunity to “play them out” and find resolutions themselves. Often, children may not realise this is happening as they unconsciously explore through the materials and resources in the room.

Who is play therapy for?

Children aged 3-11 years can be referred to play therapy for a number of reasons including:

  • Abuse (physical, emotional, sexual)
  • ADHD
  • Anger
  • Attachment issues
  • Autistic spectrum disorder
  • Behaviour problems
  • Bereavement/loss
  • Bullying
  • Communication, emotional and social difficulties
  • Family relationship breakdown / parental separation
  • Low self-confidence, self-esteem and withdrawn personality
  • Nightmares
  • Low school attendance / emotional based school avoidance
  • Situational mutism
  • Social exclusion
  • Trauma

How does it work?

Sessions are on a weekly basis, happening on the same day and at the same time, lasting for 40-minutes.

Individual play therapy: A minimum of 12 sessions are scheduled initially, but more sessions are often needed based on the severity of needs. Therapy is not a quick fix, particularly if there are factors which are ongoing.

Group play therapy: A maximum of 10 sessions are scheduled, consisting of up to 4 children. Children will explore different perspectives of their referral reason through metaphor, and begin to bring these to the conscious for exploration, as they understand their own behaviours, feelings and thoughts in the context of a social group.

During the session, children can decide how they spend their session from the play therapy toolkit including: sand, music, art, clay, story, puppets, role-play, dressing-up, games, movement, Lego, construction and toys.

What are the benefits of play therapy?

  • Play is a child’s natural form of communication and children respond well when they do not feel pressure to speak about what is going on for them
  • Improves communication, confidence and concentration and fosters imagination and creativity
  • Up to 84% effectiveness and improvement rate
  • Supports social and emotional development
  • Group play therapy provides the opportunity to learn and practice, in a small scale, social skills of real-life situations. Through play, they will be able to try out new communication ways with peers and the therapist, watch and learn from others interactions; they will have a safe environment to explore and express themselves in a social context while keeping the boundaries of safety. Children are able to examine, modify, and enhance their self-concept.

Anti-bullying including Cyber Bullying - Termly anti-bullying assemblies, planned and lead by our behaviour lead Lara Akinfie, are held to ensure all children are aware of what bullying is and what to do in order to STOP it.

Pupils take part in anti-bullying workshops, led by ‘Bigfoot Arts Education’. Bigfoot’s interactive anti-bullying programmes for KS1 and KS2 aim to encourage children to respect themselves and each other at school, in their homes, in the community and online. The workshops will promote the importance of speaking out against bullying and what we can do to stop it. Following these workshops, pupils take part in regular follow up lessons during our PSHE units to ensure anti-bullying is woven throughout our curriculum. 

Mental Health Champions - At this crucial stage of development, children are learning to navigate their emotions, build relationships, and develop a sense of self. We partner with ‘One Goal’ to deliver training sessions to our year 5 pupils. The training empowers children to take a more proactive approach to managing their own mental health. By incorporating this into pupils' educational experience, we all work together to create a safe and nurturing environment that promotes learning, growth, and success.

Alongside this, we have a whole school approach with ‘One Goal’ who deliver termly resilience building and well-being workshops. This equips our children to build resilience, develop healthy coping mechanisms, and cultivate a positive outlook on life.

Talk boxes - There is a talk box in every classroom, as not all children are comfortable in sharing information publicly.  Children are encouraged to write their name and put it in the box, should they have any worries or concerns they want to talk to an adult about. These are checked daily by class teachers and members of the pastoral team.

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