Our wellbeing hub has been an extremely important recent addition to Alt Bridge. In 2020, we established a new space within school called the wellbeing hub. School have appointed four additional learning mentors who offer a significant level of support to our students and their families. The team is led by Miss Pritchard, our Pupil Welfare Coordinator and each mentor h as an allocated year group or class to work with.
The wellbeing hub is situated in the middle of the main school building and has three individual therapy spaces which provide quiet and safe spaces for students to access additional support. The range of therapeutic interventions available through the hub has grown significantly to now provide a full menu of support. Provisions are allocated to students on a needs-led basis for planned provision.
As well as planned provisions, the wellbeing hub often offers immediate support to students who may feel that they need to talk and speak to someone in confidence. Our mentors establish positive relationships with students and work closely with parents and carers.
Our team of learning mentors includes;
- Miss Pritchard – Pupil Welfare Coordinator and learning mentor for year 11
- Miss Stockton – Learning Mentor for post-16
- Miss Townson – Learning Mentor for year 10
- Miss Newton – Learning Mentor for year 8/9
- Miss Freeman – Learning Mentor for year 7/8
Our mentors are keen to work closely with parents and carers and are always happy to help with any query or concern related to the needs of students.
Menu of support for students
Our mentors are trained to deliver a range of therapeutic interventions and for those students who may require a more specialised approach, we have commission a range of services. The therapeutic interventions available through the wellbeing hub include;
Drawing and talking
Each mentor is trained in the Drawing and Talking approach. Often, children can find it difficult to express their emotions verbally. This approach enables students to process any thoughts that they may need to share in order to move forward through the use of drawing. Whilst talking is encouraged, it is not necessarily what may happen in sessions. These sessions provide an opportunity once per week for 12 weeks for students to express themselves through drawing and talking.
There is more information about Drawing and Talking at the web address;
Learning mentor 1:1 work
Our learning mentors offer mentoring to individual students through an entirely bespoke and needs-led approach. The strategies used are many and varied and are chosen to enable a student to access the curriculum more successfully and achieve good mental health and wellbeing. Our mentors support students with;
– Motivation and engagement
– Social communication
– Mental health
Our mentors have completed a range of training courses focused on Autism, ADHD awareness, communication friendly approaches, mental health and social communication. Most mentors are also trained first aiders and have knowledge and experience supporting students with medical needs.
Focused group work
Our mentors often coordinate focused group activities for a specific purpose. Through the support of the wellbeing hub, groups of students have engaged in the following activities recently;
– Anti-bullying workshops
– Young Carers workshops
– Healthy relationships
– Brook clinic sessions
– Horse riding at Beechley Stables
Group activities are often designed to respond to a shared need amongst the wider student population and often involve joint planning and collaboration with specialist agencies.
Circle of Friends
The ‘circle of friends’ approach was developed by Forest et al (1993) in America. It offers a structured intervention based on the belief that a person’s judgments about their behaviour and that of others, can be influenced by the social situation. The intervention uses small-group sessions to give one specific child positive attention to help them interpret and respond to their environment and social situations with understanding.
All of our mentors are able to deliver a Circle of Friends approach which provides peer social support around a targeted student who may be experiencing some difficulties during unstructured times.
Often a child’s peers are best placed to help a student who may be struggling with friendships as they are able to consider ways to include each other. It is important that our approaches provide the right kind of support for the friends of the targeted student so they understand the best ways to help, whilst there is also consideration for the needs of the peers.
Our mentors provide LEGO club to groups of students. LEGO club is a talk-based intervention which provides a social communication structure around an enjoyable activity – LEGO building. The sessions provide students with a structure to communicate with each other and provide clear instructions, requests and ideas. The sessions help students to develop an understanding of the needs of listeners when they are communicating with others and also provides coaching for how to give clear information, requests and instructions to others.
LEGO club can help students with turn-taking, changing roles within a social scenario, developing a growth mindset, listening skills and also with applying language and social communication skills.
In addition to the above, our wellbeing hub provides areas for our commissioned services to also work with students. You can find out more about our commissioned services and what they offer on our Therapies at Alt Bridge page;
Support for parents/carers
Alt Bridge School is committed to partnership working with parents and carers. The views and involvement of parents/carers is key to ensuring the best possible outcomes through the provisions we offer.
In addition to the involvement of parents/carers in meetings, pastoral support planning, referrals to outside agencies or commissioned services and day-to-day contact, our mentors also offer Early Help assessments (EHAT). The EHAT process is designed to support families to access support from a range of services. By capturing the holistic needs of families through the assessment, the purpose is to then identify the right sources of support which will help to achieve the best outcomes for our learners. Learning Mentors will coordinate this support through regular meetings whilst the EHAT remains open with a family.
Further information about EHATs can be found at the Knowsley Family Information Service website at the link below;