Wolverhampton primary school to create new centre for emotional wellbeing

A resource centre for children with special educational and emotional needs is to be built at a Wolverhampton primary school.

An artist's impression of the plans for the new resource centre at St Michael's Primary School, Tettenhall. Photo: Wood/Goldstraw/Yorath
An artist's impression of the plans for the new resource centre at St Michael's Primary School, Tettenhall. Photo: Wood/Goldstraw/Yorath

Council bosses have given the go-ahead for the new facility to be created at St Michael’s CE Primary School in Lower Street, Tettenhall.

The additional accommodation, which will be named 'The Ark’, has been specially designed to provide an environment that will nurture the social, emotional and mental health needs of pupils aged four to 11 years old.

Facilities will include two new classrooms with a range of sensory equipment, and the school will also be introducing an enhanced Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) curriculum focused on specific areas of need for individuals.

Councillor Dr Michael Hardacre, cabinet member for education and skills, said: “This comes as a result of very careful investigation, negotiation and consultation with the community associated with St Michael’s CE Primary School in Tettenhall Regis.

“It envisages us moving forward to create a Special Educational Needs (SEND) resource base for children up to the age of 11.

“This is good news, and it complies with other various plans that affect school placements and school numbers. It has been subject to massive consultation, with a 93 per cent ‘yes, let’s get it done’ response from parents, the community and the school itself.

“I commend this report as once again ensuring that Wolverhampton is in a position to provide the best possible education for all its children, and especially those who have special educational needs of varying kinds,” he added.

A statement submitted to the council on behalf of the school said: “Children with social, emotional and mental health difficulties (SEMH) may experience a wide range of difficulties that manifest in many ways. These include becoming withdrawn or isolated, as well as displaying behaviours that challenge.

Difficulties

“It is recognised that these behaviours may reflect underlying mental health difficulties such as anxiety or depression, self-harm, substance misuse, eating disorders or physical symptoms that are medically unexplained.

“At the Ark we aim to support children whose SEMH needs mean they need provision that is not routinely found within mainstream educational settings.

“Our service is positioned to support children whose SEMH needs present primarily through behaviours which make them vulnerable: attachment needs, anxiety, low mood, low self-esteem etc.

“Core to all we do at The Ark are positive relationships. As opposed to discipline, caring and respecting is what changes the behaviour of pupils,” it added.

“Showing pupils that they matter and genuinely emotionally investing in their development makes the most significant difference for them.

“Supporting pupils to embrace different learning opportunities, whether that be gardening, creating a sculpture or visiting a local place of interest, helps pupils to see that there is a life beyond their school.

“Many pupils with SEMH lose out on these opportunities because their behaviour is a barrier. But for these pupils, for whom school is a place which lowers their self-esteem, engaging with things outside of school is often a turning point.

“Providing a curriculum that promotes positive mental health and emotional wellbeing is fundamental to the development of the pupils in our care.”

The proposal was agreed unanimously by members of Wolverhampton Council’s cabinet resources panel.

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