Parent & Pupil Support
Dear Parent & Carers,
My name is Debbie Stoner and I am the Pastoral Lead here at Halling Primary School. You are most likely to see me out on the gate of a morning, greeting you as you arrive so please do come and say hello!
Prior to accepting the position here at Halling Primary School in November 2020, I worked as a Pastoral Lead for five years in another primary school in Kent and prior to that I worked for the Early Help Team as a Family Support Worker. Both these roles provided me with a wealth of experience and knowledge of working with children with varying social, emotional and mental health needs.
As a professional, I am very passionate, dedicated and committed to promoting positive mental health and working closely with children and their families around their emotional health and wellbeing. I strongly believe that home school partnership is paramount and feel it is essential that we work together collaboratively as a team throughout your child’s time here with us. With the government recognising the need for mental health support in schools now, more than ever it is essential that we work together to beat the stigma and encourage children to speak openly about their feelings and emotions.
My main responsibilities as Pastoral Lead currently are planning for and developing pastoral interventions that are unique to individual children, working closely with parents and carers around varying subjects that affect home life such as housing, separation, bereavement, mental health, domestic abuse, financial issues and more. I endeavour throughout my practice to look holistically at what support I can offer the whole family and keep the child at the centre of everything I do.
What does the pastoral provision look like at Halling Primary School?
Before working with your child, I would always encourage you to come and meet with me before sessions begin and to work together with myself throughout the process. Through my experience as Pastoral Lead, I have found it is far more beneficial and effective when school and home work together as we recognise that how a child presents in school may be very different to what they do at home or vice versa. Pastoral interventions will not replace lessons in reading, writing or mathematics and will usually take place throughout the afternoon. To give the sessions a name, we will call them ELSA sessions. ELSA stands for Emotional Literacy Support Assistant and in order to become a trained ELSA, you will have had to have been trained and supervised by an educational psychologist. Throughout these sessions, I do however combine the tools, techniques and strategies that I have learnt through other training and experiences such as draw and talk, using CBT techniques to build resilience in children, resilience training and mental health first aid.
Before sessions begin, the teacher, parent/carer and child will be asked to complete a short assessment and together come up with a realistic and age related target that could for example help them with regulating their emotions, managing anger, managing anxiety, building self-esteem or developing social skills. Programmes generally usually last for 6-8 weeks once a week but this - once again - can vary for the individual child and the level of their need. We see this provision as a universal service available to all families and we would take this step first before referring to outside agencies such as CAHMS or emotional wellbeing services.
For some families, you may only ever see me on the gate but please feel reassured that I always have time to listen and will always do my best to support you and your children the best way I can.
I look forward to working with you.
Enquiries via the school office by phone on 01634240258 or 07833051934