On Wednesday 22nd March, the HeadStart Schools Team brought together Wolverhampton headteachers, senior leaders, and other key staff from schools to an evening Schools Engagement event at Colton Hills Secondary School.
The schools invited to attend came from four key areas of the city for HeadStart, selected on the basis of a needs analysis performed for our phase 3 Big Lottery Bid in 2016.
The four areas are:
- Low Hill, Bushbury South and The Scotlands
- Heath Town, Springfield, Park Village, Old Heath and Eastfield
- Bilston East
- Blakenhall, All Saints, Parkfields and Ettingshall
Representatives from 18 schools (primary, secondary, special and PRU) attended the session. Where schools were unable to attend, the Schools’ team will be going out to meet them over the coming weeks; a number of these meetings had already preceded the meeting.
The event provided an opportunity for schools within all four designated areas to meet The HeadStart Schools Team and to learn how HeadStart will support them in delivering a new curriculum and in carrying out initial screenings, audits and evaluations with young people.
The event began with a brief introduction from the Head of Service for HeadStart, Kevin Pace. Kevin provided an overview of the development of the HeadStart programme, and introduced delegates to the information and resources in the ‘goody bags’ provided for them to take away.
Kevin then handed over to Dave Hill from SUMO (Stop, Understand, Move On), who gave an interactive and engaging overview of SUMO as a core part of the HeadStart schools’ curriculum. Dave’s workshop included lots of opportunities for discussion between colleagues working in schools in the same geographic areas … it also included a brief, dramatic appearance by our Sumo Apprentice aka Emerson from our Media and Comms team.
Dave looked at the following SUMO themes, and how SUMO thinking can support young people in changing their thinking and behaviours:
- Change your T-Shirt
- Remember the Beachball
- Fruity Thinking
- Hippo Time is OK
- Learn Latin
- Dare to Dream (Ditch Doris Day)
As part of the ‘Change your T-Shirt’ theme, delegates were asked to ‘graffiti’ the back of HeadStart t-shirts with a list of challenges for the young people they work with. Some of the key issues that were identified were:
- GCSEs / team stress / pressure to succeed
- Online issues: sexting, cyberbullying, access to inappropriate content
- Teenage pregnancy
- Low aspirations
- Lack of confidence
- Parental and family issues
- Peer pressure
- Domestic violence
At the end of Dave’s session, delegates were asked to reflect on HeadStart and the SUMO principles and write on the front of their t-shirts how they believe HeadStart will help improve their school. Their T-shirt graffiti referenced themes including:
- Out of school activities
- Parental engagement
- Community inclusion
- Mentoring for students
- Change mindset
- Improving emotional well being
- Happy, healthy, resilient and caring students
- Allowing for integration and reintegration
- Raising aspirations
- Supporting students in being inspired by their dreams
To complete the session, Emma Tomblin, Senior HeadStart Schools Coordinator looked ahead to the next steps for schools in Wolverhampton:
- The ongoing development of a new schools’ curriculum, for launch in September 2017. Schools will shortly be invited to a curriculum development overview meeting in mid-May, to contribute to this development process and understand the approach to the curriculum.
- The process for the national evaluation survey, to be completed by all Year 7 students in secondary and special schools in the four target areas.
Feedback from the meeting was really positive. Here is some of the feedback from school staff that attended:
- "It was great to meet the teams and to identify what is needed in our locality"
- “Kids are so enthusiastic. Only great things can happen!”
- “I was slightly anxious at first to see how it would fit in but now I’m feeling optimistic”
- “Feeling positive about how much HeadStart has developed”
- “Exactly what our school needs!”
- “Looking forward to up-skilling our staff and developing consistency across the school”
The HeadStart Schools Team would like to say thank you to all of the schools who attended the event and a huge thank you to Colton Hills Secondary School for hosting the event. Don’t forget to:
- Book your place on the HeadStart Spring Conference, with keynotes from Jackie Beere, Margo Sunderland, and Ken Corish
- Subscribe to our HeadStart monthly newsletter
We are all very excited about what's to come and look forward to working with you all!