SUMO In Schools: The HeadStart Journey so far

The HeadStart Schools team have been busy on their SUMO Journey, delivering the SUMO message (Stop, Understand, Move On) to staff and pupils in our HeadStart Schools.  The key message of SUMO is illustrated in the video below: we all have things that get us down from time-to-time but without the appropriate coping skills and support, it can be very hard to get back up from life’s set-backs. SUMO can help with this!

SUMO Staff Training

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Over 300 school staff in 11 HeadStart schools have now received staff training on the six key SUMO principles:

  • Change your T-Shirt
  • Develop Fruity Thinking
  • Hippo Time is OK
  • Remember the Beach Ball
  • Learn Latin
  • Dare to Dream.

These principles are aimed to provide both adults and children alike with useful techniques, strategies and life-skills to help build their resilience and enhance their emotional well-being:

SUMO on a page (please click to see full-size)

What school staff have said …

Thank you - a real eye opener.
Guiding me to look after myself as well as do the job I do. My personal life is equally as important as my work! Fantastic training!
Makes you stop and realise it’s important to take time for yourself. Thanks!
The practical parts give you a good understanding of how to implement it in school. Can’t wait to use with the students!
Brilliant session - need to read the book!
All of the aspects can easily be applied in class and will have a positive impact on the children and staff.

Feedback from SUMO School Nurse Training

Watch now: Paul McGee introduces key SUMO ideas to delegates at the HeadStart Autumn Conference on Oct. 3rd, 2017

SUMO Based Resilience Programme in School

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Delivery has now started in our HeadStart Primary and Secondary schools across Wolverhampton for our SUMO based Resilience Programme, which is our flagship programme for HeadStart. 

The programme consists of between 8-12 sessions delivered throughout the year and includes the six SUMO principles.  It is hoped that pupils will begin to use and embed the SUMO Principles and language to help them become more resilient and provide them with different tools to help them deal with life’s many challenges.

SUMO Day at Bushbury Hill Primary School

On 2nd January 2018, Bushbury Hill Primary School launched SUMO across Years 1-6.  They dedicated a whole day to SUMO to give all pupils an introduction and a taster of the six SUMO principles.  The day began with a whole-school assembly and then the children went into their classes to explore the different SUMO principles individually throughout the rest of the day

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Year 6 pupils spent the day beginning their SUMO based Resilience Programme and as part of this, had fun making their own weebles out of plastic eggs, playdough and craft materials.  For those of you old enough to remember (!), the key message of a weeble is that ‘weebles wobble and they never fall down!”  which is a key message of resilience that we are trying to reinforce with all the young people we are working with. Weebles are a great way of illustrating this!

Bushbury Hill Primary School SUMO display

Bushbury Hill Primary School SUMO display

Weeble made by a Year 6 pupil – Bushbury Hill Primary School

Weeble made by a Year 6 pupil – Bushbury Hill Primary School

In combination with the launch, Bushbury Hill Primary School now has a dedicated SUMO space in the school corridor to display the SUMO principles and create a real buzz around the school.

Going forwards, the school will be focusing on one SUMO principle each half term which will begin with an assembly launch followed by a SUMO lesson based around that principle in each year group for reinforcement.

All HeadStart Schools now have access to these individual lesson plans for Years 1-6 for each of the SUMO principles, some of which are accompanied by a selection of rich and thoughtful fictional texts to articulate the SUMO messages further in a child-friendly way.

These lesson plans are hosted online as part of the HeadStart Curriculum:

Online resources: HeadStart Support and Guidance site

For a curated collection of SUMO resources, please visit our new Support and Guidance Platform at


SUMO Assemblies

The schools team have been delighted to have been able to deliver some KS1 and KS2 SUMO themed assemblies in some of our primary schools.  Some of these assemblies have included Dare to dream, Change your t-shirt and Develop fruity thinking. It’s been great going back into these schools where pupils have remembered these principles and are beginning to apply them in their everyday lives. 

Change your t-shirt assembly

Change your t-shirt assembly

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Dare to dream assembly

Dare to dream assembly

Develop Fruity Thinking Assembly

Develop Fruity Thinking Assembly