building a network of specialist creative arts therapy in our schools

We have been very fortunate to have a close working relationship with Oval Learning and Windmill clusters of schools: as groups of schools we share a similar vision for our schools’ communities in our area. Oval Learning led on a joint National Lottery Covid 19 response fund bid with us and Windmill, and we were able to secure funding from Walcot Foundation, our local charity, which has allowed us to offer specialist creative arts therapy services to a number of primary schools since September, working with pupils who have been in desperate need of additional therapeutic support during these turbulent times. The whole process has been an opportunity for us to learn and value what this kind of support can bring to school – not only for the targeted pupils who have been able to access 1 to 1 support over a period of time, using the arts to explore and express their feelings and needs, but also to support parents and staff in the school. We currently have a number of highly qualified, experienced therapists who understand our school contexts and have been adapting to continue their support either remotely using video conferencing, on the phone or in risk assessed socially distanced face to face sessions since January. Many of them are offering sessions to staff as part of their day, checking in on parents, being as flexible as they can.
Our challenge now is to find ways to sustain this service which has proved so valuable to support a whole school approach to good mental health and recovery.
We are very grateful to the funding support from National Lottery and Walcot Foundation, which has enabled this work to happen.