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Meet Bethan

Meet Bethan

Kirsty Williams, Education Minister for Wales, Bethan (centre), Catherine Roche, Place2Be CEO

‘Parents have transferred their children to our school so they can access Place2Be.’

Place2Be has been working in Windsor Clive Primary School for over ten years. Deputy Head, Bethan, says that Place2Be has made a huge difference to their school community.

"I started working at Windsor Clive twenty-five years ago and have seen first-hand the difference that Place2Be has made to the pupils, parents and staff in our school.

"Our school community faces many socio-economic challenges. 54% of our pupils receive free school meals, 52% of pupils have additional learning needs (ALN) and we are recipients of the Welsh Government’s Pupil Deprivation Grant. Many of our pupils are living in families that face financial hardships mainly due to low income or recent changes in the benefit system. This of course can impact their wellbeing and their behaviour.

"At Windsor Clive our mission is to provide every child with the chance to thrive and succeed every day. For ten years now, Place2Be has helped us to make that more possible; giving our pupils someone to talk to when times are tough and helping them learn how to recognise and communicate their emotions.

"When we first brought Place2Be into the school in 2009, some parents were wary of the implications of their children disclosing worries and fears to a counsellor. Now Place2Be is fully embedded in our school community, parents recognise the positive impact that Place2Be support has on the children and their relationships within their families as well as in school. We’ve even had children transfer from other schools because parents wanted their children to have access to Place2Be.

"Last year, almost half of the pupils at Windsor Clive self-referred to Place2Talk, and 22 accessed one-to-one counselling. According to their teachers and parents, after counselling, the majority of pupils who took part in counselling showed improvements in class and at home.

"We know that in order to support our pupils, sometimes their parents need a little support too – so we’re proud to have a Parent Counsellor through Place2Be who can support parents when they’re having a difficult time. Our parents love Place2Be and are always asking to see Jan (our School Project Manager) to discuss their children - some have even asked her to never retire!

"Jan doesn’t just support our pupils and parents; she’s also there for staff when they need someone to talk to. We’ve timetabled ‘Place2Think’ for staff to encourage them to find the time to speak to Jan. Last year, Jan provided 81 Place2Think sessions to our staff. We recognise that they need support too and that they want to know how best they can support their pupils during difficult times.

"Last year we brought Thrive in to the school to compliment the services that Place2Be provides. Now, in addition to Place2Talk, Place2Think, one-to-one and parent counselling, we have a Wellbeing check-in room as well as a Wellbeing Class for children who might need a little extra support.

"We know that if our pupils are anxious or upset; this will impact their behaviour, and their academic development – which is why we’ve made pupil wellbeing a priority at Windsor Clive.

"Place2Be has enabled us to give much-needed support to our pupils and their families, and we can’t imagine our school without Jan and the Place2Be counsellors. Here’s to the next ten years!"

This blog was written in a personal capacity and does not necessarily reflect the view of the organisation.

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