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The impact of Place2Be’s whole-school service on pupils in Salford

The impact of Place2Be’s whole-school service on pupils in Salford

Julia Barker

Julia Barker

Place2Be Area Manager - Julia started her journey at Place2Be in 2013 working as a School Project Manager in primary and secondary schools, before becoming a Cluster Manager and now Area Manager. Her background also includes working with adults, children and young people as a counsellor, and as a counselling lecturer, teaching counselling skills to adult learners. 

The Law Family Salford Research Programme is a three-year research study assessing the impact of Place2Be’s services on the whole school. One year into the programme, Area Manager Julia Barker looks at what children in primary schools think about having Place2Be in their school.

At Place2Be, we believe in a whole-school approach to improve the mental wellbeing of pupils, families and staff. To ensure this, we offer a range of mental health support services that benefit the whole school. 

I think Place2Be is not just about feelings, but I think it's giving people confidence to do more things like. I think if before Place2Be, I was like I was a bit, well, I've never been shy, but I think I've just stepped up my game and become more confident to stand up and speak in front of the class … and I think just having a Place2Be there just makes me more comfortable, even not going in there. Primary school pupil


Our Place2Talk service continues to be well-received in schools. Pupils can book a 15-minute appointment with a Place2Be counsellor to talk about their problems and worries.

"I used to feel sad and all alone and had no one to talk to, so I spoke with the Mental Health Practitioner, and it made me feel better. Just talking to someone that you don’t really know can make you feel better, and you know she will keep what you say safe." - Primary School Pupil

"Every time you go and tell the Mental Health Practitioner about your worries, she never gets fed up. She always listens, she takes things into consideration, so she doesn't just ignore it and say just get on with it, she actually just talks about it and finds ways that you can solve it. It’s so good that we have somewhere we can come and talk about our feelings." - Primary School Pupil

Transition workshops

Transitioning to secondary or high school can feel like a huge leap for children and their families. Workshops were carried out during the summer term for Year 6 pupils to help support them with their transition to high school.

"Thank you for running these classes. I feel better about high school. We talked about things that I was thinking about but couldn’t say to anyone. It is good to know that my friends are feeling some of the same things, and we can talk about them now." - Year 6 Pupil

One-to-one counselling

One-to-one counselling is provided to all year groups. One pupil in Year 5 received Place2Be counselling due to problems with peer relationships. She did not feel confident communicating her needs in class and was struggling to keep up with classwork. At the end of her sessions, she told the Mental Health Practitioner, "I am able to focus more in class, and I can finish my work. My friendships are better because I can solve problems."

Journey of Hope

The pupils are excited to participate in the Journey of Hope groupwork, which is designed to help children and young people learn positive coping mechanisms and develop resilience and confidence.

"Most people should do Journey of Hope because it's a great place and it makes you feel better." - Year 4 Boy

"I feel more confident and feel like my self-esteem has grown. I got to know more people, and they are friends now." - Year 4 Girl

Another Year 4 pupil struggling with anger told the Mental Health Practitioner, “I have become more confident. I don't worry about things anymore. I feel like I can control my anger more”.

"Before Place2Be, I basically had nowhere to go, so I had to keep in all my emotions, and I would hold back... but now we have Place2Be, I just let it all out." - Primary School Pupil

The need for Place2Be’s service

It’s clear that the Place2Be service has had an impact on the pupils, families, and school staff in Salford who are participating in the Law Family Research Programme.

"She has been fantastic, really. Less anxious and less panicky." - Parent of Year 5 Girl in one-to-one intervention

"I’ve seen a big improvement. He is much happier. Place2Be has been a great outlet for him to talk." - Parent of Year 5 Boy in one-to-one intervention

"I can notice a difference since she has been having the sessions, and a couple of people have commented on how she looks brighter and a bit chattier. She's opening up more to me as well; getting her to talk was one of the struggles, so I'm pleased with that." - Parent of a year Year 6 Girl in one-to-one intervention.

According to one of the Primary School Mental Health Practitioners, "What was interesting was initially walking into the school and thinking there won't be many issues as it's only a one-form entry school. However, from the onset, the Place2Be service has been utilised to full capacity, illustrating that the need is huge. Whether that be a child coming to discuss a friendship concern via a self-referred Place2Talk or a child disclosing that life is too much during a one-to-one session. I have seen first-hand the positive impact that Place2Be has had and continues to have, on all service users - child, parent, and teacher. The staff and teachers are very supportive and have embraced the service with open arms. Understanding the need is paramount.’"

Learn more about the Law Family Research Programme

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