Therapeutic Thinking and our policy
Therapeutic Thinking complements our school ethos and values and supports the approach the school has taken for several years, giving a theoretical backing to what staff have known instinctively is the right way to support children who have had adverse childhood experiences which can then lead to difficult behaviour. Therapeutic Thinking is about creating a culture in which each child is given the help he or she needs to overcome those barriers to learning and achieve success, and can be complemented by more intensive therapeutic interventions.
Our staff and students deserve to work in a school where they are treated with courtesy and respect; therefore, a cornerstone of therapeutic thinking is that every school’s behaviour policy must explain how to create a calm and safe learning environment for all members of the school community. Part of this includes having consistent (but not rigid) ways of dealing with pro and anti-social behaviours. The consequences given for anti-social behaviour are either educational, for example helping the student to understand the impact of their behaviour, or protective, preventing them from behaving in anti-social ways until they receive the support they need that helps them to make better decisions.
Therapeutic Thinking prioritises the pro social feelings of everyone within a dynamic and the creation of a positive classroom, which helps everyone to feel safe, secure and self-confident so they can better regulate their emotions which results in improvements in learning and behaviour, promoting positive, responsible and increasingly independent members of the school community and society.
What is ‘Therapeutic Thinking’?
Therapeutic Thinking was developed by Angela Wadham, an experienced professional in the field of child behaviour. Therapeutic Thinking recognises that some children have been unlucky enough to experience a range of Adverse Child Experiences (ACEs) and that children who have experienced higher numbers of ACEs are likely to have fewer positive outcomes in areas such as physical and mental health, behaviours, attendance, relationships and educational attainment.
Why 'Therapeutic Thinking'?
Summerlea school is involved in a five-year initiative on Therapeutic Thinking that has been introduced across West Sussex Local Authority. Whilst we have very good behaviour and low fixed term suspensions / exclusions, West Sussex’s aim is to have a significant impact on reducing these across the county. The Therapeutic Thinking approach is a core aspect of their SEND and Inclusion Strategy 2019-24, and it is a key driver for improving expertise and support for inclusion in schools, pre-school and post 16 education settings. Most importantly, we believe that the therapeutic approach is absolutely the right thing for our children and families.
The Therapeutic Thinking approach compliments our school mission ‘growing thoughtful learners and independent thinkers’ and aims to formalise good practice and build consistency. With Mrs Galpin, Mrs Strong and the Inclusion team having completed a comprehensive training programme, the school’s aim is to now improve therapeutic approaches to behaviours across the school.
Click the attachment below to download a copy of the Summerlea Behaviour Policy.