Blessed Sacrament Primary School – Hear us roar!

Since completing the ROAR training, learning mentors and colleagues at Blessed Sacrament Primary School in Aintree have been adopting the Reflective, Objective, Assessment, Reassurance (ROAR) approach in many aspects of day-to-day school life.

The ROAR approach uses a range of tools that enable staff to talk to children, while also helping children themselves to identify how they’re feeling, expressing and communicating their needs. One of these tools is the ROAR rainbow.

To achieve a whole school approach to ROAR a twilight training session was attended by over 100 members of staff at all levels: the safeguarding team; assistant headteacher; learning mentors; admin staff and lunchtime supervisors. This was followed by a workshop for parents and carers.

Speaking about the staff benefits of the training, Jane Griffin, mental health lead, said: “We have seen increased knowledge and vocabulary used with the children. Staff also has an awareness of children’s needs and the bigger picture outside of school life, monitoring vulnerable groups with regards to attendance, appearance and emotional wellbeing.

“ROAR has helped to build better relationships between staff and children; staff are now equipped to identify when children are struggling and provide the correct support.”

Jane said: “There is now one system in place that we all adhere to. At any point in the day, children can share where they are on the rainbow, knowing staff are there to listen, offer support and identify next steps if needed.

“This has helped the children to build resilience, developing a skill set that they can use as they move through life.”

The rainbow has become an intrinsic part of school life; staff and children can have a conversation about where they are at any time of the day, even staff lanyards now feature the ROAR rainbow.

Classroom walls display a poster of the ROAR rainbow and ‘Resilient Ralph’ encouraging children to use as talking tools.

ROAR is included in formal lesson observation proformas and reflected on during lesson observations. It’s also a fundamental part of the school’s behaviour policy; enabling staff to spot the big question with regards to children’s needs and respond accordingly.

The programme has helped children in all year groups but in particular those with SEND and EAL. Using the rainbow approach, one EAL boy who previously struggled to communicate his needs is now able to share why he is low and appropriate support can be given.

Recognising the importance and value of working with families, Blessed Sacrament Primary School delivered ROAR through workshops to parents and carers. Information was shared on the website and through the school behaviour policy.

The model is promoted throughout the school on posters, and an information leaflet was issued to every child explaining the strategy and programme during the initial set up.

Jane said: “We would recommend ROAR to other schools, it really has transformed behaviour throughout the school for both staff and children, providing a common language. Children recognise it’s alright to not always be a ‘10’ on the rainbow and use strategies to empower themselves in moving forward.”

ROAR doesn’t stop there for Blessed Sacrament. The school has been selected as a pilot setting to train and develop The ROCKET programme.

Complementing ROAR principles, ROCKET is a one-day, interactive course for primary aged children teaching them to become resilience champions within their schools. The role of the group is to look at what the school already does to promote resilience, but also where the areas for improvement are, and how the champions can make a positive difference.

The training was delivered to fifteen year-five children to become peer mediators. These children now wear their own ROCKET hoodies and are on duty each day supporting peers and helping to build their resilience.

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