Grimes Dyke Primary School in Leeds served a disadvantaged part of the city; 51.4% of the pupils were entitled to free school meals, compared to 23% nationally. While their pupils were not in care, they had often experienced chaotic, disrupted lives that meant that they had missed out on many movement experiences that their bodies needed to be able to meet the demands of school.
After discussions with their head teacher, the BUSS team agreed to focus initially on two year groups: Year One and Year Six. A training day was staged for all of the staff who worked with those year groups, and Sarah Lloyd joined classes on different days in the gym, to look specifically at core strength, stability, upper body strength, bilateral integration and sequencing and the extent to which children’s movements were smooth, well-modulated and well-coordinated. From those sessions it was identified that eleven children in each group could benefit most from a focused intervention.
With the ordering of a small amount of equipment and plans from Sarah for class- and group-based interventions, the school began work training staff in the BUSS model and helping those children most affected acquire therapy.
Sarah’s reflections on this:
Louise Hill, Headteacher at Grimes Dyke Primary School, reflections on the intervention:
In Sarah’s NHS work, commissioned by Jane Mischenko, Children’s Commissioner, she has set up a partnership with Leeds Virtual School and Meadowfield Primary School in Leeds to work with children who are looked after before they start school.
The virtual school funded a pilot of early intervention BUSS programme for pre-school children who are looked after, working in partnership with the virtual school and Meadowfield Primary School. We are now a small team including specialists from education and the therapeutic social work team working from Meadowfield.
Piloting this work has provided an opportunity to:
Children were followed up into their host schools and support given to the schools to continue the work on building sensorimotor systems.
We’ve currently run one cohort of this intervention, and evaluation is being conducted by University College London. Initial results look promising, and funding has been agreed for this project to continue, lowering the starting age of the children to two years. It is hoped that this work could be developed in other areas, offering a combination of training and joint work.
Alex Clark’s (Associate Headteacher at Meadowfield School) reflection on the intervention:
Jancis Andrew’s (Head of the Virtual School) reflection on the intervention:
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