September safeguarding, PSHE and emotional health training

Welcome back to the new school year. We hope you had a restful summer break and are looking forward to the new term.

We would like to take this opportunity to highlight September’s safeguarding, emotional health and PSHE courses.

Safeguarding for Pastoral Support Staff – tackling the tricky topics together 27th September 9am-4pm

This course is specifically designed for staff (Teaching Assistants, Learning Mentors, Pastoral Leads) who are not DSLs but who deal with increasing numbers of safeguarding and child protection issues on a daily basis and would benefit from the increased knowledge and confidence.

Click here for more information and booking


The roles and responsibilities of a new primary PSHE co-ordinator 12th September 9am-4pm

This course is vital for those new to the role and equips them with the essential guidance, policy, strategy and resources needed to deliver effective PSHE that meets all the local and national requirements.

Click here for more information and booking


Special discount

Loss and bereavement 21st September 9am-12pm

Divorce and separation 21st September 1pm – 4pm

These popular courses are designed to give school staff the necessary skills, understanding and resources to deal sensitively and effectively with children and young people experiencing major life trauma.

SPECIAL DISCOUNT – Book a place on one course and get a place on the other for half price.

Click here for more information and booking – Loss and Bereavement

Click here for more information and booking – Divorce and Separation


If you would like to discuss any bespoke in-school training please feel free to contact



Safer Recruitment Training – 2016/17 dates

This nationally accredited one day training course provides a face to face alternative to the online training available.

Audience: Senior staff and Governors from schools and education services, who are involved in recruitment, selection and appointment of staff
Aim: To assist schools and services to improve processes that help deter, reject or identify people who might abuse children or who are otherwise unsuited to working with them. Also to assist schools and services to meet the mandatory requirements of the Staffing Regulations, concerning staff appointment interviews
By the end of the course participants will have:
– an awareness of the scale of abuse
– an understanding of aspects of offender behaviour, characteristics of abusers and of how child sex abusers typically operate within organisations
– an understanding of safer recruitment procedures including conducting structured interviews
– an awareness of the need to create and maintain a safer culture within the school or service

Time: 9.00am – 4.30pm

Cost: £245 (Less 20% discount for schools that subscribe to the Health Education Service)

Click on the required date to book

11th October, Health Education Service Training Centre, Midland Croft, B33 0AW

17th November, Warwick House, Edward Street, B1 2RX

13th December, Health Education Service Training Centre, Midland Croft, B33 0AW

11th January, Warwick House, Edward Street, B1 2RX

16th February, Health Education Service Training Centre, Midland Croft, B33 0AW

16th March, Warwick House, Edward Street, B1 2RX

25th April, Health Education Service Training Centre, Midland Croft, B33 0AW

23rd May, Warwick House, Edward Street, B1 2RX

7th June, Health Education Service Training Centre, Midland Croft, B33 0AW

11th July, Warwick House, Edward Street, B1 2RX

Mindfulness – Fad or force for good in education?


Mindfulness. You might well have heard the term… but does it have a place in the modern classroom?

What exactly does it mean?

The term is used to mean the state of being conscious and aware of your surroundings.  In therapeutic terms it is having a mental state achieved by focusing your awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting your feelings and thoughts.

So how is that relevant to teaching?

Without Mindfulness we all just act out whatever arises in our consciousness; it is mindless, no conscious thoughts are steering it, like a computer running a programme.  We all do it all the time.  Have you ever found yourself at the end of a car trip from point A to point B and don’t remember the journey or have you ever eaten a meal without really tasting it? If so, you recognise what it is to be unmindful.

When anger comes up in our mind, without mindful awareness (of the anger as just an emotion that is arising), then our mind is taken over by the anger.   Children begin to act out the emotion of anger that has arisen – they speak angrily and act angrily.  The same goes for sadness, fear, worry or restlessness.

With strongly developed Mindfulness, we begin to discover that we can see those emotions just as they are….as just strong emotions that have arisen in our consciousness…and we have a choice as to whether or not they take over the mind, and a choice as to whether or not we will act them out.

Is there really something to it? 

There is a link between meditation and mindfulness.  In order to be fully aware of what is happening in their bodies and to their emotions children will need to calm down and listen to their bodies – this does involve focussing on relaxation and often listening to a short script to relax.  In practice adults often have a problem with letting go and relaxing in a “public space”, children are usually fine with it (after an initial giggle or two).

What benefits does it have?

Research over the past few decades has found that mindfulness training develops: Increased attention; Increased working memory, planning, organization, and impulse control; Decreased hyperactivity and impulsivity; Fewer conduct and anger management problems; Increased emotional regulation; Increased self-calming; Increased social skills and social compliance; Increased care for others; Increased sense of calmness, relaxation, and self-acceptance; and Increased self-esteem.  Can you afford not to try it?

So where can I find out more?  How do I fit this into a programme of study?

There are many moments in the school day where a mindful approach can be used – focussing on the natural environment when outdoors, encouraging the class to take a few deep breaths, focussing only on themselves or advocating children are gentle and kind with themselves rather than anxious and stressed.  Mindfulness can occur in all of these moments, but like any skill it takes dedicated time to develop it and master it, therefore incorporating it into a scheme of work will have the most pronounced benefits.

At Services for Education we are working with Jigsaw PSHE to offer a programme of support for schools.  Jigsaw is a comprehensive programme incorporating PSHCE, SEAL objectives, Relationships and Sex Education and emotional and social learning.  Lessons are taught as a discrete subject but the values taught permeate the curriculum and assemblies.  At the heart of the Jigsaw approach is using Mindfulness to encourage pupils to be aware of their feelings and emotions at all times, thus giving them a choice of reactions to any situation, instead of being caught up in the heat of the moment as so often happens in schools and in life.

If you are interested in finding out more about the Jigsaw philosophy please contact  or visit


2016 Birmingham Primary and Early Years Leaders Conference

We are delighted to announce the details of the 2016 Birmingham Primary and Early Years Conference.  This year the annual event will be held on November 3rd and 4th at Chesford Grange Hotel, Kenilworth. We are very pleased to welcome over the two days a diverse range of keynote speakers including:

  • Sir John Jones, author, international speaker and educational commentator
  • Professor Christine Pascal, Centre for Research in Early Childhood
  • Russell Hobby, NAHT General Secretary
  • Lord Digby Jones, Cross Bench Peer in the House of Lords, Director General of the CBI 2000-06,Minister of State for Trade & Investment 2007-08
  • National Association of School Based Teacher Trainers
  • Colin Diamond CBE, Executive Director for Education, Birmingham City Council
  • Tim Boyes, Chief Executive, Birmingham Education Partnership

In addition there will be opportunities within the programme for delegates to participate in more focused sessions and discussions around different issues and challenges, how we respond to these, and how as leaders we can work together to ensure the best possible outcomes for our children.

We are living through challenging and shifting times. The conference aims to support school leaders in considering the implications of current education policy, local and national issues, and give leadership teams time to reflect upon the consequences for their schools and communities, and how best to respond to prepare our young people for the future. We encourage leadership teams to attend to create a dedicated thinking space to formulate plans and strategies to deal effectively with the rapidly and significantly changing educational landscape.

Dates: 3rd & 4th November 2016

Venue: Chesford Grange Hotel, Kenilworth, CV8  2LD


  • Two people, both days plus overnight £995
  • One person, both days plus overnight £575
  • One person, one day plus overnight £375
  • One person, one day £275
  • Dinner £50

For speaker information please click here.

To book places click here.Primary conference 2016_Page_1

It’s that time of year again….

It’s that time of year when many schools choose to teach their relationship and sex education scheme of work.  For a teacher who has never delivered it before it can seem daunting to be charged with delivering RSE to a class for the first time.  Even amongst professional adults with a wealth of experience behind them, it is a subject that can bring about nervous laughter. Yet professionals need to be able to draw upon a range of practical resources and tried and tested teaching styles to ensure that such an important area of education can be addressed with confidence.

And it is a really important area of education.  It encompasses the teaching of what a healthy and positive relationship is (some students living with domestic violence won’t necessarily know); it teaches the correct names for body parts and about unwanted touch and the right to say no (in an age appropriate way, giving students a voice); it prepares students for physical and emotional changes that will happen to them in puberty (crucially before it happens to them); it teaches respect and tolerance of those who may not share the same lifestyle choices as you (this is not the same as “promoting” any particular lifestyle choice); it enables students to learn about love and relationships alongside the biology of reproduction so putting a more healthy, wider context to it than just the scientific facts.

Yet, in January this year The Sex Education Forum released a new report which shows that young people’s safety may be at risk due to gaps in relationships and sex education.

In summary, their report, based on a survey of over 2,000 young people aged 11-25, found that:

  • 53% did not learn how to recognise grooming for sexual exploitation
  • More than 40% had not learned about healthy or abusive relationships
  • A third (34%) of young people said they learnt nothing about sexual consent at school
  • Only a quarter (24%) of young people said they learnt about FGM, but the figure increased to 40% amongst 11-13 year-olds, suggesting things are starting to change.
  • Half of those surveyed had not learnt from their primary school about how to get help if you experience unwanted touching or sexual abuse.
  • 16% had not learnt the correct names for genitalia and 17% had not learnt that the genitals are private to you, all key to recognising and reporting abuse.
  • Young people were more likely to have learnt about the difference between safe and unwanted touch from discussions at home than at school
  • Less than half of young people (45%) said they had learnt about this with a parent or carer.


Even if you are a primary school these figures concern you as naming parts of the body comes up in KS1 Science and by shying away from teaching the correct names of genitalia you are potentially putting your children at a higher risk of ongoing sexual abuse as they don’t have the correct language to tell.  There are shocking stories out there of children using “family terms” for genitalia, telling an adult they didn’t like someone touching them there, but the adult didn’t understand this was a disclosure of sexual abuse.   Not giving our children the vocabulary and facts, alongside the skills and attitudes, can have serious consequences.

The non-statutory nature of RSE also means that secondary schools sometimes find themselves playing catch up.  A secondary with many feeder schools may find some students have covered quite a lot of concepts, whereas others haven’t.  No different to the situation other non-core subject teachers find themselves in you might say, but health and wellbeing are at stake.

Schools can choose not to deliver any RSE outside of the statutory science curriculum – but it  would be fair to argue that that is inadequate for the reasons outlined above.  We also cannot presume that our children are learning from parents at home.  However it is wrong to think children have no knowledge or a correct knowledge– TV, Internet, gossip, elder siblings’ chatter, even animal behaviour at the zoo – their minds aren’t empty but are half full of myths and mistakes.  We owe our children the right to a full, broad, balanced, tolerant and factual education.  This is education in its widest sense.

If you feel on reflection that your school’s RSE policy could do with a refresh, or there isn’t really any policy existing, or your staff need support we do offer a variety of programmes of support.

  • The PSHE modelling programme works by an adviser coming into school to meet with SLT/PSHE lead to discuss an area of focus. There is then a series of three lessons: lesson 1 is taught by the adviser with the class teacher observing, then lesson 2 is planned together.  Lesson 2 is co-taught by the adviser and the class teacher, then there is feedback and lesson 3 is planned.  Lesson 3 is taught by the class teacher and the adviser observes and feeds back.  This has proved really successful in increasing staff confidence.  It also then allows the class teacher to model this to other staff members to provide a sustainable project.
  • We have a full RSE consultation programme (or a “lite” version for schools with some practice in place). This provides schools with intensive support from an adviser to audit what is in place, then there is a full pupil, staff and parental consultation package on the teaching of RSE.  From this the policy is rewritten with support from the adviser.
  • Finally, for those communities where parents have not traditionally supported the teaching of RSE in primary schools we have a bespoke parents consultation project where parents can be fully informed of the rationale behind, and teaching strategies used for, RSE.

For further details please see our programme of support booklet or our website or for general enquiries please email .

Understanding Attachment theory – helping children succeed

It is possible that 10 children in every class of 30 have an insecure attachment to their primary caregiver (Chief Medical Officer’s Report 2012 ‘Our Children Deserve Better’).  In school we demand some level of self-control from children who may have no idea what is happening in their bodies; who are not consciously aware of what drives their behaviour.  We have all worked with children who have no appropriate or healthy way to self-soothe.

Attachment is the word used to refer to the relationship developed between an infant and a parent or primary caregiver during the first two to three years of life. The quality of this relationship between parents/carers and young children is one of the most powerful factors in a child’s growth and development.  Many problems or successes throughout childhood, adolescence and into adult life can be traced back to whether or not a child developed a secure attachment as a baby.  A child who does not develop a secure attachment might show anger or aggression to adults and peers. S/He may be fearful and unable to venture away from adults. S/He may find it difficult to be comforted or to feel safe and not respond to warmth from adults.

Feelings of attachment influence later social development and relationships. This primary relationship is the basis for all other relationships. It also lays the foundation for the development of self-concept and self-regulation.

A knowledge and understanding of attachment can be a first step towards supporting these children and helping them to succeed.  This understanding can help us to provide appropriate responses to unexpected behaviour and consider a range of approaches to help these children to feel safe.

We have been offering courses and bespoke in-school training for a year now.  These explore Attachment theory, permanency and consistency, triggers, managing change,  consider the implications for the child, his/her learning and for the school, and look at resources and strategies.

For more information please contact Liz Bates for more information


Our next course is on June 21st. Click the link below for detail and booking.


Teaching in the EYFS – Tell me how and then we will do it!


Teaching in the EYFS has always been area of discussion when working within schools. Comments like, “I don’t feel like I am teaching if I am playing with the children” “I am more comfortable doing an ‘adult led’ activity as I feel like I am teaching properly then”. Comments like this are not unusual but practitioners in early years do value how important it is to not see play and teaching as separate entities. Most importantly though it not just senior leaders, dinner supervisors, and the adults working in schools that need to understand the complexities of teaching in the EYFS but parents and carers need to know too.

Research has shown that the quality of teaching is a key factor in ensuring that children in the early years are taught the essential foundations for life. We know that if children have quality interactions provided by a quality workforce it will have significant long term effect on children’s learning and development. As a workforce though we need to know that we can’t do this alone, as children are likely to spend more time at home than in the early years setting. We know that children attending high quality provision impacts on raising outcomes but by EYFS practitioners modelling and communicating to parents about how they ‘teach’ in the provision will then enable parents to ‘teach’ their children in the home learning environment. To be able to support our parents and practitioners working in the EYFS let’s consider, what is ‘teaching?’ in the EYFS.

Personally I have worked in the Early Years sector for over twenty years. On reflection, when I remember back to my training how I learnt to ‘teach’ in the EYFS is how I advise schools to ‘teach’ EYFS today. In all honesty, yes there have been a number of changes but what hasn’t changed is how children learn. Knowing how children learn enables the adult to move the child’s learning forward via their teaching. There are many different ways practitioners help children to learn through their teaching so we need to consider that ‘teaching’ in the EYFS is broad.  When practitioners are interacting with children in their play they are ‘teaching’. When practitioners are modelling effective language skills they are ‘teaching’. When practitioners are exploring children’s ideas they are ‘teaching’. We need to see that when an adult is interacting with children they are ‘teaching’ in the EYFS, ‘teaching’ is happening all of the time.

Quality teaching in the EYFS needs to have an environment that enables children to show adults what they understand, know and do. It also needs routines so that it enables children to learn at length and depth with adults interacting and moving the learning forward. By seeing ‘teaching’ in the EYFS as not a formal way of working it allow children to show the adults their interests and dispositions of learning, those ‘characteristics of effective learning’. If children do not have the opportunity to engage with adults and let them know what motivates them in their learning, I am concerned that children will become disengaged in their learning.

I truly believe that as a profession we need to ensure that we work together with parents so that children are being taught effectively in these early years. This we ensure that in the future we have a quality work force which have a range of skills, for example engineers, plumbers, teachers, builders, doctors, so that our children of today become life-long learners in the future.

Whether you need generic training, or would benefit from bespoke support, we are here to help. At Services for Education we provide this. We have a team of accomplished advisers who support school EYFS Practitioners at all levels.

Serena Caine an Education Adviser with Services for Education. She can be contacted on