CEO and Schools’ Proprietor, TCES Group
1) Discuss their strengths and needs
If you have a new class of pupils, discuss their strengths and needs with their previous Teachers and Teaching Assistants and read the pupils’ files – but remember that a file never represents the amazing talented children and young people that you’ll be working with.
2) Visit them at home
Where possible, do a home visit to meet the pupil and their parents/carers to introduce yourself, discuss their child’s strengths, and set out your expectations and targets for them around learning and behaviour.
Use the visit to signal to parents/carers that you want a positive partnership with them, and establish an agreed plan for communication. Remember to keep in contact with them regularly – and keep the news mostly about the positives.
3) Meet and greet each pupil
Meet and greet each pupil as they arrive and show them how much they were missed. For pupils with the most complex circumstances, explore how they managed through the holidays.
4) Nurture them back into the school environment
Remember your pupils may have been out of routine throughout the holidays. Some will not have had structure, boundaries or occasionally enough food, and some pupils may have been moved and will need an appropriate blend of care, support and control to get back into the school routine. Provide lots of nurture.
5) Hold a ‘Welcome back’ assembly
Hold a whole school assembly where staff and pupils are welcomed back, and remind the entire community of your school values, ethos or mission, and the high expectations you have for them in the upcoming year.
6) Create a welcoming environment
Work together with your pupils to put some significant effort into making your classroom a welcome learning environment. Work together to create inspirational and motivational wall displays. Give your class a real ‘Wow’ wow factor!
7) Hold a Tutor Group
Prepare and deliver a Tutor Group to your pupils in which you remind them of the support you will provide them and the work you will do to support them in making it a very successful year.
8) Anticipate your pupils’ needs
Behaviour is a method of communication, and poor behaviour is very often a communication of unmet needs. Anticipate those needs in advance and try to find out the underlying reasons for any concerning behaviour. Watch out for those pupils who communicate unmet needs by their silence or by withdrawing.
9) Stay calm and support each other
Remember that the only tool we have when working with children/young people who challenge us is ourselves. Always take a breath before getting involved in a situation that is escalating, stay calm and support each other and always look to deescalate.
10) Seek advice from your clinical team
Seek advice from your schools’ clinical staff if a pupil is demonstrating difficulty with settling back into the school environment – but remember, it is your relationship with your pupils that will enable them to settle most quickly.