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Denmead Junior School

Denmead Junior School

Inspiring Curiosity, Building Success

Pastoral Care

ELSA & Thrive

At Denmead Junior School, we have two trained ELSA’s. Mrs Swift is our full time non-class-based ELSA, with her own designated ELSA room, and Mrs Robinson runs ELSA sessions for the upper school 2 afternoons a week. ELSA stands for Emotional, Literacy Support Assistant. Our specialist teaching assistants have a wealth of experience working with children. They support with: loss and bereavement, emotional literacy, self-esteem, social skills, friendship issues, relationships, managing strong feelings, anxiety, conflict, emotional regulation, growth mind-set and social stories. ELSAs are trained and regularly supervised by Educational Psychologists.  Mrs Swift is also a Thrive Practitioner. The Thrive Approach is a specific way of working with children and young people that promotes mental wellbeing while helping to prevent mental health issues.  Both Mrs Swift and Mrs Lodge (our SEND Administrator) run workshops for parents every month on a Friday, to support parents with emotional support strategies and SEND approaches. External agencies are booked to support with advice and delivery of these sessions. Our SENCo Mrs Marks, is also available during these sessions. Cake, tea and coffee are always served at these meetings. It's a chance for all those who attend to share ideas and get support regarding common issues that parents often face.

Please contact the school if you feel your child could benefit from any of these sessions or if you would like further information.


Meet Our Guinea Pigs - Wookey and Boris

Research shows that pets can help to build children’s empathy, responsibility and life skills. The benefits of having guinea pigs as our school pets are:

  • Having animals to care for ties in with our school curriculum of emotion and social needs – empathy, care, love, compassion, understanding, commitment and building confidence.
  • Pets can encourage a child’s learning needs, especially in reading, communication, observation and speaking. Lots of our children choose to read to our guinea pigs.
  • For many children, it will be their only contact with a pet as they don’t have them at home.

With this in mind, we are very excited to have welcomed Wookey and Boris, two 6-month old adopted male guinea pigs, to our school. Before they arrived, a veterinary nurse came to speak to each class about how to care for and handle the guinea pigs. Our children choose their names and take charge of ordering food and equipment each week along with the cleaning of the cage. You can read more about the boys in the information below.


Our Listening Tree

At Denmead Junior School, ensuring our children feel safe and listened to is paramount. In addition to all our pastoral support, we have our ‘Listening Tree’ in the main area of the school. If the children need to speak to an adult, they can write their name on a leaf and hang it on our tree. A member of SLT or the pastoral team will find that child the same day to ensure they are listened to. There should never be any leaves left on the tree at the end of a day!


Golden Lunch

To help promote our PRIDE values at lunchtime, each week, the dinner staff choose one child from each class who has shown our school values at lunchtime.  Every Friday, these children spend the morning with Mrs Swift, cooking a three-course lunch. They are taught how to cook safely, follow recipes and how to use home-grown herbs from our outdoor areas. They then enjoy their cooked meal over a special ‘Golden Laid Table’.  Our aim is that every child will experience a Golden Lunch during their time at Denmead Junior School.

Trick Box


Trick Box is an evidence-based, whole school programme which helps to develop a full range of empowering personal habits in 4 key areas:


  • Confidence: Confident-thinking, body-language, self-beliefs and actions.
  • Calm: Mindful-emotional management, relaxation and solution thinking.
  • Communication: Positive-communication, choices and behaviour.
  • Creativity: Creative-mindset, interests and opportunities.

At Denmead Junior School, we use Trick Box to give our children the knowledge and skills to effectively manage life’s everyday challenges whilst building a bank of positive life habits for the future. Each week in assembly, a new Trick is introduced to the children. Over the week, the children are then encouraged to use the tricks to help them manage in the four key areas.

Look out around the school to see our Trick Box displays in the shared areas and in each classroom near to the ‘Regulation Corners’.

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