Social Emotional Aspects of Learning (SEAL)
Belle Vue Primary School
Theme - SEAL Case Study
School - Belle Vue Primary School
Local Authority - Dudley – Primary National Strategy SEAL Team
Audience - All Primary Schools, Senior Managers, PHSE Coordinators,
Context NOR FSM EAL SEN No of No of
Primary School with nursery
423 6% 1.4% 15% 18 17
Belle Vue is part of the Wordsley Learning Network and the Kingswinford West Development
Group. We also link with Kingswinford (Science), Summerhill (MFL) and Wordsley (Music/
Enterprise) schools as part of their specialist college status.
Starting Point for Social Emotional Aspects of Learning (SEAL):
Belle Vue is a delightful school in pleasant surroundings which provides an excellent education
for all of its pupils. It was built thirty years ago as separate junior and infant schools but
amalgamated into one primary school in 1984; the Nursery was added two years later. There
are extensive grounds in which the children play and the buildings are maintained to a good
standard. Although we operate in three buildings, there is a strong team of well qualified staff
who work together to care for every pupil.
In 2003, the Headteacher along with several other members of staff formed a behaviour working
party in order to review the behaviour policy. There had been several incidents of bullying
behaviours in school and the staff team they felt it was important that the children at Belle Vue
should become emotionally intelligent and equipped to deal with difficult situations in class or in
the playground. They also felt that there needed to be a consistent, whole school approach to
behaviour management which was positive yet assertive. The whole school took part in a
conference on Emotional Intelligence run by Catherine Corrie, followed by an intensive four day
course which was attended by four teachers.
Whole school and playground rules were drawn up and agreed by staff and children, together
with a clear system of rewards and consequences. As a result of this work, the idea of
playground buddies emerged. Initially Year 6 children were trained to be buddies on each of our
four playgrounds. Buddy stops were erected and if children felt they were lonely or isolated a
buddy would be on hand to support them. This has proved to be highly successful and in order
to aid transition, Year 5 children now begin this important work in the summer term in
preparation for the move to Year 6. Teaching assistants are employed as play leaders on each
of our playgrounds for the first half hour of every dinner time. They encourage children to play
together, teach the children new games and support the children with their friendships.
In addition, teachers were trained through Health Promoting Schools in how to deliver Circle
Time effectively. During this period, it emerged that a few children in school were not coping with
support available to them through circle time and the buddy system. Some of these children had
anger management difficulties or were experiencing difficulties as a result of a grievance or
instability at home. As we are committed to supporting every individual‟s needs, the headteacher
created the post of behaviour management coordinator and the postholder was funded to attend
a conference in London. She was then released to support individuals for an hour a week.
Further support was given through buying Counselling Service support for two children.
It was around this time that we found Year 4 boys were causing a lot of cause for concern. They
were continually disrespectful to their teachers, fighting with each other at playtimes and
lunchtimes. Clearly, something further needed to be done.
In February 2006, The Headteacher and Deputy Headteacher attended a course where SEAL
materials were introduced. They looked very impressive and it was felt that they would be an
excellent vehicle for continuing and extending the work already started in 2003 by the behaviour
working party. In particular, the silver book materials would be a good starting point for groups of
children in Year 4. We were also successful in a bid to become a Creative Partnership school.
This bid gave us sufficient funding for professional dancers to work with targeted Year 4 children
(now in Year 5) to develop a six week project which would explore feelings and human reactions
through dance in order to help them develop and to become more emotionally intelligent.
In preparation for the introduction of SEAL materials to all staff in September 2006, we
rearranged our teaching space in order to create a type of „nurture room‟ which we have called
the SEAL room (see below).
This room was finished in June 2006. The room is now timetabled for small group and one to
The SEAL materials were introduced to teaching staff at a whole day INSET on the first day
back in September. The staff then had the rest of the day to
familiarise themselves with the materials and fit them into
existing planning. We decided as a staff that we should
designate a slot each week to deliver the SEAL materials in
addition to circle time and discreet PSHE teaching. We also
agreed to put up a “feelings” display in every classroom so that
the children knew that they could show how they were feeling
and talk to a friend or teacher rather than bottle it up inside. (See
We also follow the assembly themes on a half termly
basis and we have planned an Anti Bullying week
focus week for the first week back after Easter. To
support this we have a visiting theatre company
coming into school to work with each year group in
Key Stage 2.
It has been our vision for a long time to use the
strengths of our
staff and create
would be the resident expert in particular aspects of AEN.
We had already trained a Speech and Language expert and
now the time had come to train an expert in dealing with
designated Teaching Assistant has gone to visit
other schools to see what good practice is available
and she has attended training courses. She has
planned a six
for groups of
children based on
materials and is
now implementing this. She works closely with and is
supported by the Deputy Headteacher. We liaise very closely
with the parents of children who are withdrawn for this work
and always have their consent before proceeding with this
type of intervention.
We are also currently working towards level 3 Healthy Schools award which encompasses many
of these vital aspects of children‟s development.
Factors contributing to success
The main factors contributing to success are:
The Senior Leadership Team along with the whole staff is committed to creating an
emotionally intelligent school, where children and staff care for each other and respect
each other. The SEAL materials, therefore, were the next step in an initiative which had
been started a few years ago and central to the culture and ethos of our school rather
than another government initiative.
The materials are of a good quality and the children enjoy both the range of activities
suggested in the booklets and using the “Feelings” displays.
Time was given for the staff to get to grips with the materials on top of PPA time.
Teaching Assistants feel empowered and their individual strengths are being recognised
We introduce the assembly theme for the whole school and this is followed up during
SEAL time in class. In this way, the whole school are focusing on the same theme at the
Parents of children who have been chosen for small group/individual work by class
teachers have been very supportive.
The work has been shared with governors
Displays in every classroom (see photographs)
SEAL room – timetabled slots and a child friendly „nurturing room‟ (See photo above)
Planning available for quality sessions
The staff and children have recently evaluated the SEAL Materials. The children have
overwhelmingly reported to their teachers that they enjoy their SEAL lessons. They are
fun and they get the opportunity to talk about their feelings and support to deal with
difficulties they might experience within school with friendships etc.
Staff feel that the materials are great and that SEAL work has contributed to less
incidences of poor behaviour.
Last year‟s Year 4 (present Year 5) are much more settled since the introduction of
SEAL materials. There has been a significant drop in the amount of incidences were the
Head or Deputy need to be talking to certain children within the year group.
What was planned? (aims)
Our main aim was to continue and extend our work on emotional literacy and behaviour
management by using updated materials.
We wanted to utilise the expertise we had in school by creating a Specialist Teaching
Assistant for SEAL work in order to create a sustainable resource in school which would
meet the needs of those pupils who need support above and beyond what is offer in the
We wanted a “safe” space for children to explore their feelings.
What was done and when and how?
February 2006 – Headteacher and Deputy were introduced to SEAL Materials at a time
when there were certain children experiencing huge difficulties in school emotionally.
June 2006 – Nurture Room created and christened the SEAL Room.
June 2006 –SEAL room unveiled at governors. Vision on its use discussed. SEAL
September 2006 – SEAL materials introduced to whole staff on first day back after
Summer Holidays. Time given for the staff to familiarise themselves with them.
September 2006 – Emotional Literacy/Feelings displays put up in every class.
October 2006 – Teaching Assistant to be responsible for SEAL sessions had training
and went to visit a neighbouring school which was using all the SEAL materials to see if
we could use some of their ideas!
November 2006 – SEAL room timetable set up. Deputy and Teaching Assistant meet
regularly to discuss programme and children concerned. Parental consent sought for
December 2006 – evaluation of materials and impact so far.
Impact – Verification
Recent analysis of questionnaires to teachers and pupils verifies that the SEAL materials
are an excellent well used resource. The analysis also tells us that children enjoy these
There has been a great improvement in the attitude and behaviour of current Year 5
pupils. This can be seen in the significant reduction of involvement of senior
management with certain groups of boys in this year group.
The dinner supervisors report that they are dealing with fewer incidences of poor
behaviour and squabbles at playtime. This can be verified by less use of the lunchtime
behaviour book by the dinner supervisors.
We do not know what impact the SEAL room sessions are having on individuals/ small
groups. This is something we will need to monitor in the future.
Inform more parents of the work we are doing in SEAL (not just those whose children are
attending extra SEAL sessions).
Further staff training.
Increased timetable flexibility – staff are encouraged to consider appropriate timetabling
to ensure effective implementation which meets the children‟s needs.
Evaluation of the impact of SEAL room sessions (February 2007).
Contact Karen Craddock – Deputy Headteacher