Children's Agency & Wellbeing
Agency is best defined as a ‘socially situated capacity to act’.
Dominic Wyse (BERA – British Educational Research Association)
Children’s Agency and Wellbeing
We work with children to involve them in as many of the decisions that affect them as we can. Here are some of the ways in which we do this.
Our Inquiry-Based Curriculum is designed to show children that, whilst there are problems in the world, there is hope and that there are different ways to make our voices heard and to make a difference to the world. Through learning about current and historical figures who have stood up for what they believe in with both small and large actions, children will know that one person can make a difference and that that difference can be magnified when we collaborate.
In presenting their knowledge, discoveries and thinking at our termly Learning Exhibitions for parents and the wider community, our aim is that children know that they have the capacity to cause change in adult behaviours and thinking and therefore that they are being ‘of service to the world’.
Before each project starts, teachers tell children the next Inquiry Question and the main content they will be studying. They then collect children’s insights and wonderings, using these to shape the planning of the next term’s project.
Each academic year begins with our ‘All of Us’ project where the children learn about each other’s passions, culture and beliefs more deeply. During this period they also make decisions about how their classes will run to ensure that there is a learning environment in which everyone can thrive.
Making Policy Together
Children are increasingly involved in the contribution of policy making either via class discussions, assemblies or through the Junior Leadership Team. A recent example was the co-creation of the children’s version of our Anti-Bullying Policy.
Junior Leadership Team
The JLT meet weekly to discuss school improvement and change. With the representatives from each class, children are able to liaise with their classmates to gather viewpoints and express ideas. In addition, the JLT are responsible for planning and leading our Red Carpet Genius Assembly every Thursday where they host children who wish to share their passions and talents with our school community.
We have an established range of strategies to support children’s wellbeing from our whole-school PSHE (personal, social, health and emotional) lessons via ‘Lifewise’, our whole school ‘All of Us’ project at the start of each year, the relationships we build with individuals, restorative conversations, discussing emotions through Zones of Regulation, our small group intervention – Legoheads – and our play therapist for children needing 1:1 support.
Our Child Wellbeing Policy can be found here.Child Wellbeing and Mental Health Policy
Children in Years 3-6 take part in a wellbeing survey three times per year. This enables us to quickly identify children who aren’t thriving for any reason and put in place support to help them.
The survey is online with responses held on a secure platform, Bounce Together, shared just with our safeguarding team and the children’s class teacher. The questions asked are those from the Student Subjective Wellbeing Questionnaire (SSWQ) which can be found here.SSWQ
The SSWQ taps into five aspects of student subjective wellbeing that are centered around positive emotions, positive relationships, positive values or meaning, and positive performance:
- Joy of Learning (JL) refers to experiencing positive emotions and cognitions while engaged in learning tasks.
- School Connectedness (SC) refers to relating well to and feeling cared for by others at school (both peers and adults).
- Educational Purpose (EP) refers to valuing school and academic tasks as important and meaningful.
- Academic Efficacy (AE) refers to evaluating academic behaviors as effectively meeting school demands.
- Student Wellbeing (SW) is a composite of JL, SC, EP, and AE and refers to youths’ overall perception of their wellbeing at school.