Years using STEER
years as an accredited school
Aysgarth implemented the STEER Tracking programme to support and enhance our existing pastoral care system and we are now a STEER-accredited school, achieving case study-level positive results.
The issue to address
In September 2019, it was with some trepidation that Mr Vivian and Mr Tomlinson welcomed their Form 2 (Year 4). Both experienced teachers were fully aware that Form 2 is a year with many transitions. It is at this age our boys start having subject-specific teachers; they leave the cocoon of their Form 1 Class and Form 1 teacher and have to independently travel around the school correctly equipped for their day. They have increased levels of responsibility and have to adjust to not being the youngest in the School. So, some disruptive behaviour is expected. However, this group of boys were niggly and combative in Form 1 so the move up the School exacerbated these traits. Even close friends quibbled, they were quick to find fault with each other and grumbles were common.
How STEER Tracking helped
With a pile of anecdotal evidence, neither Form tutor was surprised to receive the Autumn STEER Tracking results showing a stand-out dip in ’Trust of Others.’ It was determined that this group of boys were experiencing trust issues. So it was deemed that a plan was required. Mr Vivian and Mr Tomlinson ran through their options and usual teacher arsenal to address this. STEER Education had just added a Cohort Plan extension and so this was the route they decided to take; they devised an approach for the whole year group, not the individuals. It was decided that it would be a case study for the School and a trial for the STEER Mental Health & Well-Being Toolkit. With the help of the Head of Pastoral, a trust-building programme was designed and implemented over 6 weeks.
The plan and actions themselves were drawn up by the two form tutors as it requires knowledge of the individuals, consideration of the facilities available and the skills of the teachers. STEER provides 3 years of Consultant support to help schools interpret the data, devise simple action plans and measure impact.
The first action was to break the perceived barriers between the two form groups by combining both forms and moving the PSHE lessons to a larger space and working together.
A devised carousel of weekly trust-building activities and games was planned. The group went wall climbing, put on mini-plays / role plays and were engaged in teamwork activities and challenges. A large emphasis was put on developing their listening and empathy skills.
Mr Tomlinson was also their rugby coach so the teamwork skills were backed up with practical physical drills and games. Initially, the success criteria for a rugby session was that no one cried. A few weeks into the plan and there was evidence of progression, resolve and strength of character in the boys and very importantly, no tears!
It was no surprise when six months later the STEER results showed a significant increase in ‘Trust of Others’ both in school and outside school.
(STEER Tracking is able to measure this factor when the children are in school and when they are at home and compare the two).
The ‘Trust of Others’ at an individual school can be measured against the UK mean. As you can see from the results Aysgarth boys went from well below the UK mean to well above in less than 18 months. In addition, the school’s Trust of Others OUTSIDE school came into line with Trust of Others INSIDE school which meant boys were regulating their Trust of Others equally well wherever they were.
As these boys prepare to leave Aysgarth in June 2023, they recently sat their final STEER assessment and they will leave the School equipped to manage elements of their own well-being, work as a team and trust their peers. STEER calls this good ‘self-regulation’ or “STEERING!” which is the bedrock of good mental health and well-being. All skills that Aysgarth can evidence it provided them.
Additionally, it should not surprise the reader that the legacy of the cohort plan is still in place today, Form 2 still has combined PSHE lessons, Taskmaster still takes place and the trust-building activity tool kit is still used when required.
John Tomlinson Quote – “You need to trust your team to work effectively as one. This lesson may be among the most important lessons I get to teach.”
Tom Vivian Quote – “Children need a supportive environment for positive well-being: our cohort plan did that; we encourage a positive and supportive group dynamic where the children feel valued and accepted by their peers.
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