The GROW SEND curriculum is an adaptation of the curriculum and materials developed since May 2020 and is in use in South Yorkshire Schools (see Phase 1 evaluation of the programme). The GROW SEND curriculum is being used in seven Sheffield Schools. By working with the schools, the Programme has adapted the GROW curriculum and pedagogy to be used flexibly and adaptively by the Graduate Mentor in SEND settings, guided by the SEND Code of Practice (2015). One of the schools, is Holgate Meadows School, Sheffield, and Adele Hetherington is the School Key Contact for GROW. She writes:
Holgate Meadows School is a specialist school for students with social, emotional and mental health (SEMH) needs, and we have students with some of the most complex needs in Sheffield and South Yorkshire. This last few years have been really difficult for our students, including changes to routine, isolation, and lack of social interaction, so taking on a new challenge for them was something I was quite nervous about. I signed up to the GROW mentoring programme at the start of the year for a March start, in the hope of giving students the chance to have that one-to-one personal reflection time that isn’t always possible in a busy classroom environment. The programme has had such a positive impact on the students who are participating already, all are eager for the sessions to start and leave them very positive. I asked the students to tell me a little about why it has been a positive experience:
‘It is good, as it has made me think about things, college, myself, options.’
‘It is important for me to be able to think and talk about college and careers after school.’
I asked them if they could recommend the programme to others if we were able to run it again and they said they definitely would. They all explained to the students around them why it has been a positive experience and how much they had learnt from it.
Myself and Michelle [GROW Programme Lead] met a number of times before the mentoring commenced to ensure she had a good understanding of the school, our students and their needs. I feel this has played a massive part in the success of the program as our graduate mentor, Helen, is such a good match. Our students can find new people and experiences very difficult but all have built positive working relationships with Helen in a short space of time.
We as a school are very keen to continue working with GROW if the opportunity arises and build this into our school offer due to the positive impact we have already seen.
Thank you to Michelle and Helen for their continued hard work and support of our students.