Our Rainbow Room

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No two days are ever the same in the Rainbow Room, writes Lisa Pigg.

Primary schools are busy places. Each morning is a humdrum of activity with teachers and support staff arriving and preparing lessons for the day ahead. At our school, however, our designated team of safeguarding leads is also opening the doors to our Rainbow Room with the aim to support our children, their families, and the wider community. You may think our Rainbow Room is just that, a brightly designed room providing a safe space but our service is much more than what takes place within its four walls. Our Rainbow Room provision starts before the school day even begins.

We always do our utmost to ensure our children get to school on time whether that be via their parents, our walking bus or minibus service. By whatever means they arrive, come rain or shine, there is always a member of the inclusion team at the school gate. All children benefit by being greeted by a friendly familiar face, and it allows time for children with SEN or their parents and carers to talk to us about any concerns they may have. This could range from discussing a letter they may have received following an Autism assessment or wanting to discuss additional support options if their child is struggling to come to school. These ten minutes every morning provide a fantastic informal opportunity to receive daily support and advice.

■ The door to the Rainbow Room.

The Rainbow Room is in a central location that both children and staff can easily visit during the school day. The room is open to all children, however we find it is a particularly inviting and friendly space for our SEMH pupils, where they can eat lunch in a quieter space, read a book and have some time to themselves. Of course, our inclusion team is always on hand should the children want to have an informal chat with a member of the team too.

During class times, we have a Rainbow Room card system which provides children who may need a few moments away from the busy, stimulating classroom. This could include children who are facing challenges at home, those who are new to our school, those with SEND or sometimes those who just want to see a friendly face offering them much-needed space where they can take time to reflect. The room has proved so successful that, while some children only visit the room for a minute or two, others would stay all day if they could, to the point that we’ve even had to introduce a visual timer.

All of our staff observe our children to identify any additional needs they may have, with internal meetings quickly put in place to discuss any interventions that may be needed. This could range from our headteacher hearing a child read that might display a speech impediment or a child whose patterns of behaviour raises concerns, leading to a member of the inclusion team starting conversations with the child’s parents on referrals for ADHD, for example.

■ Space for some quiet time.

Support outside of school
Our school is situated in one of the cheapest rental property areas in the UK. Consequently, many families have moved here from elsewhere, and many of which have English as an additional language. Our Rainbow Room team helps families secure school and nursery places for their children, and we contact charities and other external agencies that offer housing and food crisis support on their behalf, as well as signposting families to furniture banks and community and family centres.

Our assistant headteacher even visits our local Aldi each week to collect surplus food, which is placed at the front of the school for all to benefit from.

Our safeguarding leads also have weekly meetings with SLT, SEND and attendance teams so that we can identify children and families that need additional support, with the team often participating in external meetings with social workers.

Our comprehensive safeguarding computer system allows us to send and receive documents securely, meaning we can prepare to support our children and their families before they even step through the door, whatever part of the UK they came from.

A ‘typical day’ for our inclusion staff starts with logging onto systems, checking emails and calendars but from there on in, no two days are ever the same. You never know the challenges that children with SEND and their families are facing and who may need your support. No matter what the situation is, our staff pride themselves on knowing that the Rainbow Room provision supports every family in our school community as much as possible, providing hope within and beyond the school gates.

Lisa Pigg
Author: Lisa Pigg

Lisa Pigg
+ posts

Lisa Pigg is Assistant Headteacher and SENDCO at Sir Alexander Fleming Primary School in Telford.

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