23 January 2024, The Tablet

How this Anglican-Catholic school helps children with ADHD

How this Anglican-Catholic school helps children with ADHD

Deputy headmistress, Danielle Fox.
Faith Primary Academy

A joint Anglican-Catholic primary school in a deprived part of Liverpool says attendance figures have risen since it introduced new methods to help children with ADHD.

At Faith Primary Academy in Everton 96.2 per cent of the 201 pupils attend the school every day.

“We have a high number of children who have ADHD and or autism, so we had to alter how we deliver the curriculum,” explained the deputy headmistress and SENCO (special educational needs co-ordinator) Danielle Fox.

Six years ago, the school introduced a new system to encourage children to identify their feelings before the day begins.

At registration, each pupil will match their feelings to a colour or “emotional regulation zone” linked to how fast or slow their heart is beating.

Pupils picking green have a steady heartbeat. They feel calm and ready to learn. Those who select yellow may have a quicker heart beat and feel anxious or stressed. Blue means a slow heartbeat. That is a sign a child might be sad or tired. The child who picks red as their colour is saying they feel angry and out of control.

Teachers in the school nursery use puppets to help younger pupils identify how they feel.

Older pupils collect the names of any child who is not in the “green zone”. A teacher will then talk to the child concerned, to discover why they are upset. Some, for example, may not have eaten breakfast so this will be supplied.

Each classroom possesses toolbox of fidget tools. Any child not in the green zone may play with the tools to help them regain calm before classes begin. 

Fox said: “We believe that in order for children to access the curriculum they must feel safe. If you’re in a heightened [emotional] state, you’re unable to retain any information you are learning.”

To create a calm learning environment, low lighting, diffusers and salt rock lamps are placed in every classroom. Signs in the foyer welcome children in the 25 languages spoken by pupils.

“It’s important for us that all our children feel safe and loved,” said Fox.

  Loading ...
Get Instant Access
Subscribe to The Tablet for just £7.99

Subscribe today to take advantage of our introductory offers and enjoy 30 days' access for just £7.99