Emotional Literacy:

The impact of lockdown has affected the development of our children's emotional literacy.

At The Rackham, we are actively supporting our children to recognise their emotions, utilising a traffic light system. Every adult, and acting on the suggestion of one of our Wellbeing Ambassadors, also each of our pupils (from September 2023), wear red, orange and green discs on lanyards to support identifying how they are feeling. Children are given time to move from red to green before discussions about behavioural responses to heightened emotions are discussed.

As well as identifying how our children are feeling and identifying the reasons for this through discussion, we are actively identifying ways for our pupils to return to a green or regulated state.

To support this element of education about emotional literacy, the FWR (Friends of Witchford Rackham) have purchased My Happy Mind Home - myHappymind, an NHS backed online programme that supports wellbeing for children, their parents and teachers.

Every family and adult in school has access to the My Happy Mind platform for free. This platform provides lessons, meditation, strategies to help regulate and maintain a green state of wellbeing as well as education about why we become heightened through Team H-A-P.

We introduce Team H-A-P using the following explanation:

There are three key parts of their brain; the Hippocampus, Amygdala and Prefrontal Cortex.

We call them Team H-A-P for short

  • Hippocampus - is like a scrap book storing our memories and things that we learn
  • Amygdala - is there to react to keep us safe when there is danger. It cannot assess danger though, it can only react if it senses it by fighting, freezing or flighting!
  • Prefrontal cortex - Helps us to make decisions, understand different perspectives, solve problems, analyse and make choices

We can be at our best when Team H-A-P are working together

When we feel stressed or worried, Team H-A-P cannot work well together and our Amygdala will take over and cause us to react (without thinking) rather than respond (assessing our actions before we take them). This happens because our oxygen supply goes straight to the Amygdala, which shuts down the Prefrontal cortex and Hippocampus, and the functions that they help us to perform.

Though utilising our STEPS therapeutic approach to behaviour, plus our traffic light system to identify our emotions and My Happy Mind to educate and help our children understand why they feel how they feel, we are offering support for our children to develop positive emotional wellbeing.

Case study proving the positive impact of NHS approved My Happy Mind in a school


At The Rackham we have a devoted Pastoral Team; availability for our pupils to work with our ELSA Lead and have purchased My Happy Mind for children and parents to support their wellbeing and mental health.

At The Rackham, we believe it is vital that our curriculum includes lessons on how to understand and look after mental health, in the same way we learn how to look after our physical health. By shifting the focus to support aimed to prevent mental health problems and building resilience, we can do so much to improve the lives of so many. Positive wellbeing throughout a pupil's school career has a huge impact on their adult life outcomes.  

Our Pastoral Care

The Rackham offers a nurturing approach that encourages students to develop a positive sense of their own self worth so promoting emotional wellbeing. As a school we help our pupils to build courage and resilience required to realise their full potential.

In daily school life, we foster a strong moral and spiritual framework based on our Christian values a key element of being a Church School. This in turn supports our students to explore, understand and manage the challenges of today’s society.

Our Pastoral Lead:

Ms L Smith

Ms L Smith

  • Family Engagement Officer
  • Family Liaison Worker
  • ELSA (Emotional Literacy Support Assistant) trained professional 

Ms. Smith is our Family Engagement Office and Family Liaison Worker and ELSA trained professional.

Ms Smith is available to meet with parents to discuss concerns or difficulties they may be experiencing with their children at home and their relationship with school.

Please contact the school office in the first instance to arrange a time to speak with our Pastoral Team.

ELSA (Emotional Literacy Support Assistant)

An ELSA (Emotional Literacy Support Assistant) is a member of Staff who is trained to support children in the development of their emotional literacy.

What is emotional literacy?

  • Understanding and coping with the feelings about ourselves and others
  • Developing high self-esteem and positive interactions with others
  • Being emotionally literate helps children focus better on their learning

Some of the areas the ELSA may work on:

  • Recognising emotions
  • Self-esteem
  • Social skills
  • Friendship skills
  • Anger management
  • Loss and bereavement

How does the ELSA work?

  • A regular slot during the school week of around 30 minutes
  • Sessions may be on a one off basis
  • Sessions can be individual or in small groups and are tailored to the child's individual needs
  • Sessions are fun and might include role play, board games, arts and crafts and stories
  • They include time to talk
  • A pupils progress will be reviewed

As a parent/carer how can you help?

  • By informing the class teacher if there are any issues that may effect your child
  • Please feel free to contact your child's teacher or ELSA if you have any questions


Family Support from External Agencies

Emily Norman is our Early Intervention Family Worker.

Emily is available for advice on the following:

  • Managing and dealing with Difficult or Challenging Behaviour
  • Establishing routines
  • Raising self-esteem
  • Increasing confidence
  • Improving family relationships

Emily can help with:

  • Signposting to other agencies for advice such as Housing, Benefits or Employment Parenting Courses

Please contact the school office if you feel that you or your child may benefit from these services.

Useful Leaflets


Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) and Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead (DDSL)

The Rackham C of E (VC) Primary School is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children. The Rackham expects all staff and volunteers to share this commitment.

All staff and volunteers will be subject to an enhanced DBS check.

Our DSL and DDSLs are:

Miss G Turner

Miss G Turner

Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL)

Ms L Smith

Ms L Smith

Deputy DSL

Mrs A Lowes

Mrs A Lowes

Deputy DSL

Mrs E Senior

Mrs E Senior

Safeguarding Governor

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