- Posted by: Ken Skates MS
- Category: News
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A Member of the Senedd had high praise for a one-of-a-kind wellbeing programme for children.
Ken Skates MS visited the pastoral care team at Ysgol Bryn Coch in Mold on Friday (November 25) to hear more about the work of its Y Berllan (Nurture) team, which helps children all over Flintshire.
Mr Skates, who chairs the Senedd’s cross-party group on mental health, said the scheme was ‘an exemplar’ and could be a blueprint for children’s therapy and behavioural work in Wales.
He said: “It was fascinating to hear more about the Y Berllan programme. It has a specialist, experienced pastoral support team of four who are extremely passionate about supporting children and young people with their mental health and wellbeing.
“The team uses a child-led ‘connection before correction’ approach – prevention is better than cure. Y Berllan uses a range of therapeutic play such Lego and sand therapy and outdoor work with nature, and they also offer things like emotion coaching. They even have a PAT (Pets As Therapy) dog, who is amazing and brings happiness and comfort to the children every day.”
Pastoral team leader Clare Swinson said: “Over the past seven years we have supported children with a high level of need in many ways. We also provide bespoke planned group work, where children with similar needs or troubles are grouped together as appropriate for support with behaviour, sleep deprivation, anxiety, self-esteem and confidence. Children from years ago are still in touch and say how much it has helped them.”
She added: “It was fantastic for us to welcome Ken and talk about what we do, and we are really grateful for his interest in Y Berllan.”
Bryn Coch is the only school in Wales to offer a 10-week bespoke behavioural programme to help children and young people on the brink of exclusion by teaching them how to communicate and behave in more useful constructive ways.
“After children have attended our 10-week programme we can, if required, provide an assessment or report to aid a child’s development plan and transition process,” said Clare. “We often have children back to visit and be mentors – our relationship can continue for as long as needed with the child, school and parents.”
Mr Skates also sits on the Senedd’s Children, Young People and Education Committee, and said what he’d learned at Ysgol Bryn Coch would provide crucial insight.
He added: “I’d love to see places like Y Berllan be the norm one day. The safe, welcoming space the team provides to children from all over Flintshire is an exemplar, and it’s impossible to put a price on that and the effect it has on our children and young people.”
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