At Telford Junior School, we have embraced Protective Behaviours and Lori Herbert is leading this as a qualified Protective Behaviours Specialist Practitioner. In our latest OFSTED report (2019) it was recognised that, "nurture provision in school is effective and pupils are supported to develop their social and emotional skills. Pupils are taught how to keep themselves safe both in and out of school. They learn to take risks in a safe environment, and staff use every opportunity to discuss safety with them. Pupils talk confidently about their safe network and safe spaces."
Protective Behaviours is a framework for personal safety consisting of 2 Themes and 7 Strategies. This is a dynamic, confidence building, empowering approach that links safety with having adventures and taking risks.
At Telford Junior School we teach Protective Behaviours (PBs) to all children. PBs is not only incorporated into PSHE (Personal, Social and Health Education) lessons through the ‘Taking Care’ scheme of work but it forms part of our whole school culture.
Protective Behaviours is based on two key themes:
Theme 1: ‘We all have the right to feel safe all the time’.
We explore this theme in detail, carefully looking at the connection between rights and responsibilities. We discover for ourselves the difference between feeling safe, fun to feel scared, risking on purpose and feeling unsafe. These differences are manifested by what we call our ‘Early Warning Signs (EWS), specific bodily responses which tell us when we do not feel safe.
Theme 2: ‘We can talk with someone about anything even if it’s awful or small’.
The children create a ‘hand network’ which represents their own personal networks of support, those people they could turn to if in need. They are reminded and encouraged of the benefits of talking and we explore qualities we would like somebody on our network to embody e.g. an active listener.
The Seven Strategies
These are the 7 different ways in which the PB themes and ideas are practised:
- ‘Theme Reinforcement’ (Reinforcing the two themes)
- One Step Removed – e.g. putting things into the 3rd person (“What would someone do if…?”)
- ‘Network Review’ – Reviewing the personal networks (we aim to do this each half-term and remind children of their personal networks before each holiday period)
- Persistence – Try, try and try again until I feel safe again.
- Protective Interruption – Anything we do to keep ourselves, or others, safe from potential or actual harm (e.g. needing time in or time out)
- Risking on Purpose – Feel the fear and do it anyway (the outcome is worth it) e.g. a job interview, going on a rollercoaster.
- The Language of Safety – Learning the Language of Safety to empower ourselves and be mindful of others (e.g. all staff modelling language of safety, "you have the responsibility to...")
The ‘Taking Care’ scheme is a series of lessons founded on the principles of Protective Behaviours which aims to provide children with strategies: to help keep them feeling safe; to understand their feelings; and how to respond to them and to develop a sense of self-empowerment. This is delivered early on in the Autumn Term from Reception to Year 6, however we encourage all staff and children to use PBs in their daily lives.