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Case study – Eaton Hall Specialist Academy

Eaton Hall is a residential special school catering for boys with social, emotional and mental health difficulties. There are 54 places at the school, with classes ranging from year 3 to year 11.

The school’s vision is:

1. To improve life chances for all their pupils.

2.They look to achieve this by addressing pupils, social and emotional wellbeing. All elements of teaching and learning at Eaton Hall have these needs at their heart.

3. They aim to restore equilibrium to the child and family, return the child to the home setting, and, where appropriate, to mainstream education.

In this week's blog we will look at how they have done a brilliant job of implementing the RISE Up programme. Their inspirational Head of PE, Mike Curry, will talk us through how they have used the RISE Up programme to support their most vulnerable children and their mental wellbeing.


‘Our focus group was all 54 students within our school, and staff because of the high level of SEMH need that we support. At the start of the programme, our biggest challenges were our children’s mental health, supporting our most vulnerable children and children with SEND.

I completed the score wellbeing scorecard with a year 10 pupil at the start of the programme to see if the children were learning what we thought we were teaching them.

We scored 52% back in May 2022. It was a good starting point, but we wanted to do more for the young people that we serve.

I also completed the short version of the Warwick–Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale survey so that we could track the impact of the programme.’


‘To kick off the programme I completed the online teacher training course so I was fully informed of the course content. I then encouraged motivated staff who were part of our school wellbeing working group to complete the training. We liaised with our senior leadership team to allow training time and we made it voluntary so colleagues who took up the option were invested in improving the wellbeing of our school.

We wanted the training to not just help our young people, but also so that we could support each other and improve staff wellbeing.

As more and more colleagues completed the training, staff started to discuss what they had learnt and how it helped them which incentivised more colleagues to complete the training. In total, over 35 members of staff have accessed the training which is fantastic.

We found that the best area of the content for us was how to access the 4 happiness chemicals which really helped our staff to support our young people.

Before we started using the RISE Up programme, colleagues were aware that certain tools worked with certain children but the RISE up programme clarified what worked well for specific situations.

The link between physical activity and mental wellbeing was also really beneficial. We used the ‘Repeaters’ and ‘Stress buster’ activities linked to nature to help our young people calm their amygdala and widen their window of tolerance. This enabled them to access their prefrontal cortex to make better decisions and feel calmer.

We implemented the programme in a wide range of areas in the school from one-to-one sessions with our young people, our care staff used the techniques in our residential settings, in PE & RSHE lessons, curriculum enhancement activities such as visiting Castle Acre to get our young people moving in nature, and in our sports sanctuary.’

The impact:

‘Immediately, the one-to-one sessions with our students became more structured as staff were able to use the knowledge gained on the course to support our children.

Staff are now more confident in their delivery, which is relaxing children and helping to create a psychologically safer environment. A lot of relationships between staff and students have been strengthened as a result of the programme.

To review the impact of the programme, I re-visited the Short Warwick–Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing scale survey for the perceptions of our children’s progress of their mental wellbeing. The results showed that each area had improved by a score of one apart from ‘children have been feeling able to manage their own wellbeing’ which remained the same.

I also completed the school wellbeing scorecard again. Our score increased to 83%, showing an improvement of 31% from a good starting point.

I asked some of our children what they liked about the programme and they said:

  • ‘ I like running around to help wake me up’

  • ‘When I do RISE Up activities it makes me feel happier’

  • ‘Being out in the woods helps me feel better’.

  • ‘I love being with our therapy dogs when they are in school.’

Overall, we have been delighted with the impact of the RISE Up programme for our children and our staff. The programme has helped us improve our children’s behaviour, their mental wellbeing, and supporting our most vulnerable children with SEND.

What next:

‘Moving forward, we will be training new staff up in September and exploring the new ‘Trauma informed PE’ teacher training course and training relevant staff in that.

We want to create poster versions of the self-care menu for the four happiness chemicals, so it is more overt for our children, and encourage our children to support each other through a coaching culture throughout the school.’

How we can help you

If you would like to join our movement of inspirational teachers, then the RISE Up online teacher training course guides you and your colleagues on how to reduce students' anxiety, build their confidence, and create a sustainable early intervention mental wellbeing programme within 90 days.

Easy to follow videos and a comprehensive set of editable resources will save you and your colleagues hours of time planning and creating resources.

To take the first step, take our School Wellbeing scorecard here:

Thank you from us!

Here at Future Action, we want to say a massive ‘Thank you’ to Mike, his colleagues and all you brilliant teachers in the Future Action community who have given so much to your young people this academic year. We love meeting you and hearing the innovative ways you support your young people with their wellbeing. It is truly inspiring!

We also want to thank Norfolk County Council and Norwich School Sports Partnership for funding and facilitating our partnership with Eaton Hall Specialist Academy, and many other brilliant schools across the county.

Have a lovely summer holiday

We hope you get a chance to relax, prioritise your own wellbeing and have some great adventures over the summer holidays.

We hope you found this week's blog insightful, we would love you to join our community of teachers committed to transforming the life chances of their children.

Make sure you subscribe to our newsletter so you don’t miss the next edition.

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