Alison Waterhouse


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Each school is a different organisation with a range of different strengths and areas they are developing. Each teacher is on their own learning journey and each class has different needs. Because of this we have developed a range of different ways to support and develop the Circles for Learning Project in schools. By using different ways of training it is hoped that the work will support more practitioners and therefore benefit more children and young people in developing positive strategies for mental health and wellbeing.

The Circles for Learning Training is divided into two key areas.

1. How to be successful Learning Guide and run the project in school.

2. Developing a clear understanding of the theoretical concepts that underpin the work.These include:

Learning to Learn skills: Including attachment and neuroscience and their implications for learning, how emotions can act as barriers to learning, social and emotional aspects of learning.
Relationships: including attachment, social competencies, empathy, restorative practices, attunment and reciprocity
Emotional competencies: Including identifying and understanding and managing our own emotions, the development of empathy, self regulation, and understanding and managing the emotions of others.
The developing self: Including self esteem, resilience, problem solving, self regulation, positive thinking and self efficacy.

Types of Training Circles for Learning Offers.

1. Whole school training:

• This training is for 3 days which could either be consecutive days or 3 days spread over a mutually agreed period.
• This training is for whole school or for 2 small linked schools
• Training is for a minimum of 15 people. A maximum number will be discussed to ensure that this is a positive experience for all participants.

Cost: Please phone and discuss price options:

2. Small group training or cluster schools training:

• For this training a minimum of 2 staff need to be trained from each participating school. Schools can of course send more than 2 staff to train.
• Each participating school needs to train one qualified teacher.
• This training is for a minimum of 10 people. This could include Teachers and Teaching Assistants or HLTA’s.
• The training could either be 3 consecutive days or 3 days spread over a mutually agreed period.

If a school organises and hosts this training then two free spaces would be given to the organising school.

Cost: £650 per day plus travel and overnight accommodation if needed.

3. Individual staff training:

• Attending training at another school or training venue for 3 consecutive days or 3 days spread out over an agreed time.

Cost: Approximately £400 (for 3 full days training and all resources.) please phone to discuss price options as this can vary according to venue and numbers


• One full day training.
• 9 webinar sessions and or podcasts.
• 3 coaching Sessions - one per term. These can be face to face or via the internet which will explore a video of the Circles for Learning session led by the practitioner with Mum and baby and discussion about follow up work undertaken with the children.
• Scrap book showing the observation sessions (minimum of 6 sessions) examples of follow up work plus practitioners learning journal. The Learning Journal will show reflection on the sessions, their thinking behind follow up work as well as how work has impacted on practice.
• Completion of reading list.

This is a new option so please phone to discuss cost.

What Teachers say:

Views of the teachers who have run the project in their school.

‘I have watched the children in my class visibly grow in their learning. They have become more engaged, they talk about learning more and are far more interested in how they all learn. They are more engaged in the activities we are doing and all have taken responsibility for their learning. For me however the most important thing is that they are each much more supportive of each other. They are now able to work together in a more positive way and they all seem to be developing greater resilience when working. It really has been a great project and one i can't wait to undertake again.’
Year 5/6 Teacher.

‘I have enjoyed every moment of the work I have undertaken with children on the Circles for Learning project. It has been the most exciting journey with the children I have undertaken in many years. The whole class have engaged with the project and have not only benefited individually but also as a class. Their ability to talk about their learning, how they feel, the different stages they go through and how they meet the challenges of frustration, not knowing and working together has been quiet extraordinary. There have also been some amazing moments where they have clearly understood another child’s difficulties and have then supported them in such lovely ways.
A great journey and I that I can’t wait to set out on again with my next group of children.’
Year 2 Teacher.

My class were a challenging class at the start of this project. 76% of them had a special need of some sort, be it behavioural support or educational. When we began circles for learning it was apparent they lacked some crucial social skills, in particular the ability to be supportive of each other and the ability to be empathetic. By the end of the project the children were still challenging, however there was a vast improvement in their understanding of each other's needs. They started to be able to problem solve ways of dealing with a range of situations and became more thoughtful of others. The Circles for Learning Project definitely helped them to develop crucial social maturity and see things from another perspective. The basis of developing empathy. The whole experience was a worthwhile and rewarding one for both myself as a professional, and the majority of the children within the class.
Year 6 Teacher.