Laurance Haines Primary & Nursery School in West Watford, first employed the therapy method in 2012, when the school’s Nurture Leader, Nicola Furey, undertook the training. She comments: “The course was recommended to me by the Nurture Group Network and it’s been central to the wellbeing of the children at Laurance Haines ever since. We do use a number of therapy methods at the school but without a shadow of doubt, Drawing and Talking is by far the most effective.”
Gemma Williamson is a teacher at Laurance Haines and as Foundation Stage Leader is responsible for the welfare and development of around 120 children, she comments: “I have seen first-hand the response of children who have completed a course of Drawing and Talking and the results are outstanding. “I truly believe that it provides an avenue for these children to release and share the emotional baggage that they carry and, in turn, improve their ability to learn.”
As Deputy Head of Laurance Haines Primary & Nursery School and SENCO (Special Educational Needs Coordinator), Lizzie Butler is the ‘front door’ when it comes to referring children for CAMHS and is very much aware of the demand for early-intervention methods that can be implemented by schools.
It is estimated that 10% of children and young people have a clinically diagnosable mental health problem, yet in some areas of the country, they are stuck on waiting lists for treatment for up to three years**. Lizzie Butler says, “In our school there are around 540 pupils – that’s 54 pupils who need some kind of support – you can see why Drawing and Talking is so valuable to us.”
At Laurance Haines, a whole school approach underpins the success of Drawing and Talking, with every teacher and TA aware of the method and the remarkable improvements it can help a child achieve.
“While academic skills are extremely important, we are lucky to have a very forward-thinking leadership team, who understand that the emotional wellbeing of a child is also key to their development,” adds Lizzie.