WAVE multi-academy trust – Ceri Skilton

WAVE is a multi-academy trust looking after:

  • 13 schools and around 800 pupils KS1-KS5 (5-18yrs). Most of the schools are Alternative Provision Academiess, educating children who are permanently excluded or at risk of permanent exclusion, or whose health means they cannot attend their school.

They also provide education in:

  • A Tier 4 CAMHS unit, a residential unit for children with significant mental health and hospital inpatient education for pupils.

They are growing provision across the trust and through outreach to the mainstream schools they serve in:

  • Cornwall, Devon and Somerset
  • Around 500 schools in a 6,500 sq. mile reach.

Ceri Skilton has worked as a TA at Nine Maidens, one of the Wave Trust primary units and is now a Family Worker for Wave. She is doing amazing work across the MAT with the support of CEO Rob Gasson, her Headteacher and her colleagues and is an inspiring example of what is possible.

Ceri’s training route to teach mindfulness:

  • .b Foundations
  • MBSR
  • Train to Teach Paws b
  • Train to Teach .b
  • School Mindfulness Lead

She has taught Paws b across different classes, .breathe to year 6 and .b Foundations to colleagues and is developing an outreach programme, teaching as part of a supportive transition package for students going to a new school.

Ceri teaches Paws b differently in the APAs to help students access it, at the same time, all of us can gain from her approach:

  • Nine Maiden’s Mindfulness Lead Alfie spoke at the MiSP Annual Conference (and got a free t-shirt).

    To run Paws b as part of the primary curriculum. Students take part as they would any other lesson. Behaviour expectations around taking part and the consequences of not doing that are the same as any other lesson.

  • A team effort including the support of staff, the CEO, Headteacher, class teachers and TAs. “Everyone’s on board with helping the students to really access the lessons while I’m teaching them.”
  • We do a lot with the Trauma Informed Schools and I try to keep up to date with Trauma informed mindfulness practices.
  • Teaching lessons 1-6 across younger classes.
  • Teaching lessons 1-12 to older classes.
  • Introducing .breathe to year 6.
  • To keep sessions short, 30 minutes max.
  • To read the mood of the class, if there’s more interest do a little longer, if unsettled or less interest do a bit less, move through it simply, mindfully and pacier.
  • Guiding practices . . . I do tend to keep them very short.
  • I tend to have children place hands on body, tummy, chest and we do a lot of lying down and sitting practices.
  • I don’t tend to do the standing up, walking around practices because they tend to lose focus quite quickly.
  • To really support children in terms of informal practice through the day, outside the times when they are doing Paws b.
  • In all our classrooms we’ve got Paws b displays.
  • In our reception area, where students can go for supported, regulated time with an adult, I have a Paws b display there just as a little reminder.
  • When I was a Teaching Assistant and working in a class it was really easy to weave practices through the day:
    • Paws b at circle time
    • Eating practices at lunch
    • Go out on little wellbeing walks and do listening practices
In Feb 2021 I delivered the .b Foundations course online to 17 staff members from across the MAT (Cornwall, Devon & Somerset). On completion of the course I set up a WAVE Mindfulness Team on Teams. Those who have completed the .b Foundations or similar 8 week course can join me once every half term for a one hour mindfulness sitting group.
  • Using myself as a role model, once the kids are aware of mindful and mindless, I’m quite clumsy, I drop things, I forget things and I’ll ask “Ooh is that mindful or mindless?”.
  • I wanted to encourage the students in Primary 3 to continue practicing throughout the week between sessions so I set up a daily lunch time club. I go to the classroom after lunch every day and those who want to can come and sit in the corner of the room and do a Paws b practice with me (Pics 2 & 3).
  • I did the .b training course and was introduced to the idea of a 30, 60 and 100 day challenge and the creation of a ‘Student Mindfulness Ambassador’.
  • I plan to continue to teach the Paws b sessions across the four Primary classes as and when the classes change over the year.

Overall the implementation of the Paws b curriculum has been a positive experience, mindfulness seems to have a life of its own and continues to grow and develop in our APA.

Find out more about Wave Trust, their strategic approach to embedding mindfulness across the trust, their approach to staff wellbeing, delivery of Paws b and it’s positive results.

For Ceri and Rob’s talk at the MiSP conference with Rob Gasson click here.