Positive Transitions

A partnership with Impact on Urban Health

Greenhouse Sports has partnered with Guy’s and St. Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, working with Impact on Urban Health to support their drive to make schools a more nurturing and supportive place for children in the key area of mental health support and the challenging transition from primary to secondary school environments – particularly so for children from low-income households.

Key Information:

Oval Learning Cluster and five of their member schools: Ashmole Primary, Wyvil Primary, Herbert Morrison Primary, Vauxhall Primary and Lilian Baylis Technology School. Supported by ImpactEd, University College London, and Place2Be.

Four academic years, from September 2022–August 2026

WHAT we're doing together

Three Greenhouse Sports coaches will work with around 300 children between years 5 and 9, based full time in one secondary and four primary schools. Coaches provide 121 support, group mentoring, lunch and after school clubs, support for school PE sessions and specialist sports coaching to children most at risk of developing or worsening so called ‘behavioural difficulties’.
Coaches understand that theway a child behaves and interacts with others at school is often an expression of how they feel or what they are dealing with in their lives. Many schools lack the capacity or expertise to support children when distress or trauma is communicated through behaviour.
Our coaches help connect schools, community groups, and families during periods of transition, which can be especially challenging for young people trying to cope with poverty. The model prioritises respecting and nurturing children and has been shown to boost confidence, engagement with other school activities, academic performance, and wider school culture.
All coaches are successful sports professionals who went to similar schools to the ones they are working with, and who have experience of the sorts of issues young people in Lambeth are facing every day. They will provide extra support for children with mental health issues that cannot be addressed in classrooms and are not being supported by CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Support).
The project is an opportunity to develop and test a potentially replicable model to help schools create safe and nurturing spaces for every child.

All children deserve strong and positive mental health, and schools play an important role in creating nurturing spaces where every child can thrive. Greenhouse Sports has had a huge impact on the children, schools, and communities they support and we’re delighted to fund and work on this project.
Julika Niehaus
Portfolio Manager for Impact on Urban Health

The Greenhouse Sports Coaching model has been transformative in our school and our coach is a full member of our school community. So far, we have really been excited by the opportunities the programme brings in helping students to build positive relationships with each other, their coach and staff members.
Karen Chamberlain
Headteacher at Lilian Baylis Technology School

It is a tribute to all Greenhouse Sports staff and trustees that Guy’s and St Thomas’ place their faith in our organisation and coaches to deliver this pioneering study into a public health concern that particularly affects young people from among the poorest in our society.
Beatrice Butsana-Sita
CEO, Greenhouse Sports

Partnership Aims

Test the use of sports coaching and mentoring as a tool for schools to support more children to have positive mental health. The coaches will focus particularly on children whose distress is being communicated through their behaviour and interactions with others

To prevent children with ‘behavioural difficulties’ from being isolated or excluded, building a school culture that takes a more holistic and nurturing approach to wellbeing

Build more trusting relationships between schools, families, and community groups to ensure every child gets the support they need. Children coping with poverty and the cost of living crisis will be a particular focus

Plug capacity gaps in classrooms, providing more support for school staff and opportunities to work with and learn from coaches

Work with ImpactEd, Place2Be, and UCL to measure the impact and effectiveness of this approach

Share learnings with other schools who may be able to replicate this model, and with commissioners and funders who may be in a position to better support similar initiatives(both locally and on a larger scale)

Gather evidence to makea case for schools and communities leading on early intervention, and having the capacity and support to make that possible

strategic fit

Research studies and insights shared by families are clear that school transitions can be periods of extreme stress for children, and manifest asbehaviours that both young peopleand schools find difficult.

Also, Impact on Urban Health know from working closely with the Oval Learning Cluster that many primary school staff don’t have the capacity or confidence to support every child’s mental health. Teachers describe anticipating which children will find the transition to secondary school most difficult but don’t know how to support the child or their family.
Sport and sports coaching is one tool schools can use that’s proven to help young people to express themselves and feel seen. Having full time coaches and mentors trained in mental health support, who crucially understand and relate to what the young people are living through, could be a powerful way to make school a place that all children can thrive.

For more information, read the full statement on our partnership by clicking the button below.

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