Wallasey school achieves prestigious award

Weatherhead High School in Wallasey has been awarded the prestigious ADHD Friendly School award by the ADHD Foundation for their work with young people with ADHD in the last academic year.

Weatherhead High has achieved this remarkable accomplishment by showing that they are proudly committed to supporting all learners within their school, whatever their particular needs, to improve their life chances through education.

The school considered all of the main barriers to learning for children with ADHD and has sought to address them in their everyday practice. This includes the use of tactile resources as a tool to assist students with regulating their attention such as fidget resources and resistance bands as well as notepads, enabling pupils to doodle to help focus while listening.

The learners at Weatherhead are also able to use ear defenders to drown out distractions when working.

The school has also considered how emotional dysregulation can be a key barrier to learning for young people with ADHD and have put plenty of adjustments in place to address this. For example, the whole school has been taught a variety of self-soothing strategies such as deep-breathing exercises and mindfulness during their PSHE lessons.

Some classes have also had access to yoga in their PE lessons. In addition to this, the school offers a variety of wellbeing-based interventions for those that would benefit from this.

Giving students with ADHD ample opportunity for movement and physical activity was a key feature of the submission for the award with many strategies introduced across the school.

Movement breaks have been utilised effectively to help learners to regulate and refocus their attention. For example, all of the students with ADHD have a ‘time-out pass’ which they can use when they feel it would benefit them.

The school has also launched an ‘Active Playgrounds’ initiative which encourages all students to take part in physical activity during every lunchtime. Further to this, all teachers have ensured that they give plenty of opportunities for group work and movement within their lessons, enabling learners with ADHD to reap the benefits of physical activity without missing out on any learning.

Weatherhead High School has done a wonderful job of celebrating neurodiversity and de-stigmatising neurodiverse conditions.

This celebration was launched through multiple assemblies and lessons all centred around the subject of neurodiversity, and led to a wonderful display being created. This display focuses on successful people living with ADHD, Autism, Dyslexia and more, helping the students to focus on the strengths associated with these conditions, reducing the stigma.

Michael Graham, Director of SEND from Weatherhead High School said, “We are extremely proud to have received this award and have the work that we do to support our neurodiverse students recognised.

“Our staff have engaged with a wide range of training offered by the ADHD Foundation and regularly make adaptations based on the recommendations from the specialist staff. We are looking forward to continuing our work with the ADHD Foundation and are committed to furthering our understanding of how to best support our pupils.”

Colin Foley, the training director of the ADHD Foundation said, “It has been a privilege to work with Weatherhead High School. The staff have gone above and beyond to make their lessons and their school environment enjoyable, supportive and safe spaces for their students with ADHD and I’m delighted that they are getting the recognition that they deserve.”

The ADHD Foundation, based in Liverpool, works in partnership with individuals, families, doctors, teachers and other agencies to improving emotional well-being, educational attainment, behaviour and life chances through better understanding and self-management of ADHD, ASD and related learning difficulties.

Image: (L-R) Michael Graham (Director of SEND), Maria Stebbing (ADHD Foundation Therapist), Ellie Brennan (Assistant SENDCo) and Annmarie Whelan (Headteacher) 

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