Conatus Federation – a fantastic place for learners with ADHD

Conatus Federation – a fantastic place for learners with ADHD

Conatus Federation in Greenwich has been awarded the prestigious ADHD Friendly School award by the ADHD Foundation for their work with children with ADHD this academic year. The Federation includes Kidbrooke Park Primary School, Kidbrooke Park Learning Centre, Boxgrove Primary School and Boxgrove Designated Specialist Provision, all of which have shown great commitment to making school an inclusive place for all learners, whatever their needs.

Conatus Federation has 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 in each classroom as a tool to assist children in regulating their attention. A plethora of resources is available for children to choose from including wobble cushions, glitter bottles, resistance bands and many other fidget resources. All 4 schools were also mindful of the fact that children with ADHD can really benefit from physical activity and exercise. With this in mind, each school provides movement breaks for any child who needs them as well as offering plenty of space for games, physical activity and sensory circuits throughout the day. In addition to this, Conatus Federation also have a Forest School and allotments in each school to provide further opportunity for outdoor learning.

Helping learners with ADHD to regulate their emotions and learn self-calming strategies was a key feature of the submission for the award and a fantastic approach to this was adopted across the schools. Conatus Federation provides a variety of calm spaces and rooms for children to utilise if they need some space to calm and regulate their emotions. The use of ‘Zones of Regulation’ displays throughout the schools have also enabled children to develop their emotional vocabulary and to understand their emotions. The children have also been taught a variety of self-soothing strategies to use including, deep-breathing exercises, yoga, progressive muscle relaxation, meditation and much more.

Conatus Federation has also done a tremendous job of both celebrating neurodiversity and supporting parents of neurodiverse learners. They have created an incredible display in each school which celebrates Neurodiversity, focusing on the positive traits of different conditions as well as showcasing some successful people living with ADHD and ND, including some staff members! Linked to this celebration, the Federation also held a “What’s Your Superpower Day”, whereby the children designed and created their own costumes to highlight the brilliance of Neurodiversity. They have also hosted a variety of coffee mornings for parents to learn more about ADHD and share their own experiences. Holly Broughton, the Executive Headteacher of the Partnership said, “As a Partnership of Schools we believe it is our duty to support pupils to be successful in education and proud of themselves. Our staff have immersed themselves in the learning to be able to best provide for the pupils in our care, of which I am very proud. From this point, we intend to continue enhancing our understanding further; this is the start of a powerful journey where bespoke understanding of each unique pupil replaces outdated behaviourist methodologies in our Schools. I am particularly proud of the leadership provided by Alexandra Connolly leader of the Learning Centre based at Kidbrooke Park in gaining this accreditation. Her robust support, challenge and advocacy of the needs of pupils with ADHD is truly inspirational. We are grateful for the support provided by those at the ADHD foundation for sharing their resources and knowledge and hope other schools are encouraged to take up their support.”

Colin Foley, the training director of the ADHD Foundation said, “It has been fantastic working with
Conatus federation. The staff at all schools 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 for this that they truly 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.

Notes to Editors:
For further information, please contact: Tony Lloyd.
About the ADHD Foundation
ADHD Foundation was set up in 2007 to promote and improve the mental health outcomes, educational attainment, social inclusion and life chances of children, young people and adults affected by ADHD through early intervention with a range of training and therapies.
The Foundation has pioneered a lifespan multi modal service in the Northwest and is the largest provider of training for schools in the UK. The ADHD Foundation Influences policy and provision nationally through evidence based programmes that enable those with ADHD to self-manage their ADHD, develop resilience, reduce dependency and improve their life health, education and employability.

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