Southmead Primary School

Southmead Primary School

Headteacher: Mr Nicholas Plumb

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Our Pastoral Team

Our Pastoral Team

What is Thrive?

We know that children learn best in school when they are happy and settled. At Southmead Primary School we are using the Thrive Approach to help us develop our pupils’ emotional and social well-being, so they can best engage with their learning.  Thrive helps us to check children’s readiness to learn, to identify any gaps and then plan to meet them.

The Thrive approach offers practical strategies and techniques and is built around online assessments which identify children’s emotional development and provides action plans for their individual needs.

Research has shown that how we behave is linked to how we feel and our emotions are linked to how we learn. By teaching children to recognise and notice these feelings and emotions it can help with their development and learning. Children sometimes need some extra support with their emotional growth and this can be temporary or over a longer period of time.

Positive relationships are at the heart of Thrive. We use these relationships, together with play and creative activities, to give children key experiences at each different stage of their development.

Through using the Thrive approach, school staff;

  • gain an understanding of children’s behaviour as a way of their communicating their needs
  • can foster supportive relationships that enable productive learning for all children
  • develop the skills to support more vulnerable children, together with parents and other professionals.

Why might my child attend a Thrive session?

Many children experience difficulties during their time at school. These may include:

  • Difficulties with friendships.
  • Getting into trouble at playtime.
  • Finding it hard to settle in the classroom.
  • Finding it difficult to manage their strong feelings.
  • Not knowing who to turn to when feelings are too big to manage on their own.

These situations can lead to many different feelings which may seem overwhelming at times. They might include: anger, frustration, sadness, loneliness, confusion or anxiety. 

All these feelings are very normal and happen to a lot of children. Thrive sessions help children learn to recognise and manage their feelings to develop strategies that will help promote their learning at school.

What will happen in a Thrive session?

The session may be on an individual, family or small group basis. Sessions are tailored to the developmental stage and needs of the child(ren). During each session there will be an activity which may include:

  • Story telling
  • Circle games
  • Arts and crafts
  • Sand play
  • Movement and relaxation
  • Hand and foot massage
  • Cooking and preparing food
  • Role play and puppet work
  • Games

 More information

For more information about the Thrive approach see the website: or contact Mrs Tonia Huckstep and Mrs Jo Matthews Pastoral Leads and Thrive Practitioners at Southmead Primary School on 01271 812448 or



Wave Project held at Croyde Bay funded by Barnardo's (February 2021).


We had the opportunity to be referred by Barnardo's to access three sessions of surfing hosted by the Wave Project in Croyde.

Twelve of our pupils were able to take part in this opportunity over three Wednesday mornings in February. The first week had temperatures of minus degrees and with snow.

All twelve pupils coped with the weather conditions and all came back for more!!

Speaking to Jasmine from the Wave Project after the last session she said, “They are a hardy bunch and they faced challenging conditions. The waves were high and they got a dunking but they didn't give up and went back in and did it again."


Here are some comments from the children who attended:

Alex  - (Yr 5) “I loved it, it was really fun, enjoyable and challenging. I got dunked, it was really, really, really icy. If you ever go surfing try meditating on a surfboard, I did and it was fun.


Connor – (Yr 5) "I have never surfed and I had lots of fun. It was great fun to ride on the waves and I was able to stand up on my board."  


Teaching staff said both boys were so full of enthusiasm wanting to share their experiences when they came back into class.


Ele – (Yr 6) "I enjoyed going through party waves (really fast waves) and swimming on the waves on my last day."


Lilly – (Yr 6) "I enjoyed it because lots of people I know from my school were there. I managed to stand up on my board and catch a few waves. I also managed to impress my dad who is a good surfer."


Alfie – (Yr 6) "It was really fun and I really enjoyed it and I challenged myself."


Emily – (Yr 6) "It was fun and I was able to surf a couple of waves. The first week was tricky and I didn’t think I could do it but in the second week I could. I had a great time."


James – (Yr 6) "It was really good fun. On the first day it was snowing and there was a low tide. The second day it was sunny and it was high tide. The third day was raining and it was a very high tide. I still enjoyed it as I was able to get up on my knees. The cold weather didn’t bother me because I wore the right equipment a really thick wetsuit."


Blake – (Yr 6) "I enjoyed the waves - they were amazing. On the first day it was surfing."


Caitlin – (Yr 4) "You learn how to surf professionally and it's super fun. It does take a while to stand up and you can get really tired from it but you get to wear really cool wetsuits."


Max – (Yr 4) "I enjoyed the games we played and on the first day as I was walking back up after surfing my hands were very cold and it had been snowing. I got to use a special surfboard."


Ciaran – (Yr 4) "I enjoyed surfing because it meant I could go in the water again. It was very cold on the first week, I have never surfed before. I was able to stand up on the second lesson and I lost track after I counted three times.  I’d love to carry on surfing."


Hazel – (Yr 4) "I really enjoyed it. It was cold but I got up on my board and I would like to carry on surfing."


For more information about The Wave Project click here.

Families in Grief supports children, young people and their families who have experienced the death of someone close to them.


Mrs Matthews is our Bereavement Lead and liaises with Fig.

If parents feel their child would benefit from some pastoral work with Mrs Matthews, please drop her an email at: or access FiG directly by filling in the referral form below.


There is also a leaflet below for more information.

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