Best Practice

The chronicles of a therapeutic classroom: An inspector calls

This year, Shahana Knight has transformed a real-life year 3 classroom into a fully therapeutic environment. But now Ofsted is on its way and the school is on tenterhooks to see what they make of these unusual approaches…


The year 3 therapeutic classroom continues to go well at Shevington Vale Primary School in Wigan. In fact, everyone has gotten so used to the room it feels like it was always there! It is lovely for me to see the photos of the children learning in their environments and enjoying the space.

But in the back of my mind throughout this journey I have always wondered what an Ofsted inspector would make of these changes.

Would such a different approach to classroom set-up be accepted? Indeed, is the value and role of the classroom environment given enough attention when inspections take place? Is pupil wellbeing really a focus? Are inspectors aware of the benefits of trauma-informed practices? Fundamentally, would they “get it”? Well, Ofsted called – and they were coming to Shevington Vale!
Now it is important to note here that Shevington Vale has been working with me on its Therapeutic School Award, looking at their understanding of mental health and trauma, their behaviour policy, PSHE lessons, therapeutic language and responses, and the overall wellbeing of the children.

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