Our rainbow room Primary schools are busy places. Each morning is a hum drum of activity with teachers and support staff arriving and preparing lessons for the day ahead however at our school, our designated team of safeguarding leads is also opening the doors to our Rainbow Room with the aim to support our children, their families, and the wider community. You may think our Rainbow Room is just that, a brightly designed room providing a safe space but our service is much more than what takes place within those four walls. Our Rainbow Room provision starts before the school day even begins! Support before school Many children at our school have siblings who attend another school, whose parents may have work commitments or who just need that little extra support. We have children who want to walk to school with their friends, safely. A popular solution, even in the rain… the walking bus! This has proved to be a great way to support families who live close by but when we started renting a minibus, an idea initially born to drive our children to sports competitions, we soon realised such an asset could provide so much more, especially to families that aren’t local – picking children up so they too can arrive in time for their lessons! We will do our utmost to ensure our children get to school and when they, and any parents or carers who may be with them arrive, they will always be greeted at 8.30am when the school doors open. Come rain or shine, the children will always start the school day greeted by a friendly familiar face. Support in school Our actual Rainbow Room is in a central location that both children and staff can easily visit during the school day. We have a Rainbow Room card system which provides children that may need a few moments out of a busy, stimulating classroom – children who are facing challenges at home, those who are new to our school, those with SEND or sometimes children that just want to see a friendly face, space where they can take time to reflect. The room has proved so successful that whilst some children visit the room for a minute or two, others would stay all day if they could to the point we’ve even had to introduce a visual timer! Support outside of school Our school is situated in one of the cheapest rental property areas in the UK. Consequently, many families have moved here, many of which have English as an additional language. Our Rainbow Room team help families secure school and nursery places for their children, and we contact charities and other external agencies that offer housing and food crisis support. We will also signpost families to furniture banks as well as community and family centres and we’ll support families with school admissions both for our school and when children make their next steps to secondary schools. Also, on a Monday and Wednesday our Assistant Head Teacher collects surplus food from our local Aldi and displays this at the front of the school. This gives families the opportunity to take what they need and unsurprisingly, the box always empties. Support from afar Our safeguarding leads have weekly meetings with SLT, SEND and attendance teams so that we can identify children and families that need additional support. Our comprehensive safeguarding computer system, that is used and recognised by many schools through the United Kingdom, allows us to send and receive documents securely, meaning we can prepare to support children and their families before they even step through our door, whatever part of the UK they came from. A ’typical day’ for our inclusion staff starts with logging onto systems, checking emails and calendars but from there on in, no one day is ever the same. You never know the challenges that families are facing and who may need your support, however small or large, but our staff pride themselves on knowing that the Rainbow Room provision tries to support every family in our school community, providing hope beyond the school gates. By Lisa Pigg I am Assistant Head Teacher, SENCO, inclusion team lead, Looked after children's teacher and DSL. View all of Lisa Pigg's posts.