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Happiness Passports

Happiness is fundamental for our positive health, wellbeing, relationships, learning and so much more.

With that in mind, every pupil at Riverside School has a personalised Happiness Passport, designed and written with their individual needs in mind. This is a supportive and positive document which focusses on each pupil’s wellbeing and happiness and allows us to identify and document how we can consistently best support each individual to thrive and Be All That They Can Be.

We are committed to ensuring that each Happiness Passport is as personalised and meaningful as possible, and truly reflects the individual child and their family. Each pupil’s Happiness Passport serves to support and provide a vital part of their personalised curriculum.

The Happiness Passport is written with the intention of being shared with everyone who supports or spends significant time with a pupil, whether that be during the school day, after school or at the weekend. We know how important consistency is, and we hope that by sharing a child’s Happiness Passport with the various people in their life, we will all be in a better place to offer consistent support, in the best and most meaningful ways for them.

They enable us to share important information to help people get to know our pupils and be better placed to support them. For example, if a pupil is starting a new club, a respite setting or getting ready to transition to college.

We seek family contributions in order to make sure every Happiness Passport truly reflects our pupils both at school and beyond.

Each Happiness Passport is unique, dependent on individual priorities and needs. They consist of a combination of the following pages:

My Life, Culture and Community
My Communication
My Sensory Needs
My Medical Needs
My Physical Needs
My Regulation
My Play

Every pupil has a ‘My Life, Culture and Community’ page. This allows us to hear from our families and document their world at home. It enables us to bring each pupils’ individual experiences and backgrounds into their school life and curriculum.

We believe every pupil carries a virtual rucksack full of their personal lived experiences, their own cultural capital and it is part of our responsibility to share this content with each other, allowing us to collectively celebrate our differences and similarities, ultimately to widen each other’s worlds and to learn from each other in a mutually respectful and inquisitive way.

This page also provides us with a way to document places or areas within our families communities that they may like to access with their child but currently may not be able to or may find challenging. For example, a particular barber, dentist or shop that they would like to be able to access more meaningfully and successfully. There may be pupils who are currently scared of walking past dogs in a local park or pupils who may find it difficult to stay seated in a families’ particular place of worship.

Once families feel comfortable sharing this information with us, we are then able to do our best to add this to their child’s curriculum offer, e.g. to work towards regular visits to a particular location, to create social stories to support understanding, to reach out to the location in question and support them to be more inclusive in their offer.

Every pupil has a ‘My Communication’ page linked to their SCERTS Communication Partner Stage. This details what each individual pupil’s communication looks like and how it can be successfully supported. The School Communication Lead and/or Speech and Language Therapists may be consulted and included as needed. This page also includes what each pupil's engagement looks like and how this can further be supported.

Every pupil has a ‘My Sensory Needs’ page and the level of information included within each of the 8 senses will differ dependent on each pupil's individual sensory needs and priorities. If needed, the school’s Sensory Lead and or the Occupational Therapist will support in the writing of this page. Staff will then work consistently in accordance with what is detailed to ensure each pupil’s sensory needs are being met.

Some pupils may also have a ‘My Physical Needs’ and/or a ‘My Medical Needs’ page within their Happiness Passports. Again, this will be dependent on their personal needs and the support they require in order to thrive within and beyond their school day. These pages will be written in conjunction with their EHCPs. The school nurses and physio therapists will be consulted and included as required.

Every pupil has a ‘My Regulation’ page included as part of their Happiness Passport. Dependent on their individual regulation needs this will either be a ‘Universal’, ‘Targeted’ or ‘Specialist’ Regulation page, tailored to best meet and support their needs. This may change throughout the year as needed to reflect the ever-changing needs of each individual.

This page in particular reminds us as supporting adults to continuously be detectives. We believe that all forms of dysregulation are a form of communication or an unmet need and that it is our responsibility to try and find the ‘why’ behind these moments and provide the essential support needed.

Unlike outdated Behaviour Plans, our Happiness Passports allow us to see and celebrate every pupil's strengths first. Our overarching aim is to support our pupils to be able to regulate both within and beyond school. The content included within this section reflects and supports each pupil’s personalised interests, motivators and joys as well as the things that may act as triggers and the indicators that we may see before a moment of dysregulation occurs. This level of personalised information allows us to support each pupil to Be All That They Can Be, and to remain at their optimum state for learning and life.

There are times when a pupil’s dysregulation may require support from staff to help them to mutually regulate. The information on this page ensures we are best placed to support each pupil’s self and mutual regulation. It helps to promote our confidence in the mutual regulation we provide, supporting us to be safe and predictable adults, who provide safe spaces and a consistent, reassuring approach. This page supports us to be clear and proactive with the strategies needed to support each pupil’s regulation and to further foster positive, trusting relationships and connections.

Like our pupils, these documents are ever changing. We ensure they remain live and relevant, and we share them with families whenever changes are made to further promote the essential consistency needed between home and school.

Our pupils in the Early Years also have a ‘My Play’ page. We recognise the importance of play for all children in the early stages of school life and endeavour to prioritise the teaching of these fundamental skills in a meaningful and accessible way for our children at Riverside school.

The Happiness Passport is a working document and we continue to update it as needed to reflect any changes throughout the school year. We encourage our families to contact us if anything changes and for our staff to continually reflect, revaluate and make changes as needed to ensure it is the most relevant and up-to-date reflection of each child and young person.

Wherever possible, we ensure that our pupil’s voices are also captured throughout their Happiness Passports and that they are as involved as possible in the most meaningful way.

Ultimately, our Happiness Passports are intended to help support our pupils for life beyond and outside of school, whilst serving to remind us that our pupil’s happiness and fulfilment is central to everything we do at Riverside School.