A Whole School Approach Reflective Tool - The SWAN Framework

by Educational Psychology Service / Headstart Kernow

This reflective tool was originally developed as part of the response to the pandemic and the return to school after the first lockdown. 

The tool consists of series of conversation starters / prompts covering these 6 ‘areas for reflection’ organised using the SWAN frameworkSafe, Welcoming, Altogether, Nurturing (developed by Dr Pooky Knightsmith) and a graduated response - universal / targeted / specialist

Download a copy of the reflective tool

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Conversation Starters

What are the Core Values of our school community?

What is working? What do we want to do more of? What will this look like?







(click for resource suggestions)

What do parents and children need to know before returning to school? How will this be communicated?

How can we share the positives of our return to school with all parents and children?

How will we manage expectations and uncertainties?

How will we prepare parents and children for transitions?

How will new rules/ procedures be communicated / taught?

How are key staff (class teachers/ Tutors) ensuring that all children feel welcome, whether attending or not?

How will we welcome children when they return?

How do we – the adults- want to be with children?

What will this look like in practice?

What do we want the school environment to convey?

How will we do this?

How will we ensure that all children starting with us in September already feel welcome?


How can we develop a consistent whole school ethos and approach?

How can we ensure that all parents and children have a voice? (can express worries/ ask questions/ raise issues)

How will we ensure that all of our children can continue to have a sense of belonging to school and to their Peer group?

How will all staff maintain a sense of connection to/ involvement in the school community?

How will we ensure all staff recognise and are confident about their role in recovery by providing appropriate support including (bitesize) CPD /resources.


How will the curriculum need to change- in content and delivery?

How will we teach/re-teach skills for learning?

What will an appropriate and relevant Behaviour Policy look like?

How will the strengths and resilience of the school community be identified and celebrated?

How will we know what children, parents and staff are feeling/ what their experiences have been/ what they need?

How will we ensure that all our children feel nurtured?

How will the wellbeing of all of the staff be supported?

How will we (staff) continue to nurture one another?


All of the above will also be relevant to Targeted and Specialist sections below


(click for resource suggestions)

How will we identify individual needs of children? What tools will we use to do this?

How and with whom will we develop individualised plans for return/ transition?

What happens if children struggle to follow new rules?

What are the support systems for staff within each Pod?

How will we welcome children whilst maintaining distance?

How will we support children who become dysregulated?

How will we create safe spaces for individual children?


How will we maintain and build key adult-child relationships? (those in school and those at home) 

How can we support peer to peer relationships?

How will we maintain communication between staff (within school and at home) re children’s needs?

What new training needs can we identify?

How can we ensure a flexible response to individual pupil needs?

Who will be involved in planning return/ transition for vulnerable children?

How can we ensure a consistent understanding of the needs of vulnerable children?

What systems will we have to support staff members who are struggling?



(click for resource suggestions)

Who/ how will we create individual recovery plans for our most vulnerable children?

How will we ensure that teaching of new rules and routines is done in a developmentally appropriate way?

How will important key adult relationships be re-established?

How will we create a virtual Team around the Child Approach?

How will we plan key transitions for our vulnerable children? Who will do this/ what platforms?

What Services/ support can we access remotely?

How will connection and support be maintained with staff not in school?

How will SLT/ S-G Leads/ SENDCo’s/ key adults/ those working with vulnerable children be supported?

What opportunities will there be for Peer support and supervision?


(Physically, Socially Emotionally, Cognitively)


Being safe is a basic need – without it students can’t function / flourish

A sense of belonging and connectedness – students see that we are genuinely glad to see them return. 
Clearly demonstrating to students that they are co-creators of recovery in school 

(Staff, Students, Parents, Governors, partners / outside agencies)

Ensuring /Helping all staff recognise and are confident about their role in recovery by providing support 


Creating an inclusive environment and ethos that helps all students to see school as a safe place, fostering readiness to learn. 



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