NWCC’s journey towards an Emotion Works Platinum School Award


Hello! I’m Greg Clark, PT and P7 teacher at North West Community Campus, Dumfries.

Myself and the staff team here at NWCC are looking forward to sharing our school’s journey through the Emotion Works Award Programme over the coming weeks .


Our school context and Early Journey - 2017

My personal EW journey began 5 years ago when I was first introduced to the programme at a February inservice day delivered by Claire. The school name at the time was Lochside Primary School and we were one of the first Primary Schools in Dumfries & Galloway to have Emotion Works training. It was organised by Wendy Thin, our Learning Centre Principal Teacher, who had attended training previously and took on being our EW lead for Lochside.

My insightful, cringe-worthy GTCS professional learning reflection about the training read…

I found this very interesting and a positive way of talking and interacting with pupils to enhance their learning experience and develop their ability to cope with and manage emotions. I look forward to seeing how this approach works across the school as the staff work together to implement this approach"

As a largely Decile 1 catchment school, supporting pupils to be emotionally regulated and ready to learn is a huge part of daily school life in north-west Dumfries. We therefore knew that Emotion Works would be helpful with ensuring effective emotional communication with pupils, and we also felt that the wider approach’s relational and nurturing principles were a good fit. 


Getting Started

We started with a 1-cog at a time approach across P1-7, building teacher and pupil confidence to use Emotion Works. The school provided all classes with hard copy resources and all teaching staff were set up with online access to the digital resources and practice examples. 

Time was allocated over the rest of the year for teachers to engage with the materials and deliver Emotion Works lessons and soon there were cogs evident on classroom walls and corridor displays across the school.

Practice Sharing

In October we had a follow-up visit with Claire which was organised to coincide with an open-afternoon for parents to showcase the cog work that classes had been doing.

This was followed by an after-school practice sharing and reflection session for staff with some visiting colleagues from local catchment schools interested in finding out about Emotion Works. The staff session also included a practice sharing input from local teacher and EW practitioner Lynne Maxwell who was working through her Trainer accreditation process with Claire This was a very helpful introduction for us as a source of Emotion Works guidance & support within our area.

Encouraged by the positive feedback from parents, other local teachers and Claire about our roll-out so far, staff were feeling very positive about our next steps with Emotion Works and began planning how to embed the approach further and incorporate it into our longer term planning.

We already knew that the year ahead would involve us moving site and merging with another Primary School, High School and Special School to form the North West Community Canvas 2-18 provision.

With such a big transition on the horizon we felt optimistic about using Emotion Works to support our staff and pupils through the experience and we were looking forward to sharing it with our new colleagues and school community.

2018 - 2019: The School Merger Period

As part of the planning period for the move to NWCC in August 2018, we were keen to promote Emotion Works as a recommended resource to our other merger primary school, St Ninians. At one of our planning sessions Lochside staff shared the resources, some learning examples and ideas about using Emotion Works at our new setting. It was agreed to take it forward and  a decision was made to order a set of the large outdoor display cogs for our new playground.

When life gives you lemons… 

NWCC first opened in August 2018 but some structural issues with the building resulted in 2 extended periods of school closures. While already facing the challenge of bringing two schools worth of nursery and primary pupils together, the need to decant to a mix of make-do accommodation was far from ideal.

However, with Emotion Works already on-board, the opportunity allowed us to prioritise emotional HWB within each primary class and to deliver it through literacy as it is such a great tool to use alongside novels and stories etc. 

? huge bag of worries pic?

A year later, in August 2019, the structural issues were remedied and we were finally able to begin settling into school life on our new campus without the prospect of any further school closures…or so we thought!

2020-21: Covid, school closures and more lemons!

Emotion Works Recovery Programme

During the Covid lockdowns, some of our school-based development time was assigned to staff to use Emotion Works as a planning tool and familiarise and take part in any relevant online training.

This set us up really well to then deliver the Recovery Programme when back in school. The Recovery Programme still provides the core of my own, and others, “setting the classroom environment/first few weeks” planning each new school year.  We put together an entry to the Recovery Programme competition with Emotion Works, highlighting the great work going on and the set of display cogs we won sit proudly in my classroom!

Remote learning – kept things going

Recovery Prog – consolidate cog curriculum – professional re-set

3Rs – health & wellbeing prioritised – 

Play Video

Practice Sharing & the EW community

still to edit & add pic

Over the last 2 years I discovered that Twitter was more than just football news and political ranting and as I started “EduTwitter” I have consistently shared my own, and some school EW learning. The value of getting our work out there and showing other professionals, but also parents (and probably some P7 tweeters!) I have found hugely rewarding.

Through this I was honoured to be asked by Claire to share how I had planned a series of learning experiences based on Emotion Works and the Euro2020 football tournament. This was highly rewarding and we continue to share through our school, as well as teachers’ own, twitter accounts.

We were lucky to have Lynne Maxwell, a local EW trainer work within our school for a year, supporting primary and secondary learners and using EW as a key teaching tool. We also had staff time to work and learn from Lynne on how Emotion Works could be used in school.


We have made EW a huge part of the learning and teaching at NWCC. All new staff are introduced to it, we have resource packs for every class as well as adding subscriptions to the digital resources.

We have agreed at staff meetings and as part of on-going Working Time agreements to have Emotion Work “Showcases”. We assign a designated area (“The big Slidey doors!”) to be used as a display for Emotion Works learning at every stage. We then have had “learning walks” and left each other feedback to inform next steps. 

As a 2-18 campus I am working with secondary Pupil Support staff and other departments to ensure that the learning that starts from nursery can progress to support and help secondary learners who are well-versed in EW by S1. 

The next step in our journey is very exciting as we work through the School Award Programme and I look forward to catching up with people and learning from others at the upcoming sessions.

Thanks for taking the time to hear about NWCC’s Emotion Works journey.

Next steps??

Parent Engagement – twitter / class dojo – 

Nursery – part of recent showcase – steps 

Twitter examples – own account – class teaching – other teachers at NWCC


(recent showcase – teacher sharing (NWCC twitter)

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