UPDATED – The inspiring story of a Primary School Champion

Congratulations Pauline McKibben, Principal Teacher at St Joseph’s Primary School in Glasgow on being recognised as an Emotion Works Primary School Champion for her exemplary practice and whole school capacity building efforts.

Pauline began her training with Emotion Works in September 2015 when she attended an introductory 2-part training for primary teachers along with her Head Teacher, Susan Allan. The training was particularly on the look out for potential ‘champions’ to help us with our vision of getting Emotion Works rolled out and established in Scottish Primary Schools despite current budget limitations and training cuts.

With Susan’s backing, Pauline took on the task of championing Emotion Works at St Joseph’s. She started by piloting the resources with her Primary 1 and Primary 7 classes using music and literacy activities with great results. Pauline returned to tell us about her experiences at the practice sharing session that makes up part 2 of the training and was further inspired by the practice examples of others at the session too.

Reassured she had made a good start, Pauline was keen to find a way to share Emotion Works with her St Joseph’s colleagues. She and Susan decided to take us up on our host-a-session training offer. This involved co-ordinating an introductory training date in November for the rest of St Joseph’s teaching staff while welcoming along representatives from other local schools too. To help colleagues visualise how Emotion Works can be used in practice, Pauline created a display for the training event showing a number of samples of work from her P1 and P7 classes. She also gave a presentation explaining how she got started, and how she adapted her approach across the levels when teaching different age groups and abilities.

It was very evident that Pauline was making extremely good use of Emotion Works resources and ideas, and we were keen to see more. On a return visit to the school we were able to observe Pauline’s P1 and P7 teaching, look over and discuss her planning and speak to some pupils about their learning. With our newly defined mainstream practitioner accreditation criteria in mind we were delighted to award Pauline our Mainstream Practitioner Accreditation Certificate just before Christmas (please see Accreditation Pathways for a worked example of her accreditation submission.

We were now very confident about Pauline’s ability to support and guide the rest of the St Joseph’s staff as they got started using Emotion Works. Three months later we were excited to return for the follow-up practice sharing session and we were not disappointed. The St Joseph’s teachers put on an excellent showcase of visual displays and presentations demonstrating an impressive collection of Emotion Works practice ideas (a slideshow of the work can be viewed in our Practice Support members area)

St Joseph’s Head Teacher Susan Allan closed the practice-sharing event by thanking all of her staff for embracing the Emotion Works programme and for embedding it so quickly across the school. It was very gratifying to hear her own personal feedback on the Emotion Works programme as she commented on how flexible and user friendly it is for supporting staff and parents with their own emotional understanding, and how the guidance and resources will ensure that pupils with varying support needs can be included in emotional learning and literacy.

St Josephs Head Teacher, Susan Allan

To conclude, Susan shared her hopes about the potential impacts of Emotion Works on learning and wellbeing outcomes for her school community. This was encouraging to hear, since we also share the same hopes for learning and wellbeing on a larger, national scale. However, we now realise that our programme is only one part of the bigger picture. Strong school leadership, motivated staff, confident teachers, and champions like Pauline are what’s also needed to get Emotion Works rolled out, established and making a real difference to learning and wellbeing in our schools.





Congratulations again to Pauline and many thanks to Susan and the Staff and Pupils of St Joseph’s School for allowing us to share this inspiring story.

Feeling inspired?

If you’re interested in helping to get Emotion Works up and running in your own school or learning community, please get in touch.