Whole-school SCARF Scotland: Preparation and Planning

About this section

This page supports the development of your curriculum intent.  Divided into three parts, it gives you tools to audit the provision for health and wellbeing. Whether new to SCARF or not, this section helps you assess what's working well and what would benefit from development, guiding you through the process of developing a curriculum that best meets the needs of your children and the school community.

“A culture where children and young people feel included, respected, safe and secure and where their achievements and contributions are valued and celebrated is essential to the development of good relationships. In order to create this environment for effective learning and teaching there should be a shared understanding of wellbeing underpinned by children’s rights and a focus on positive relationships across the whole school community.”  Developing a positive whole-school ethos and culture – Relationships, Learning and Behaviour - Scottish Government 

"The mental, emotional, social and physical wellbeing of everyone within a learning community should be positively developed by fostering a safe, caring, supportive, purposeful environment that enables the development of relationships based on mutual respect.”  Education Scotland National Improvement Hub

Part 1: Auditing your provision

Successful promotion of children’s health and mental wellbeing is rooted in your school’s values. Wherever you are in the cycle of reviewing these values, taking time to reflect on them – how they are agreed, stake-holder involvement and how they are part of the lived experience of everyone in school – will have a significant impact on outcomes across school, particularly as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Our vision evolves through ongoing reflection and debate across the school and community. As a result of this active collaboration, the school and community have ownership of the vision, values and aims. These are shaped by our clear understanding of the social, economic and cultural context in which children, young people and their families live alongside our awareness of current policy and practice. Through effective leadership at all levels, our school community works together to turn the shared vision into a sustainable reality.” How Good is Our School 4: 1:3 Leadership of Change, Level 5 illustration.

Resources to help inform school vision and values

Building mental wellbeing: plans and possibilities - the 5 levers of a recovery curriculum – a presentation by Professor Barry Carpenter at the 2021 Evidence for Learning Conference.

From vision to action: developing your school's core purpose – an example and model for developing vision and values

“Health and wellbeing is important at all times of our lives. Children and young people thrive in situations where they feel safe, secure and respected. Family and friends have a strong influence on health and wellbeing and shape the habits and behaviours which can last a lifetime.” Parentzone Scotland

Effective parental engagement is an essential part of a whole-school approach to children’s health and mental wellbeing. Strengthening or maintaining good existing relations with parents will also help you in implementing the curriculum effectively, supporting key safeguarding needs of children.

Resources to support parental engagement

The following documents contain information that you may want to share with parents to inform them about Coram Life Education, SCARF, and RSHP.

It may also be useful to share the Long-term Curriculum planning document. (http://www.coramlifeeducation.org.uk/downloads/Long-termplanningforHealthWellbeingusingSCARFsuggestedhalftermlyunits.docx) 

“Where possible, children and young people should take ownership of their learning and progression within health and wellbeing, and help co-design and deliver core components of the HWB curriculum as well as wider aspects of school life.” Whole School Approach Framework for Schools to Support Children and Young People’s Mental Health and Wellbeing, Scottish Government 2021

Engaging pupils’ views as you develop your curriculum for this subject will lead to more successful outcomes. It’s an essential element of a whole-school approach to supporting mental health and wellbeing.

Resources to support pupil voice

We have a range of Pupil Voice resources and guidance, including wellbeing measurement tools and ‘how to’ films, to support and enhance pupil participation, engagement and consultation.

“There is now considerable evidence from research that supports the view that addressing learner participation makes for effective policy making, enhances school life, and improves a range of outcomes for learners.” Learner Participation in Educational Settings (3-18), University of Stirling and Education Scotland 

Working through the self-evaluation helps you to measure your school’s current health and wellbeing provision, identify areas for development and, with help from the extensive SCARF resources, ensure continuous improvement.  View the View the HGIOS self-evaluation tool.

We provide all the mapping you need to evidence how the SCARF resources help you to provide a comprehensive health and wellbeing curriculum. You can tailor your curriculum to your pupils’ needs within our library of additional resources.

Your SCARF mapping tools

View Curriculum for Excellence and SCARF coverage of HWB Experiences and Outcomes.

View Curriculum for Excellence links to see how health and wellbeing can be covered in different subjects.

View SCARF to SHANARRI mapping – linking SCARF lessons with the GIRFEC wellbeing indicators.

View SCARF’s Subjects and Issues page – to respond to pupil needs with support from SCARF resources.

Part 2: Planning for health and wellbeing

Learning across the whole curriculum as outlined within Health & Wellbeing Responsibility of All should ensure that children and young people develop the knowledge, understanding, skills, capabilities and attributes they need for mental, emotional, social and physical wellbeing. Well-chosen and evidence informed programmes may complement curriculum delivery, and will be most effective when they are well integrated into the day-to-day curriculum.”  Whole School Approach Framework for Schools to Support Children and Young People’s Mental Health and Wellbeing, Scottish Government 2021

SCARF lesson plans have been designed to cover all aspects of health and wellbeing. The SCARF suggested half-termly units provide a spiral curriculum, ensuring age-appropriate teaching and learning from children’s first to final year at primary school. Whole-school SCARF provides additional tools to help your school promote the learning from lessons across the wider curriculum and across all aspects of school life.

SCARF's flexible curriculum planning tools

Watch this short guide to SCARF's planning tools to understand how they enable you to choose and then tailor your curriculum so that it meets your children's particular needs.

A guided tour of SCARF's flexible planning tools.

Every school is different and the needs of your children and community are different.  We've created a library of additional resources so that you can tailor your curriculum to your school's unique needs. We also provide resources for special calendar events – e.g. Children's mental health week – and SCARF assemblies to help launch and embed each unit's theme.

Additional curriculum resources

View our Additional resources library.

View the Calendar of Special Events.

View the SCARF assemblies.

Wear your Scarf to School day - a special event to support children's mental health week for all SCARF schools. Find out more about Wear your Scarf to School day.

Schools with mixed-age classes use SCARF very successfully. Here is guidance that will support you in using our resources for such groups. 

SCARF lesson plans have a degree of flexibility and opportunities to differentiate built into them; teachers report to us that they don’t have any problems working through, for example, the  P3 then P4 or P5 then P6 half-termly units on a two-year rolling programme. 

Because SCARF lessons form a spiral curriculum through the primary years, the suggested half-termly unit themes are the same for each year group and lesson plans are sequenced in a similar way for each year group, with similar themes and age-appropriate learning opportunities across each year group.

There are just a couple of things teachers may need to plan in more detail and in collaboration with other staff when planning for delivering SCARF to mixed-age classes:

  • SCARF's early level plans (both Nursery and P1) are designed and written very much around the pedagogy for early years.  These early level plans also follow the same unit themes as first and second level; this can support whole-school learning. If your school doesn’t have Nursery-age children, then teachers can draw on SCARF N plans to supplement the material. All the early years plans in SCARF have been written by early years specialist practitioners. 
  • For children in P6 and P7, SCARF lesson plans that cover changes that occur at puberty (including menstruation, wet dreams etc.). These elements may be best taught within children’s own age groups – this will depend on the physical and emotional maturity of the children in your school. Some SCARF schools choose to teach these topics in separate age groups, using the Headteacher, for example, to help cover the staffing needed for this single-age class approach.
  • The SCARF Flexible Planning Tool on our website is a valuable tool for planning for mixed-age classes.  It will help you plan and record what’s being taught across the school. Some schools use it to plan health and wellbeing for the whole school, creating plans that can be shared with all class teachers. 

Our educator team in Aberdeenshire have worked with a large number of small and very small schools to devise SCARF plans for two- and three-class schools. You can find these plans on the SCARF Policy and Planning page.

Mixed-age planning for Rec/Y1 (Eng) and P1-P2 (Sco)

Teaching and learning for this age group can present additional challenges so we've developed special guidance to help you.

View the specific guidance about mixed-age planning for a Rec/Y1 (Eng) and P1/P2 (Sco) that we've developed for SCARF schools.

There are ways to help strengthen and embed the values that support everyone's emotional health and wellbeing that go beyond the taught curriculum, such as assemblies to reinforce key messages and visual reminders around school.

Resources to help embed a whole-school approach to wellbeing

SCARF assemblies

We have a set of assemblies to help you introduce SCARF values and sets to introduce each of the half-termly unit themes, differentiated for younger and older children. View SCARF assemblies.

Key questions

To promote reviewing and thinking skills. One complete set for each year group, based on the SCARF suggested half-termly units. View the Key questions.

Suggested reading books

View the list of books used to support or enhance SCARF themes and lesson plans.

We provide you with long-term and medium-term planning documents. These help you to provide evidence of a coherently planned and sequenced curriculum that builds knowledge and skills. They can also be used to provide information for parents/carers about the key elements of the curriculum.

Long-term and medium-term planning tools

These are sequenced according to the content of the SCARF suggested half-termly units. We've made them editable, so that you can adapt them if your school prefers to organise the SCARF plans in a different way.

View the SCARF long-term and medium-term plans on the SCARF Policy and Planning page.


Part 3: Staff development and training

"When a wide range of high-quality, sustained professional learning experiences are undertaken, teachers are more likely to inspire pupils and provide high-quality teaching and learning experiences, enabling learners to achieve their best.” The General Teaching Council for Scotland

Staff training and confidence are vital to implementing an effective health and wellbeing curriculum and will contribute significantly to teachers' understanding of how the principles of effective health and wellbeing education can have a positive impact across the whole school. 

Our Making the most of SCARF comprehensive staff training is included in your SCARF subscription.  We also provide year-round support and guidance to all our SCARF schools - all at no extra charge.

SCARF schools can also take advantage of the regular free and low-cost training opportunities that we provide. Find out more and view our current training offers.

Accessing your free training and support

To arrange your Making the most of SCARF free training, please get in touch with your local Coram Life Education team, or contact us.

SCARF schools can also take advantage of the regular free and low-cost training opportunities that we provide. Find out more and view our current training offers.

Free high-quality CPD for staff

Coram Life Education now has a partnership with leading children's mental wellbeing organization ACAMH (Association of Child and Adolescent Mental Health).  Through this partnership, we're providing a series of free webinars, led by experts within the field of children's mental health and facilitated by Professor Barry Carpenter, the UK’s first Professor in Mental Health in Education, a Chair created for him at Oxford Brookes University. Barry is also author of the Recovery Curriculum, adopted by many schools to help manage the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on children's mental health. 

Find out more and sign up for free webinars on the ACAMH section of our staff training page.  

Support for staff wellbeing

Whole-school SCARF also acknowledges the vital importance of staff wellbeing. See the resources and tools for this on the Embedding and Extending page.

In addition to our training for individual staff we also provide bespoke whole-staff training courses. The current courses and workshops that we offer can be adapted for training your whole school: 

If you have any questions about our bespoke training, please contact us.

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