With more and more children struggling with mental health difficulties nationwide (latest figures from Young Minds suggests that one in six children aged 5 to 16 were identified as having a probable mental health problem in July 2020), we have put greater emphasis on the support we can provide in school. We are working hard to help children to learn and understand more about their own mental health and how to look after themselves.
In recognition of the work we have done, our school have recently been awarded the Mental Health Champions accreditation.
In school, we support the learning about Mental Health through:
The teachers and school staff
School staff are receiving ongoing training to help them in supporting children with their mental health. A number of staff have received ‘Mental Health First Aid’ training, as well as more specialist training in issues such sleep, trauma and attachment, play based approaches to wellbeing, emotional literacy and resilience. There are a group of teachers in school that make up the ‘wellness and safeguarding’ team, who work together with a focus on mental health and wellbeing in the school.
We believe that children should be provided with opportunities to learn about their own mental health (and the link to living healthy lives) and also to have opportunities to learn about the wider issues around mental health. This is always delivered in a way that children can understand and access. This includes:
We also hold whole school events throughout the school year, with a focus on mental health. Such as Arts Week, special assemblies and focus on ‘World Mental Health Day’.
We work closely with our GHLL (Gloucestershire Healthy Living and Learning) Lead Teacher to stay up to date with the latest guidance around supporting children with their mental health.
Clubs, groups and interventions
We offer extra-curricular clubs which support children with their mental health; such as ‘Sunshine Club’ (nurture group), Yoga and ‘Change for life’ club; and a large range of sports clubs.
The recovery curriculum project
Following the coronavirus pandemic, we have been working hard on a ‘recovery curriculum’. We felt that it was important to consider the impact of the lockdown and school closure on the mental health and wellbeing of of our children and how we can help them to resume a normal (or new normal) life, with a focus on developing coping strategies.
We completed a number of tasks throughout the last academic year including children creating a happiness box which contains objects which make them happy. The children have also planted bulbs which help them to look forward positively to the future.
We continue to support children with their mental health when working at home due to isolation, signposting resources such as mindfulness activities and having regular contact with school staff.