With more and more children struggling with mental health nationwide (especially following the coronavirus pandemic), we are working hard to help children to learn and understand more about their own mental health and how to look after themselves.
In school, this is supported by:
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 is a group of teachers in school that make up the ‘health and wellbeing team’, who work together with a focus on mental health 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’.
The recovery curriculum project
Following the coronavirus pandemic, we are working hard on a ‘recovery curriculum’. We feel that it is 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 have already completed a number of tasks since September and we aim to continue this work through the academic year. All of the children have created a happiness box which contains objects which make them happy. These boxes can be used to bring comfort when the need arises. They have also coloured rainbows to show respect and give thanks to NHS staff and key workers, who have helped us during the pandemic. 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.
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 Family Support Team
Stella and Katie, our two family support workers, are available all week to provide additional support for children and their families. This can include working 1:1 with children, to help them with problems (such as dealing with friendship issues, anger management, parental separations) and also with their families, such as signposting to other agencies who can provide support in the home.
More information can be found by clicking here - https://www.coalwayjunior.co.uk/family-support-team/
We are very proud to be part the Gloucestershire Trailblazer programme, working in partnership with Young Minds Matter. We are one of only 72 schools from Cheltenham, Gloucester and the Forest of Dean who offer this service.
Through this programme, we are able to link up with specialist mental health services in Gloucestershire, to offer support tailored to the needs of the children. This can cover issues around anxiety, friendship issues, low mood and exam stress. School staff can also work with parents to try and access further support through TIC+ (teens in crisis) and CAHMS. We have a designated educational mental health practitioner who we meet with regularly and who can help with providing this specialist support.