Mental Health and Wellbeing
Schools have a central role to play in enabling their pupils to be resilient and to support good mental health and wellbeing. At Pyrcroft Grange Primary School we are passionate about developing a whole school approach to mental health and wellbeing. Our long-term aim is for this approach to be embedded within all layers of the school community.
What do we mean by mental health?
The World Health Organisation definition is,
“Mental Health is defined as a state of well-being in which every individual realises his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully and is able to contribute to her or his community.”
Good mental health isn’t just the absence of mental health problems such as depression or anxiety. Rather, it’s the presence of positive characteristics, such as being able to cope with life challenges, handle stress, build strong relationships and recover from setbacks.
It includes the way we feel about ourselves, the quality of our relationships, our ability to manage feelings and deal with difficulties and how much meaning and joy we derive from life.
At Pyrcroft Grange Primary School we base our whole school approach to positive mental health and wellbeing on eight key areas.
· Leadership and management that supports and champions efforts to promote emotional health and wellbeing.
· An ethos and environment that promotes respect and diversity. The health and wellbeing of pupils and staff is promoted through the ‘hidden’ or ‘informal’ curriculum, including leadership practice, the school’s policies, values, and attitudes, together with the social and physical environment
· Curriculum teaching and learning to promote resilience and support social and emotional wellbeing. Using the curriculum to develop pupils’ knowledge about health and wellbeing
· Enabling pupil voice to influence decisions.
· Staff development to support their own wellbeing and that of their pupils.
· Identifying need and monitoring impact of interventions.
· Proactive engagement with families.
· Targeted support and appropriate referral.
Our driving aim is to create a safe and calm educational environment, with clear expectations of behaviour, well communicated social norms and routines, which are reinforced with highly consistent consequence systems. The school has eleven key values that are interwoven within the school culture and support the development of pupil character.
The school role in supporting and promoting mental health and wellbeing can be summarised as:
· Prevention: creating a safe and calm environment where mental health problems are less likely, improving the mental health and wellbeing of the whole school population, and equipping pupils to be resilient so that they can manage the normal stress of life effectively. This will include teaching pupils about mental wellbeing through the curriculum and reinforcing this teaching through school activities and ethos.
· Identification: recognising emerging issues as early and accurately as possible.
· Early support: helping pupils to access evidence based early support and interventions; and
· Access to specialist support: working effectively with external agencies to provide swift access or referrals to specialist support and treatment.
What do we do at Pyrcroft Grange Primary School?
· A senior mental health lead who has a strategic oversight of the school ethos which promotes positive mental health and wellbeing
· All staff give a high priority to providing pupils with skills that enhance their emotional well-being, so that they can learn well from the minute they begin their school day
· School Governor oversees the promotion of a whole school approach to well-being and positive mental health
· Development of pupil character at the core of the curriculum (school values)
· Effective school policies that embed mental health and wellbeing
· Opportunities for emotional management regulation and opportunities to build habits and set goals that build personal wellbeing · Encouraging pupils to look after their own mental health and wellbeing where they are able to
· Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion is a key focus within school environment and curriculum
· Clear processes and strategies in place to identify and support children who require mental health support (including the graduated response approach)
· Have clear systems and processes in place for early intervention and identification, referral to experienced skilled professionals, and clear accountability systems.
· Development of secure, trusting relationships in all layers of the school community
· Outside agency support (CAMHS, Early Help, Children’s Services)
· Children experience a sense of belonging
· Library Bus open at lunch time
· Pupil Voice (within class, school council, eco-heroes, leadership roles)
· Opal Play (play ambassadors)
· Robust P.E. scheme with opportunities throughout the week to be active
· Robust PSHE curriculum in place (One Decision)
· Explicit teaching the of the statutory Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education and Health Education
· Trained ELSA
· Targeted interventions (tailored to meet pupil needs)
· Fully equipped sensory room
· Zones of regulation
· Wide range of clubs and extra-curricular activities available to all children
· Mental health and school wellbeing timetable
· Wellbeing Warriors workshop (Year 4)
· Smart Moves transition programme (Year 6)
· Pastoral support
· Strong links with pastoral staff at local secondary schools
· Weekly class and whole school assemblies
· Parent workshops
· Provision of CPD opportunities for staff on mental health and wellbeing
· Weekly parent newsletters that signpost parents and carers to useful resources and agencies
· Mental health and wellbeing as a standing agenda item in meetings with staff, governors, and the senior leadership team
· Building important links between home and school, empowering them to voice their ideas and opinions, and communicating effectively with them to promote their child’s learning and educational experience
· The school operates an open-door policy (staff and senior leadership team)
· Positive reward system and regular celebration assemblies