There are many ways to define wellbeing, and that is a discussion in itself. For this report, we define ‘wellbeing’ as referenced in the widely accepted World Health Organisation definition of mental health:
“Mental health is defined as a state of wellbeing 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 make a contribution to her or his community.”
Over the course of their education, children spend over 7,800 hours at school.
With such a huge amount of time spent in the classroom, our school provides an ideal environment for promoting good emotional wellbeing and identifying early behaviour changes and signs of mental distress. The social and emotional skills, knowledge and behaviours that young people learn in the classroom can help them to build resilience and set the pattern for how they will manage their mental health throughout their lives.
Emotional wellbeing is a clear indicator of academic achievement, success and satisfaction in later life. Evidence shows that mental health and wellbeing programmes in schools, can lead to significant improvements in children’s mental health, and social and emotional skills. Wellbeing provision in schools can also lead to reductions in classroom misbehaviour and bullying.
This is where the school community at High Oakham Primary School are taking a stand - we are wising up to wellbeing.
Following the arrival of our new headteacher, Mrs Astle organised her first day at our school, an INSET day around 'resilience' - the importance of being able to bounce back. She was, and continues to be massively touched by the story of Dick Moore and his family who know only too well about the issues that lack of resilience bring. She talked about being drawn in to his key speaker talk at an Educuational Psychologist's conference focussed on 'emotional wellbeing and mental health' and it struck a nerve - we could, as parents, be Dick, looking back at how we could have supported our young people more with being resilient.
You can find out more about Dick here by watching a Ted Talks video on You Tube
What are we doing as a school to support children with their mental health and emotional wellbeing?
- We recognise that children need to know that they matter, that we value them, that their voice can be heard, that we can help them, that we will be here for them. We acknowledge them every day through greetings, a gesture, a nod, a smile and a conversation.
- We talk about the power of 'I know', 'I appreciate', 'I understand' - to children some things are huge, and we need to recognise this and affirm their feelings for that thing - be it a scratch they have, a funny feeling in their tummy, a sad feeling because of a falling out, a sigh because they cannot do something - we need to set aside our 'rush' to teach and ensure progress and attainment and ensure that we have done our best to support our children to be ready to learn - emotionally available. We do this at all levels - leadership to office staff, teachers to midday supervisors.
- We have secured training for staff with the CAMHS Primary Mental Health Team around issues such as anxiety, anger and emotional resilience.
- We have become a part of the Anna Freud 's National Centre for Children and Families and in collaboration with University College London, Place2Be, Young Minds, and Heads Together, will be taking part in a study on the implementation and impact of the Mentally Healthy Schools website.
- We are auditing our current practice in relation to this area and will identify areas of development and build on areas of strengths that will shape the school improvement direction of wellbeing at High Oakham Primary - this is including both staff and children.
- We have begun to survey our parents around this area to find out their views. We will analyse these and progress further with staff and children survey to gain an overall picture of views of wellbeing in our school.
- We do not avoid talking about having health minds - every Monday assembly around our values links back to being emotionally available. We want it to become part of everyday language and embedded in practise and routine.
We do not know everything .... if you have any skills that you could share in this area or any ideas or suggestions, please do not hesitate to get in touch
We are going to be offering workshops linked to promoting good mental health and emotional wellbeing very soon at school so watch this space!
Parentline - a confidential texting service for parents and carers
Parentline, a new confidential text messaging service for parents and carers across Nottinghamshire, is to be launched on 29 January 2019 by the Trust.
The texting service is an easy way for parent and carers of children aged 0 – 19 years to confidentially ask for help about a range of issues, such as:
- feeding and nutrition
- child development
- parenting advice and support
- emotional health and wellbeing
- behaviour difficulties
- family health
You can contact the Healthy Family Team and find out how to access other local services for example, School Health Team, breastfeeding support or health visitor led sessions.
Parents and carers can contact the text messaging service for advice from Monday to Friday 9.00am - 4.30pm excluding bank holidays. Messages sent to the dedicated number are delivered to a secure website, and responded to by the Healthy Family Team. Texts are usually replied to within one working day. Automatic replies will be sent to any messages received out of hours explaining where to get help if their question is urgent, and when they can expect a response.
We are pleased to be able to offer Parentline to parents and carers in the County. It will make accessing health services easier and more accessible, increasing our reach to all families, and creating another platform for parents and carers to connect.
Text Parentline on 07520 619919
Children's bereavement support
Child Bereavement UK.
Ideas for teachers in schools as well as parents and children. Their website includes guides and information on bereavement for schools, from early years to higher education. Helpline: 0800 02 888 40 childbereavementuk.org
Childhood Bereavement Network.
Offers information about local support services. The organisation’s free Growing in Grief Awareness programme helps schools plan ahead to support pupils facing or coping with bereavement. childhoodbereavementnetwork.org.uk
Childline. Supports children and young people with a range of issues, including mental health, bullying and family problems. 0800 1111
Grief Encounter. Supports bereaved children and teenagers. 020 8371 8455 griefencounter.org.uk Hope Again. A website designed for young people by young people who have been bereaved (part of Cruse Bereavement Care). 0808 808 1677
Sibling Support. A website tool which provides resources for children who are coping with the death of a brother or sister. 0800 02 888 40
Winston’s Wish. A child bereavement charity which offers specialist practical support and guidance to bereaved children, their families and professionals. The charity also has has a range of free PSHE lesson plans on loss and bereavement for Key Stages 1-4. 08088 020 021