Health & Wellbeing
Our Emotional Health and Wellbeing Statement
We know that the emotional health of children is the strongest predictor of happiness in adulthood and we want all of our children to grow up to be happy, confident, independent people who can contribute positively to society. Happier children learn better and generally perform better in school.
Conversely, poor mental health undermines educational attainment and life satisfaction. One in eight children and young people aged 5 to 19 have a diagnosable mental health disorder.
As importantly, the mental health of teaching staff impacts on children too, and teachers play a very important role in modelling positive emotional health. All staff also deserve to enjoy their job and feel supported.
Therefore, the emotional health and wellbeing of all members of St Paul's CofE VC Junior School (including staff, children and parents) is fundamental to our philosophy and ethos ‘wellbeing for all’.
- To ensure that through the promotion of positive emotional health and wellbeing, children and young people are helped to understand, recognise and express their feelings, build their confidence and emotional resilience and therefore increase their capacity to learn.
- To increase the awareness, understanding and reduce stigma amongst children, staff and parents/carers of issues involving the emotional health and wellbeing of young people and to provide support at an early stage to any child who is or appears to be suffering from mental health issues.
Promoting positive emotional health and wellbeing:
The culture at St Paul's CofE VC Junior School promotes children’s positive emotional health and wellbeing and avoids stigma by:
- Having a whole-school approach to promoting positive emotional health and wellbeing within an ethos of high expectations and constant support.
- Openly talking about and discussing positive mental health in class and collective worship, and promoting the importance of sharing difficult feelings and emotions with people we trust.
- Having a committed staff community that sets a whole school culture of positive emotional health and wellbeing, support and values.
- Ensuring high quality continuing professional development (CPD) for staff.
- Working closely with children, parents and carers.
- Whole school promotion of building individual resilience and tenacity in all areas of the curriculum.
- Having a designated space (The Butterfly Garden & Sensory Room) to support mental health and wellbeing in the school community.
Our school offers a range of services to help our children develop positive mental health and wellbeing, as well as additional support for those experiencing mental health difficulties. These include:
- Build positive parent/carer partnerships to enable early intervention to accessing mental health and wellbeing support and to allow for consistent strategy implementation within home and school to support the child.
- Having clear communication for parents/careers such as home-school books, visible staff at school drop-off, regular teacher contact, and pastoral support so that any changes can be identified and support given to child/ parent / carers as required.
- Teachers and support staff are well placed to spot changes in behaviour that might indicate a problem and offer support and guidance. Many things can cause a change in mental health including traumatic events (e.g. loss or separation, life changes, abuse, domestic violence or bullying).
- Our school counsellor, Mrs Berryman, can work 1:1 with children struggling in class with behaviour and/or emotional concerns.
- Behaviour policy which helps create a positive school environment and support children in making the right choices which contributes to their own and others’ emotional wellbeing.
- Weekly wellbeing-focussed collective worships in order to raise awareness and understanding of what contributes to positive physical and mental health, and to provide strategies for children to look after themselves and each other.
- The Daily Mile, experienced PE teacher, and wide array of sports clubs to boost children’s physical fitness which studies show positively impacts on children’s body-image, and physical and mental health.
- Weekly wellbeing sessions provided for children identified as needing support with friendships, worries and self-esteem.
- Transition support provided by outside agencies to Y6 children and additional sessions for those who need it.
- Providing calming and restorative spaces for children to spend time in such as the newly refurbished library, the school garden (where our Outdoor Learning takes place).
- Constructive links with outside support and specialist agencies (e.g. school nurse, play therapist) to provide interventions for those with additional mental health needs.
Promoting emotional health and wellbeing of staff
The emotional health and wellbeing of staff is of paramount importance to effective running of any school. Not only does it directly impact the wellbeing of children but, as significant adults in children’s lives, teaching staff must set a good example and model positive emotional health. More than that, all staff deserve to enjoy their jobs and feel supported so they can enjoy long and enjoyable teaching careers. To this end, we offer a range of interventions and support to help promote the positive wellbeing of our Staff. These include:
- No morning staff briefings at all so that staff have more time in class to get ready for the day ahead and only one staff meeting after school on a Wednesday.
- Teachers are allocated additional PPA time (4 hours for FT teachers, compared to standard 2.5hours) to reduce stress and help manage workload.
- An annual staff wellbeing survey to monitor how our staff are doing, and then agreeing actions collectively to improve their working lives.
- A newly refurbished and spacious staffroom with comfy seating, situated in a quiet location on the school site.
- A supportive SLT who regularly check-in with staff informally and through performance management.
- Realistic and manageable planning and marking policies that do not place too much pressure on staff or increase workload unnecessarily.
Any member of staff, child, parent/carer concerned about the mental health and wellbeing of a child should speak to the class teacher in the first instance. The class teacher will monitor and support them, and refer to the School Leadership Team for additional support or for further intervention.