MENTAL HEALTH, WELL-BEING AND MINDFULNESS
Promoting pupil wellbeing is more than just helping children to achieve better academically. A child’s wellbeing could be the key to their future happiness. Longitudinal research suggests that a child’s emotional health at the age of 16 is the strongest predictor of adult life satisfaction, and that primary school teachers can have an effect on the emotional wellbeing of their pupils that can last five years or more (Clark et al., 2018).
For a child to be successful in school they need to be well fed, sleeping
well, feeling safe at home, and have confidence in themselves. Maslow’s Hierarchy
of Needs is a popular theory which focuses on a series of needs to be successful.
Abraham Maslow was an American psychologist who in 1943 published his
hierarchy of needs to explain human motivation. He considered there were
five needs –physiological, safety, love, esteem and self-actualisation and
he put them in the shape of a pyramid. This underpins our holistic approach to our children's education.
At Sauncey Wood Primary School, we are committed to supporting the emotional health and wellbeing of our pupils and staff. We know that everyone experiences life challenges that can make us vulnerable and at times, anyone may need additional emotional support. We take the view that positive mental health is everybody’s business and that we all have a role to play.
At our school, we promote a mentally healthy environment through:
Promoting our school values and encouraging a sense of belonging
Promoting pupil voice and opportunities to participate in decision-making- every voice matters
Celebrating academic and non-academic achievements in order to promote self-esteem
Providing opportunities to develop a sense of worth through taking responsibility for themselves and others
Providing opportunities to reflect
Access to appropriate support that meets their needs
Helping children to understand their emotions and feelings better and to feel comfortable sharing any concerns or worries
Helping children to develop emotional resilience and to manage setbacks
We offer different levels of support:
Universal Support - To meet the needs of all our pupils through our overall ethos and our wider curriculum. For instance, developing resilience for all.
Additional support - For those who may have short term needs and those who may have been made vulnerable by life experiences such as bereavement.
Targeted support - For pupils who need more differentiated support and resources or specific targeted interventions such as wellbeing groups or personal mentors.
Lead staff members to contact if you are concerned about your child’s mental health: Mr Lloyd- Mental health Lead, Mrs Vass- Mental health Lead or talk to your child's class teacher.
What do we currently do for mental health and wellbeing for our pupils and staff?
We have a designated Mental Health and Well Being Lead in school that is responsible for promoting wellbeing for our staff and pupils (Mr Lloyd)
We have nominated school council members in each class to represent their peers and gain feedback in class assemblies.
We hold extra half-termly meetings for pupils who need more regular meetings to support their needs.
We have parents’ SENDCO meetings for parents to attend and share their concerns and worries.
We have home/school communication books for pupil’s who require more regular updates.
We have move up days, extra transition sessions and meet the teacher sessions for when a pupil is finding a class move difficult.
We have an allocated buddy for all new pupils.
We have a lunchtime drop ins for pupils to be able to chat/share their worries with an adult.
We have a range of physical lunchtime clubs and quieter lunchtime clubs to promote mental health and wellbeing and support for pupils who find busy lunchtimes stressful.
We have mental health and wellbeing trained staff in order to support pupils with their needs.
We have positive behaviour systems in place to promote positive social behaviour.
We have mental health and wellbeing assemblies to promote resilience and self-management.
We have a PD curriculum that helps pupils to build important life skills, such as learning to learn, habits of mind and the growth mindset.
Our ethos is to promote supporting the development of skills and character traits such as perseverance, compassion and teamwork.
We have a Mental Health and Wellbeing Policy for our school which is regularly updated.
We include World Mental Health Day and Mental Health Awareness Week in the school calendar and plan activities for the whole school.
We offer chatty time for children to talk and share their worries.
We offer Protective Behaviours for those children who need support.
We run the daily mile and have Wheelie Wednesdays
We offer counselling, play therapy, art therapy and music therapy for those children who need it.
Sauncey Wood offers pupils many opportunities to do physical activities as well as opportunities to relax which both are ways to promote wellbeing and positive mental health.
Lunch games to play outside. Curiosity boxes to engage with outside.
Library open each lunch to borrow books to read
Home Learning Projects
Educational day visits
Before and after school clubs
Extra-curricular clubs such as yoga and mindfulness
We like to celebrate our many successes together by:
Posting achievements on social media and our newsletters
Displaying pupil’s work
Celebration Assembly each week
'Top Table’ lunchtime treat for pupils nominated by their class teacher
The school follows the DfE guidelines for the teaching of Mental Health and Wellbeing in the following ways:
Personal Development- Jigsaw
Assemblies and theme days/ weeks
Interventions to support Mental Health and Wellbeing
Staff coordinate interventions for pupils mental health and wellbeing such as:
Self-esteem individual and group activities
Mental Health Support Teams
We are currently living through extremely challenging times, and now perhaps more than ever, looking after our mental health and well-being is of paramount importance to us all.
What do I do if I am worried about my child's mental health or wellbeing?
Go to your GP as a first port of call as they are a useful place to gain medical support and signposting of local services, or speak to a School Nurse. Referrals for the School Nurse service can be made both through your GP and through school.
Talk to your child’s class teacher or teaching assistant about your child's needs or your concerns.
Talk to the school’s SENDCO Mrs Byford or Designated Mental Health and Wellbeing lead Mr Lloyd.
The Education Psychology Service has a helpline for parents.
Young Minds - The Parents Helpline is available to offer advice to anyone worried about a child or young person under 25. You may have questions about a child’s behaviour, emotional well-being, or mental health condition. You may have a child who's already been admitted to CAMHS and have questions about their treatment or want to know what to say to your GP when you visit them. Call 0808 802 5544 or visit the website.
Early Help – children and family well-being service.
Here are a few simple ways you can encourage your child to express themselves. Could you build on existing interests or passions? Think about what has helped them get through the past year. A love of dancing? Baking? Drawing? Fashion? Encourage your child by
https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/- A public health England and NHS site to help people take simple steps to look after their mental health, improve their mental wellbeing and support others.
Some useful resources that you could use at home to support your child’s mental health are below:
Advice for parents and carers: talking mental health with young people at primary school
This leaflet which was created alongside the Talking Mental Health Animation & Toolkit, features an introduction from our Patron, Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge who supported the You're never too young to talk mental health campaign stating the campaign's resources "demonstrate how we can help children express their feelings, respond appropriately, and prevent small problems from snowballing into bigger ones."
Young Minds Publications offers information on a variety of mental health issues from school problems to mental illness in families. https://youngminds.org.uk/shop/publications/
Young Minds Parents Guide To Support A-Z gives you advice on how to help your child with specific mental health conditions, and life events which might be negatively affecting their wellbeing. They also show you where you can get help:
https://www.mentallyhealthyschools.org.uk/- Quality-assured information, advice and resources to help primary schools understand and promote children’s mental health and wellbeing.
Supporting pupils’ emotional wellbeing and mental health, so that they can be listened to, are happy together and ready to learn is vitally important to us. Therefore, if you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us.
CAMHS stands for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services. CAMHS is the name for the NHS services that assess and treat young people with emotional, behavioural or mental health difficulties.
For more information, visit the website below
If you have suffered a bereavement and feel that school can support, please do contact us.
Books to support Bereavement:
Dogger – gentle intro to discussion for very young children
Badger’s Parting Gifts by Susan Varley (particularly useful if an older person has died).
Michael Rosen’s Sad Book
Tattybogle by Sandra Ann Horn
Muddles, Puddles & Sunshine by Winstons Wish – is an activity book.
Vicky Angel by Jaqueline Wilson (a friend’s death, for older children)
“I am relaxed and my breathing
“It makes me feel calm. I can
use it when I’m too excited.”
“I think it makes me feel a bit calmer, it helps me to concentrate.”
“It makes you feel more relaxed,
confident and calm.”
“It helps me to be a bit more awake and more relaxed.”
"It makes me feel calm. I do it every night when I’m in bed. It helps me fall asleep.”
WHAT IS MINDFULNESS?
Mindfulness means paying attention to what’s happening in the present moment in the mind, body and external environment, with an attitude of curiosity and kindness. It is typically developed by a range of simple meditation practices, which aim to bring a greater awareness of thinking, feeling and behaviour patterns, and to develop the ability to manage these with greater skill and compassion.