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Mental Health Vision
Good mental health and well-being are at the heart of the school’s vision for its pupils and students: for young people to lead happy and healthy lives, thrive as individuals and make a positive contribution to society. As such, our mental health and well-being work is one of the school’s key activities, underpinning character development, academic success and becoming a well-rounded person.
A video about our work made by Boys in Mind (Girls Mind Too) can be found here.
The views and leadership of young people in the school have been crucial to developing our mental health strategy in recent years. Our Mental Health Strategy Team, chaired by the Deputy Head, comprises Sixth Form students, pupils in the lower school, a range of teaching and support staff, parents and partner agencies. There is also a team of Sixth Form student mental health ambassadors led by a Senior Prefect with responsibility for Mental Health. You can read a report written by students about our mental health work in the downloads section at the bottom of the page.
Our Mental Health & Well-being Strategy
Our strategy for improving pupils’ and students’ mental health and well-being is complemented by a staff mental health team and links closely to our work on equalities and safeguarding (see Related Pages). The school also works closely with the local strategic alliance Boys in Mind (Girls Mind Too) , of which the school is a lead partner: Boys in Mind: Home. Boys in Mind (Girls Mind Too) works in association with the national charity, The Charlie Waller Memorial Trust: Home | Charliewaller.
Through a wide range of activities, the school is working to build on its success with Mental Health provision to date, described as “remarkable” by Ofsted in March 2020.
The school’s goal for its mental health and well-being strategy is:
To create a culture of openness about mental health and well-being, encouraging everyone to talk about feelings, listen to one another and promote their ability to bring about change for the better.
The strategy has three broad aims:
- Creating a proactive positive mental health culture – placing a high priority on mental health and well-being as part of our vision for pupils and students and staff.
- Keeping mentally fit and healthy – developing pupils’ and students’ emotional literacy and teaching them how to be proactive about keeping mentally fit and healthy.
- Responding when things are difficult – ensuring pupils and students have somewhere to turn when they have a crisis, need some help or just want to talk.
A summary of our activities in pursuit of this strategy can be found in the downloads section at the bottom of this page.
Our Models of Practice
Our mental health strategy is underpinned by two models: Trauma-Informed Practice (TiP) and Solution Focused (SF) approach. TiP helps us recognise difficult experiences faced by young people and their adaptations to these; it promotes the power of relationships for healing and growth and is both a reactive and proactive approach to caring for mental health.
SF is a compassionate, empowering, hopeful and effective approach to support people to identify their own solutions to issues in their lives, whilst building on their existing strengths and resources. For more information on these approaches, please visit the links at the bottom of this page.
Our Mental Health Provision – All Staff
All staff in the school have received training on responding to concerns for pupils’ and students’ mental health and well-being as part of their safeguarding duties. If they are worried about a young person in the school, they will contact the Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) who will take action to address the concern, involving parents and other staff as required. For more information on the school’s safeguarding measures, see Related Pages. Tutors and teachers have a crucial role in looking after their pupils and students through their everyday work with them; our aim is for every interaction to be a positive one.
A large number of staff have undergone either foundation or extended level training in Solution Focused (SF) Approaches. They are able to help pupils and students who would like someone to listen or help them think about how to address how they are feeling. Sometimes these conversations can be quick, at other times they can take longer. Trained staff wear special lanyards which are easily identifiable to the pupils and students. All members of the Senior Management Team, Lower School Heads of House and the Safeguarding Team have had SF training. In the Sixth Form, our Sixth Form Pastoral Manager has completed the Level 3 Certificate in Solution Focused Practice and is working towards accreditation currently.
Our Mental Health Provision – Specialist Staff
The PSHE team has a programme for teaching pupils and students about mental health and well-being through lessons and events. These are complemented by assemblies and campaigns such as ‘wear green for mental health’ day. The school has been running student-led mental health assemblies for the past two years with great success; the power of pupils and students talking to their peers has had a significant impact in the school, particularly on the boys and those who identify as LGBT+. This can be seen most easily by watching the video above.
Senior pastoral staff (the Safeguarding Team, Heads of House and Sixth Form Pastoral Manager) have had training in a range of other tools and approaches to mental health, such as what to do if a young person is self-harming or showing signs of depression, and how to complete a referral to an external service such as Child and Adolescent Mental Health (CAMHS). They work closely with tutors to monitor pupils’ and students’ mental health and well-being and get involved to try to take action before things become difficult.
The school has service level agreements with two local organisations who provide in-house counselling support for pupils and students 4.5 days a week: Tara Gretton, of Solution Revolution, to provide Solution Focused therapy and Off the Record which provides counselling, talking therapy and listening support. Tara also trains staff and Sixth Form Mental Health student ambassadors and sits as an adviser on the Mental Health Strategy Team. These partnerships enable us to provide support for pupils and students without referring them outside school.
If a young person requires urgent and/or acute medical support for their mental health, the school will work with them and their parents to refer to CAMHS or take advice from a GP or School Nurse.
Mental Health During Covid-19
The school has put in a place a specific strategy to respond to mental health needs during the Covid-19 pandemic. See downloads section below. In addition, the school has submitted evidence to the Department for Education Select Committee inquiry into the impact of Covid-19 on children’s services. You can read our submission in the downloads section.