Children's Health & WellBEING
Mental Health and Wellbeing
Children's mental health is a growing concern for the whole nation, as children today face different pressures, stresses and risks. 1 in 8, 5-19 year olds had at least one mental health disorder when assessed in 2017. Anxiety, depressive and bipolar disorders in children are increasing (from 3.9% in 2004 to 5.8% in 2017).
At Coppice Valley, we are committed to promoting good mental health for our pupils and staff. Miss Wright, Mr Sowerby and Mrs Haddington are spending some of their time working as pastoral support workers, helping pupils with social and emotional well being needs.
We are also working with Compass Buzz, a local authority service who provide staff training to help pupils deal with social, emotional and mental health concerns.
Using the DfE's guidance, Mental Health and Behaviour in Schools, as a guide for good practice in schools, we work to the following ideals:
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.
Access to specialist support: working effectively with external agencies to provide swift access or referrals to specialist support and treatment.
We are committed to:
An open door policy for children to raise problems to staff
A whole-school approach to promoting good mental health
Mental Health and Wellbeing Principles and Pyramid to make clear the policies and provision we offer
Positive classroom management and clear policies on behaviour including bullying
All pupils and staff feeling a sense of belonging
Positive peer influences
A committed senior leadership team including a governor that sets a culture that values mental health and wellbeing
A dedicated Vulnerable Pupils Leader to assist staff in identifying and helping pupils with mental health needs
Continuous professional development for staff in matters of mental health and wellbeing
Identifying Mental Health and Wellbeing in our school improvement plan
A commitment to work closely with parents about mental health in children
Our Whole School Approach
- Leadership & Management champion efforts to promote mental health i.e. inclusion in the school development plan, ensuring curriculum time, assemblies and extra-curriculum time are dedicated to mental health education. We promote positive relationships between staff, pupils and parents in our behaviour and conduct policies.
- Ethos & Environment - our school vision and values promote respect, diversity and inclusion in the daily life of the school. Every morning, each class has a staggered ten minute arrival time which allows staff to spend time chatting to pupils as they arrive, giving them a warm welcome and assessing their wellbeing. Each class has a wellbeing board for pupils to visually communicate their emotional state on arrival to school. Staff use this information to support pupils. Our physical environment has been made to be homely and relaxing - low level lighting, soft furnishings, plants and calming music in each classroom. At lunchtime, we have an indoor calm club where pupils can choose to spend some quiet time. Adults are on hand to listen to any concerns, if they have any.
- Staff Development - senior leaders are active in providing ongoing professional development for all staff about mental health and wellbeing. We have h ad Compass Buzz training from Level 1 to 4 , THRIVE training and Mental Health First Aid training.
- Curriculum, Teaching & Learning - Mental Health and Wellbeing is part of our Personal, Social and Health Education curriculum. For example, we are teaching all children how to be mindful through breathing exercises, meditation and the Hi 5 hand technique. This is in order to help the children to recognise their emotions and deal with them in a controlled and calm way.
- Enabling Pupil Voice - pupils opinions are regularly sought through Q&A sessions with senior leaders and surveys. These are used to inform actions i.e. in the school development plan.
- Identifying Need and Monitoring Impact - our wellbeing pyramid helps staff identify pupils' needs and the best support to offer them. We use the Boxhall Profile to help identify best approaches to meet needs and monitor the impact of our work. Our attendance, punctuality and safeguarding registers (CPOMS) help us track the positive impact of our work with pupils. For example, persistent absence rates dropped by 3% in a year after our pastoral workers began working with families.
- Working with Parents/Carers - our pastoral workers work hard to build supportive relationships with families where the emphasis is on working together to improve wellbeing. This may include regular phone chats, meeting in school for a coffee and a chat, supporting families in meetings with services etc.
- Targeted Support - our pastoral workers can provide packages of support for pupils i.e. a series of sessions over several weeks to address wellbeing needs such as anxiety, low self-esteem and friendship skills. For pupils with more specialist needs, our pastoral workers can refer families to local services and support groups.
Please click here to see our pyramid of Pupil Wellbeing, which explains the various stages and processes we go through in educating all pupils about, and helping those who need it with, their mental health needs.
You can find out more about our Pupil Wellbeing Principles by clicking here.
It is important to recognise that school staff cannot act as mental health experts and we do not try to diagnose conditions. However, we do ensure that there are clear systems and processes in place for identifying possible mental health problems, including routes to escalate concerns and clear referral and accountability systems. We endeavour to create a safe and calm educational environment and strengthen resilience before serious mental health problems occur.
YOUNG MINDS Young Minds is the UK’s leading charity committed to improving the emotional well being and mental health of children and young people. Click on this link to find out more information and for a Parent Phone line you can call for free advice.
Sleep and Tiredness
Does your child have a regular set bedtime and routine?
In a recent survey of our children's wellbeing, a higher percentage than average for the county reported feeling tired when they come into school. Research shows lack of sleep has a serious affect on children's ability to learn. Please use the link above to find out more about how you can help your child get more sleep.