Supporting Mental Health & Wellbeing
At Birchills C of E Community Academy, our aim is to care for and develop the whole child educationally, emotionally, spiritually, morally and physically. As well as caring for their education we also care for their mental health and wellbeing and feel that it is essential to provide children with information to enable them to make life long, well informed decisions about their diet and health.
At Birchills C of E Community Academy, we aim to promote positive mental health and wellbeing of every member of our school community and recognise how important mental health and wellbeing is to our lives, as is physical health. We recognise that children’s mental health and overall wellbeing can affect their learning and achievement.
A key aspect of our role in school is to ensure that children are able to manage times of change and stress, and that they are supported to reach their potential or access help when they need it. We also have a role to ensure that children learn about what they can do to maintain positive mental health, what can affect their mental health, how they can help reduce the stigma surrounding mental health issues, and where they can go if they need help and support.
Positive wellbeing is promoted through the curriculum and all school activities. Through a carefully planned approach to PSHE/RSE/R.E. our pupils are helped to acquire the knowledge and develop the skills and understanding they need to lead confident, healthy, independent lives, and to become resilient, informed and responsible citizens.
In addition, whole school approaches such as assemblies and circle time sessions are used to further develop the pupils’ knowledge of strategies. For example, peaceful problem solving is taught in circle time sessions to help children learn to control and manage feelings when there are disputes on the playground. Whole school events are held including Time to Talk Day in February, Mental Health Awareness Week in May, World Mental Health Day in October, and Anti-bullying Week in November. During these events, the focus is on mindfulness and resilience with the purpose of teaching children strategies for dealing with anxiety and copying with changes.
LOOKING AFTER OUR EMOTIONAL WELLBEING AND MENTAL HEALTH
What do we do at Birchills C of E Community Academy to support children’s emotional well-being and mental health?
- Birchills C of E Community Academy is committed to creating a happy, caring and supportive environment. As well as a learning environment, the school ensures there is a positive, supportive and inclusive ethos where children can thrive and achieve their personal best.
- Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) is a central to the curriculum across the whole school. PSHE assists pupils to cope with the changes at puberty, introduces them to a wider world, manage transitions and enables them to make an active contribution to their communities. The concepts covered in PSHE include identity, managing feelings and emotions, relationships, change, resilience and being healthy, which includes physical, emotional and social well-being.
- Birchills C of E Community Academy offers Nurture Provision. Children who experience domestic violence, bereavement, anxiety and any other life experiences that may affect their emotional well-being are identified and supported by a fully trained ELSA (Emotional Literacy Support Assistant) teacher who will offer regular 1:1 or small group nurture support. The school supports the child in their specific needs, meaning the pupil is at the heart of the school focus and their learning is understood developmentally.
- Within the National Curriculum, every child has a minimum of two hours of physical education each week. This is taught by our experienced PE Teacher. The majority of pupils attend at least one sport-related after-school club, and many take part in inter-school sporting competitions.
- We promote healthy eating throughout the school. We have children’s garden areas with green house, potting shed and raised growing beds. One area is used by children in the Early Years and the other as part of the curriculum in KS1. Parent volunteers support children working in the garden. The children grow a variety of fruit, vegetables and herbs and when harvested use these in cooking activities.
- To support children’s social and emotional development, and their well-being we offer an extensive range of after-school clubs - all with a view to increasing the range of experiences that children have, enabling them to make informed choices for adult life. Activities are designed to be fun and cater for a wide variety of interests.
- We monitor the wellbeing of our disadvantaged and vulnerable children.The Inclusion Manager is a member of the Senior Leadership Team and meets with children and their parents regularly.All children for whom the school receives Pupil Premium funding, have a Champion who is a member of the Senior Leadership Team.
- We include World Mental Health Day and Mental Health Awareness Week in the school calendar and plan activities for the whole school community.
- The school is committed to gaining a fuller understanding of mental health and supporting the needs of identified children. In December 2020 we were very proud to achieve the national Inclusive Award.
- All staff are trained in supporting children’s wellbeing; ‘Developing Practices around Mental Health and Wellbeing’ will continue as a school improvement focus for the next academic year.
- As a school, we have and continue to access outside help and support for pupils when required.
The Expert Parent's Guide to Anxiety has been written to support parents in helping children understand, cope and become strengthened by their experiences of anxiety at a young age. To access this guide please click here.