Why we need to take time to look after our mental health

At Hatherop, we know that wellbeing is not only about developing strong, supportive relationships in school and providing a safer and more inclusive environment.  It is all about our holistic health.  

Every child’s wellbeing is dynamic and changeable and it is important that our children feel they have approachable and friendly staff to talk to when they are feeling emotional for any number of reasons. Therefore, we have specifically trained staff in Emotional Literacy who are trained to apply psychological knowledge of children’s social and emotional development to particular areas of needs.  

Our Hatherop Haven is a drop-in session for any pupil that may feel the need to off load in its own cosy ELSA room. Other well-being initiatives we use are reflection journals, one to one tutorial with staff, mindfulness and meditation clubs alongside the timetabled PSHEE lessons.

As a school we were very proud of our achievement in winning the prestigious Gold Award from the Anti-Bullying Alliance for our work in this area. We have reinforced this with new meetings for our Form Captains who are our designated Anti-Bullying Champions. 

A relatively new initiative for girls, called ‘Girls on Board’, was successfully launched last year. This project aims to support and empower girls in the difficulties they can sometimes find in relationships.  A worry shared is a worry halved and as we know it is difficult sometimes for children to raise concerns directly with staff.

We also have a ‘Worry Box’ in school. This will help children raise issues or problems in a discreet and manageable way so that staff can be aware of or support those that may need a guiding hand.

We have introduced new monitoring strategies within school. This enables us to quickly signpost early help opportunities for those who may be struggling. In addition, it works to develop our PSHEE curriculums to focus on staff specialism in teaching the importance of mental health, wellbeing and personal safety to children.  We also continue to have the superb support of the Gloucestershire Constabulary Schools Beat program which sees a police constable regularly attending PSHEE sessions with our older children to discuss healthy relationships in the real world as well as online safety in the virtual.

We feel it is essential to cultivate a mentally healthy school where every pupil and staff member feels accepted, motivated and supported.  The teaching of health and well-being enables our pupils to develop the knowledge, capabilities and attributes they need for mental, social and physical wellbeing for now and in the future. We want to equip our children with the skills and resilience they will need to cope with the demanding and ever-changing world they will encounter in their adult life, whilst scaffolding support for them when it is needed in a targeted way.