Mental Health and Wellbeing
At High Well the mental health and wellbeing of our school community is a key priority. We have been developing our support and provision in this area for the past number of years and it plays a large role in our ethos of Preparing for Positive Futures.
We have invested in staffing and whole staff and targetted training in order to support pupil, parent/carer and staff mental health and wellbeing. Training includes:
- Mental Fitness (all staff)
- Youth Mental Health First Aid (25 staff trained)
- Thrive ( 2 practitioners)
- The Chimp Paradox/My Hidden Chimp (Year 9)
- School Breathe Programme (all staff)
Mental Health and Wellbeing also forms part of our curriculum and each class has dedicated curriculum time each week. See below for further details.
In Class Support
Below is a range of different ways that classes address and support mental health and wellbeing on a weekly basis:
Daily check ins at start of the day, after breaks and lunchtimes and at the end of the day to review
Mindfulness, including guided meditation, mindful colouring
Use of the Chimp Paradox to support pupils to regulate themselves
Supported social times
Planned team time/tutor time/assembly time to support remote learners to feel part of their class
Fidget toys and other sensory support
Helping pupils to access news programmes and discuss current affairs to reduce anxiety
Team lunch time activities to create positive peer interaction
Playing games and using games not only to relax and have fun but also develop essential social skills and support regulation
Virtual quizzes with pupils to support pupil engagement with each other
1:1 remote check ins by phone, email, or Teams
Class wellbeing checkers for students to express current emotions/feelings (Lego men)
Use of School Breathe programme
‘Feel Good form Time’ watching funny animal videos before check ins with class
Creating a wellbeing booklet so pupils have access to this through the day with a range of activities to support their feelings and mood at that time
Exercise – pupils going out for walks so they can talk, walk, get some fresh air and vitamin D
Yoga in PE lessons
'Device free time' is scheduled on each timetable- prizes for the best use of this 45 minutes reinforcing the idea of using our time to do something to benefit our wellbeing
'Feel Good Friday'- a lesson where the children can interact using MT.
Time for a brew lessons- children asked to join the lesson with a cup of tea/hot chocolate to set the climate for mindfulness work
Reading short stories which link to SEMH- e.g. The Big Bag of Worries
Use of email system in KS4 for pupils to check in and have a chat with staff
Support for parents/carers through daily communication via class teams
Established positive and open relationships with parents/carers
Use of Class Dojo in Year 7 to increase communication and for sharing of positive activities
Family learning activities/challenges to reduce screen time and promote time together
Keeping things as routine and normal as possible
Targeted Support - The Care Team
The Care Team provide planned and unplanned therapeutic support each day to pupils across the school. Unplanned support usually is needed for immediate emotional regulation so pupils are able to return to learning. Planned support can include small group and 1:1 timetabled intervention, focussing on identified needs with clear outcomes. There is a referral process for the Care Team and a multi-agency approach is used, including the school's Future in Minds Primary Practitioner. This ensures that the intervention and support provided to pupils and families is the right support at the right time.
The Care Team:
Julia Addy - Emotional Literacy Support Assistant
Rob Armitage - Thrive Practitioner & Restorative Practice
Vicky Ward - Enhanced Evidence Based Practitioner & Mental Health Lead
Sean Ward - Pupil Mentor and Vocational HLTA
Vicky Whitaker - Thrive Practitioner & Emotional Support Dog Lead
Luna - Emotional Support Dog
Parent/Carer Mental Health & Wellbeing
High Well has always prided itself on providing high quality and timely support for parents/carers. We use a multi-agency approach and are part of Wakefield Council's Team Around the School model. We understand the importance of good mental health and wellbeing in families and how this can impact positively on our pupils and their learning in school. We are able to offer families 1:1 support as well as support with multi-agency meetings/appointments and make referrals where appropriate.
Sandra Shaw is the school's Parent Support Adviser (PSA) and Safeguarding Officer. Sandra is highly experienced in working with families of children and young people with social, emotional and mental health needs, ASD, ADHD and is trained in the following areas:
- Mental Fitness
- Therapeutic Crisis Intervention
- Triple P Level 4
- Reducing Parental Conflict
- Who's in Charge
- Children and Young People Living with Domestic Violence and Abuse
- Attachment and Trauma
- Level 2 Counselling Concept
- Future In Mind CAMH Award
- Mental Health First Aid
- Suicide Awareness
- ASK workshop Assessing for Suicide in Kids
Links to local and national support for Mental Health and Wellbeing:
Well Women Centre
24 Trinity Church Gate
Wakefield Advocacy Together Hub
21 King Street Wakefield
www.wakefield.gov.uk - mental health and well being
www.nhs.uk/mental/health - NHS every mind matters
Staff Mental Health and Wellbeing
'Taking care of yourself is part of taking care of others'
It is important that in supporting the mental health and wellbeing of our pupils and their families we do not take for granted the mental health and wellbeing of our staff team. We have begun our journey on developing this aspect of our provision through:
- Signing up to the Workplace Mental Health Charter
- Creating a Wellbeing Zone and Resources in Microsoft Teams
- Wellbeing Wednesday Breakfast for all staff in the dining hall from 8am
- Hay Education Wellbeing e-learning programme
- Complimentary tea, coffee and milk for all staff
- Access to wellbeing services through SAS
We will be training a number of staff as Staff Mental Health First Aiders and also setting up a staff Wellbeing Group.
Emotional Support Dog
In January 2021, High Well welcomed a new member of staff in the form of a School Emotional Support dog. This decision has been made following extensive research, discussion with other schools that have a school dog and approval of the Governing Body. A full risk assessment has been completed and is available within the School Dog policy.
Luna is a labradoodle puppy and belongs to one of our staff team, Vicky Whitaker.
The benefits of a school emotional support dog to pupils are:
- An improvement in social interactions (including speaking and listening skills) and maintaining eye-contact. This can lead to improved relationships with peers, parents and teachers
- Fostering a sense of responsibility and compassion within young people
- Improved enthusiasm and motivation which can have a positive impact upon learning
- Creating a calm environment which can help pupils regulate themselves and be ready to learn
- Pupils can have fun and gain enjoyment from the interaction
The school have public liability insurance to enable Luna to come into school.
Luna regularly visits the vets for her vaccinations, flea and worming treatments.
The pupils will only be able to interact with Luna under strict supervision and as long as parental permission had been given. She will be in school every day. When she is moving around school she will be on a lead and always with an adult. We hope she will be able to support students in school in areas such as ELSA, reading and attendance.