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High Well School

Preparing for Positive Futures
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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:

Turning Point

57 Kirkgate


01924 234860

Well Women Centre 

24 Trinity Church Gate


01924 211114

Wakefield Advocacy Together Hub

21 King Street Wakefield

01924 361050 -  mental health and well being - 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.