MentAL Health and Wellbeing
At Newbottle Primary Academy, we are committed to supporting the wellbeing of our pupils, staff and parents. We are now working towards the Sunderland Mental Health Charter Mark and are hoping to raise the profile of mental health in our school. Below, we have outlined some ways we are currently supporting children and staff with their mental health in school. We have also attached some links to websites and resources parents may want to use at home.
'Time to Talk' Class Assemblies
Last year, we introduced 'Time to Talk' class assemblies. These continue to take place every Tuesday and are an opportunity for children to discuss ways they can support their own and others' wellbeing and become more aware of their own mental health. Last year, we spent each half term looking at one of the five ways to wellbeing.
This year, we are focusing on different ways we might struggle with our mental health and strategies we can use to help us to self-regulate.
Every classroom has a wellbeing area designed to promote positive mental health and to support children to discuss how they are feeling. We encourage children to share their worries. Each area also has a worry box or worry monster so children are able to voice any worries they may have. All wellbeing areas highlight to the children what they can do if they are worried and who they can talk to. The following poster is displayed in each area:
We decided it was key that children feel they are being supported and listened to. Thus, the Wellness Team came up with steps children can take if they aren't feeling supported with their worries in school. Staff can also identify if a child may need some extra support and ask a member of the Wellness Team to speak to them.
Every morning and afternoon, the teachers will ask children how they are feeling when completing the register. This allows the children to recognise how they are feeling and how others are feeling, normalising that we do not always feel okay. It also allows the teachers to understand quickly if a child may need some extra support. Mrs Bennett is available in the Rainbow Room on a Monday and Tuesday morning for 'Wobble Mornings' if children are particularly distressed and may need someone to talk to.
Wellness Team and Wellbeing Champions
Our Wellness Team (pictured below) is made up of staff members from around the different areas of the school. Miss Darby is Mental Health and Wellbeing Lead. Our Wellbeing Governor is Mrs Bloomfield. The Wellness Team are looking at ways to support children, staff and parents to maintain positive mental health. They meet at least once every term and have regular discussions with other staff members to see how we can further support the wellbeing of our school community. We also have a group of children (one child from each class) who are Wellbeing Champions and are responsible for looking out for others and reporting back issues to their class teacher. These children wear a high vis jacket on the yard so that other children can easily identify them. We have 'Friendship Stops' on the school playground where children will go if they want help from one of the Wellbeing Champions. Our Wellbeing Champions also meet once a week with Miss Darby, Mrs Lee-Shield and the School Council to think of how we can promote positive mental health further.
Our Levels of Support
As a school, we provide universal support through our whole school ethos and wider curriculum. All children know they can voice any worries they have and that we value their opinions and concerns. Additional support is provided for children who may need extra help for a short period of time due to a change in circumstances or difficulty managing their emotions. These children may access support from a member of the Wellness Team or from Mrs Bennett (our school nurture lead). They also may access a half-termly programme of Relax Kids. Targeted support will be arranged for children who need more in depth support. These children will have weekly access to our nurture provision with Mrs Bennett. Outside agencies will be contacted if a child's needs are so complex that we cannot give them the support they require.
Wellbeing Warm-Ups and Mindful Minutes
We have tried to incorporate some of the five ways to wellbeing into our school day. Last year, we introduced 'Wellbeing Warm-Ups' and 'Mindful Minutes'. These can be done at any point during the school day and help the children learn strategies they can use to self-regulate. The 'Wellbeing Warm-Ups' help the children to be active and this can be achieved through some short bursts of exercise. The 'Mindful Minutes' help the children to take notice of the world around them and we focus on breathing techniques, yoga, meditation etc.
Some of the resources we use in school, you might want to try with your child at home.