At the Peak Tor Federation, we are committed to supporting the emotional health and wellbeing of our pupils and staff. We know that everyone experiences life challenges that can make us vulnerable and at times anyone may need additional emotional support. We recognise that school has an important part to play in both supporting and educating our pupils about mental health.
We know that in July 2020 an NHS survey found that 1 in 6 children aged 5-16 years had a probable mental health need. For adults in June 2020 the Office of National statistics suggests that this is 1 in 5. We also know that early help is the best way to help people cope with mental health issues.
Our Family Support worker is based at Lady Manners Secondary School and may be able to offer support to families experiencing challenges around mental health. Please ask for more information if you feel you may need support.
At our school we:
- help children to understand their emotions and feelings better
- help children feel comfortable sharing any concerns or worries
- help children socially to form and maintain relationships
- promote self-esteem and ensure children know that they count
- encourage children to be confident and celebrate their differences
- help children to develop emotional resilience and to manage setbacks
HOW DO WE SUPPORT MENTAL HEALTH AT SCHOOL?
- Whole School Provision-The foundation for our mental health offer is our Whole School Provision. Learning about mental health is part of our Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) curriculum for all children. This teaching and learning for all is part of the Prevention phase of mental health. Children receive dedicated PSHE teaching each week. Beyond lesson time, our school culture embeds good mental health. For example, we include one afternoon Green Zone session each week for all of our pupils. The Green Zone offers an opportunity for children to talk to a member of staff or their friends about their feelings. A variety of activities are on offer at lunchtimes and there is always a staff member on duty for children to talk to. We also have dedicated Mental Health Days when we promote and celebrate good mental health for all.
- Low Level Needs - This is the Identification phase, from the DfE model. We have a variety of ways that our children can let us know how they are feeling. Each class has a worry monster where the children can write down their worries and place it into the worry monster. These worries can be discussed at an appropriate time between the child and their teacher or, if appropriate, amongst the class. Younger children are supported in recording their worries. If we think your child may benefit from some bespoke support, we will always talk to you about it first.
- Medium Level need - Individualised Support for our pupils who may be experiencing mental health and well-being difficulties. After identifying and talking to parents, providing some support for the pupil is the next step. This is the Early Help phase. Getting support in a timely fashion can stop a mental health issue from developing further. There are lots of ways we can support children in school, which can range from being very light touch (e.g. a simple chat, organising a playtime buddy or a daily check-in to see how they are feeling) to a series of individual or group sessions with a trained staff member using recognised support programmes and interventions such as lego therapy and nurture sessions for those children who may be experiencing emerging or low level emotional difficulties. When pupils' emotions are causing them distress, we use a variety of techniques, including the use of our sensory room with its calming specialised equipment and a trusted adult for the child to talk to.
- High Level Need - Signposting to External Support - occasionally, some children may benefit from expert mental health professionals. We can help families to access this support. We will work with these agencies, such as your child’s GP, CAMHS and Early Help support to provide support in and out of school as best we can.
Working with Parents
- We actively promote good mental health for all and make it part of our mission to further educate our parents about the benefits of good mental health and how help can be sought for themselves and other family members.
- Parents are always included in any concerns we have about a pupils’ health.
- We ensure that parents have a voice and recognise their contribution.
- We try to support parents who are concerned about their children’s mental health in a number of ways e.g. termly mental health newsletters, facilitating links to external agencies, open door policy.
- Calm & Peaceful Classrooms – our learning environments are set up to be safe and calming places for pupils to learn. We use neutral colour schemes so they are not over-stimulating. We use low level lighting and plants to create a sense of calm. Classrooms have timetables, rules and procedures displayed so that pupils can feel secure in the expectations within the room. Adults understand the importance of creating spaces that are conducive to good mental health.
- On site – we have plans to create places to nurture mental health in our grounds. We currently have a Willow Dome, allotment beds and are adding to these areas with a new trim trail and climbing wall and a sensory garden. Inside we have a sensory room with led bubble machine, led fibre optics, led tunnel, calming music and light projections, comfy padded flooring, bean bags, weighted blankets and more.
- The Green Zone – We are very lucky to be allowed to use a generous woodland area owned by the Haddon Estate which is a one-minute walk from school. All year groups use this for one afternoon a week. Please see our Green Zone Page (coming soon!) for more information on the benefit of being outdoors on our mental health.
Capturing the Children's Voice
it's important to us that our children get a say in our mental health and well-being offer. We regularly discuss mental health with pupils and monitor their views. Pupils meet with governors to express the views of their classes. In addition, our Pupil Voice Surveys give all children an opportunity to tell staff what they think about our school, including mental health and well-being.
Staff well-being is equally as important to us at the Peak Tor Federation. In order for us to work together for the best outcomes for our children we need to have healthy, happy staff, therefore ensuring a healthy work life balance is extremely important. As is ensuring there is support for our staff when it is needed. Staff may reply to emails out of hours but this is not an expectation therefore please respect that you may not get an email reply straight away. Any emails that need to be responded to out of hours should be sent to email@example.com.
HOW CAN I GET HELP FOR MY CHILD?
If you are worried your child may be experiencing mental health issues, please talk to your child's class teacher, Mrs Wyer or Mrs Hewitt.
You can find more information and resources on local and national help available to you below. Please feel free to contact Mrs Wyer or Mrs Hewitt should you require signposting to support that may not be mentioned below.
Here are some local services to support your child's mental health:
- CAMHS (Child & Adolescent Mental Health Service) Access to CAMHS is usually through your GP. For all routine referrals to the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service please contact CAMHS on 01298 72445 (Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm) for advice and a referral form.
- Your GP They will be able to provide help and advice. Your GP can also provide access to appropriate specialist services and local organisations.
National services available:
Mental Health (NHS) - A public health England and NHS site to help people take simple steps to look after their mental health, improve their mental wellbeing and support others. https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/
Mental Health in Schools - https://www.mentallyhealthyschools.org.uk/
Childline - Free 24-hour counselling service for children and young people up to their 19th birthday.
The Samaritans -The Samaritans provide a confidential service for people in despair and who feel suicidal.
Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families - Tips for Talking to your Children about Mental Health
MindEd - for Families. Are you a parent or carer who is worried about their child's mental health? Do you want some hints or tips on parenting? MindEd for Families has advice from trusted experts.
Supportline - Confidential telephone helpline offering emotional support to any individual on any issue.
Beat - Provides helplines, self-help groups and online support to anyone affected by eating disorders.
Helpline: 0808 801 0677,
Youthline: 0808 801 0711,
Studentline: 0808 801 0811
Young Minds - Young Minds has a Parent Helpline that offers free confidential telephone and email support to any adult worried about the wellbeing of a child or young person.
0808 802 5544
Youth Wellbeing Directory - Helps you find support for mental health and wellbeing of young people up to age 25 across the UK.
HaveIGotAProblem.com - Free resource about mental health and addiction issues. It has advice and documents on issues including depression, anxiety, self-harm, bipolar, eating disorders and coping.
Helplines partnership-Provides a comprehensive list of mental health helplines in the UK.
Mental Health Foundation -This website offers a wide range of information about mental health issues.
Health Talk Online-Aims to provide balanced information about the experience of everyday life with a range of health conditions and issues, what to expect both physically and mentally, overcoming practical difficulties, making decisions about treatment and talking to health professionals.
YouthinMind - YouthinMind is an online resource for information about mental health and offers brief assessments. It also provides links to other useful books, websites and services. http://youthinmind.info/py/yiminfo/
If you would like some guidance about talking to your child about emotions this BBC link has some great advice.