Mental Health and Wellbeing
Burley Oaks Primary School has achieved the School Mental Health Award which is delivered by the Carnegie Centre of Excellence for Mental Health in Schools. Burley Oaks has been awarded the Gold standard for its outstanding mental health and wellbeing provision.
We don't wait until our children's teeth are falling out to educate them on how to look after their dental health, and, at Burley Oaks, we believe we should be just as proactive with our school curriculum in order to learn about mental health and wellbeing from a young age. This is done in a well-sequenced and age-appropriate way.
Our unique and diverse curriculum supports all children to understand that wellbeing is key to living a happy and successful life. Our aim is to give pupils the information they need to make good decisions about their mental health. Both our whole school offer and more individualised support enables children to recognise what is normal and what is an issue in both themselves and others. In addition, they know how to seek support if and when issues arise.
A key part of our curriculum is promoting pupils’ self-control and ability to self-regulate using a range of strategies thus enabling them to become confident in their ability to achieve well and persevere even when they encounter setbacks. In addition, stigma is reduced through the normalisation of discussions surrounding mental health and an atmosphere of open communication and honesty is fostered through the development of trusting and supportive relationships. This integrated, whole-school approach to the teaching of good mental health also has a positive impact on behaviour and attainment.As per the DfE guidelines, by the end of their time at Burley Oaks, pupils know:
- that mental wellbeing is a normal part of daily life, in the same way as physical health
- that there is a normal range of emotions (e.g. happiness, sadness, anger, fear, surprise, nervousness) and scale of emotions that all humans experience in relation to different experiences and situations
- how to recognise and talk about their emotions, including having a varied vocabulary of words to use when talking about their own and others’ feelings
- how to judge whether what they are feeling and how they are behaving is appropriate and proportionate
- the benefits of physical exercise, time outdoors, community participation, voluntary and service-based activity on mental wellbeing and happiness
- simple self-care techniques, including the importance of rest, time spent with friends and family and the benefits of hobbies and interests
- isolation and loneliness can affect children and that it is very important for children to discuss their feelings with an adult and seek support
- that bullying (including cyberbullying) has a negative and often lasting impact on mental wellbeing
- where and how to seek support (including recognising the triggers for seeking support), including whom in school they should speak to if they are worried about their own or someone else’s mental wellbeing or ability to control their emotions (including issues arising online)
- it is common for people to experience mental ill health. For many people who do, the problems can be resolved if the right support is made available, especially if accessed early enough
As stated in the DfE guidance on mental health and behaviour in schools, schools have an important role to play in supporting the mental health and wellbeing of their pupils, by developing approaches tailored to the particular needs of their pupils. All schools are under a statutory duty to promote the welfare of their pupils, which includes: preventing impairment of children’s health or development and taking action to enable all children to have the best outcomes.
Early intervention to identify issues and provide effective support is crucial. The school role in supporting and promoting mental health and wellbeing can be summarised as:
1. Prevention: creating a safe and calm environment where mental health problems are less likely, improving the mental health and well-being of the whole school population, and equipping pupils to be resilient so that they can manage the normal stress of life effectively. This will include teaching pupils about mental well-being through the curriculum and reinforcing this teaching through school activities and ethos.
2. Identification: recognising emerging issues as early and accurately as possible.
3. Individualised support: helping pupils to access evidence based early support and interventions.
4. Access to external services: working effectively with external agencies to provide swift access or referrals to specialist support and treatment.
Our mental health offer ranges from whole class provision, small group intervention and bespoke 1:1 support. Our pupils are taught self-care techniques, including recognising and managing emotions, exercise, relaxation and how to build relationships through a rich and varied curriculum. We foster an open culture when it comes to discussing mental health and wellbeing.
We have a huge range of mental health and wellbeing provision in school, including:
- Well Groups for Emotions, Anxiety and Self Esteem and Confidence
- 1:1 Mentor sessions with our Wellbeing Coordinator
- Drawing and Talking
- Lego Therapy
- Social skills and social stories groups
- Friendship Groups/ playtime buddies
- Meet and Greet for Emotional Based School Avoidance Issues
- Leaders at Lunch
- Unique Group
- Wellbeing Wednesday Sessions
- Peer Mentoring
- Calm boxes in each classroom
- 2 nurture rooms that children can spend time in
- Zones of Regulation
- 5 Ways to Wellbeing
- Bespoke provision in classrooms- visual time tables, reward charts, kindness incentives, behaviour support, happy journals and much more!
The Mental Health Team