Mental Health and Wellbeing
At The Polesworth School we take the mental health and well being of our students very seriously. While we recognise our responsibility to ensure our student achieve the highest level possible of academic achievement, we also understand that we need to equip them fully for life beyond school, including teaching them how to be resilient and how to cope when things don’t go to plan.
We aim to promote positive mental health through all we do, recognising that students need to be both resilient and mentally healthy in order to meet their full potential both academically in in life more widely.
The mental health and wellbeing of young people has gained much publicity during the Covid 19 pandemic. The press in particular has focused on children’s experiences in this time and particularly on their loss of routine and structure as well as their loss of social interaction and even opportunities. As a school we recognise this and are determined to support our students as school life gradually returns to ‘normal’.
Pressures of modern life
Even without the added pressure of the pandemic, life for young people can often prove overwhelming. Pressure of exams and unreasonable expectations from the media as well as the challenges of full access to social media has resulted in an increase in anxiety in young people as they strive to meet often unrealistic expectations or perceived expectations. As a school, we recognise this and our team work together to ensure support is available to help students when those pressures start to impact on their wellbeing.
In School Support
Early on at the start of every year students are made aware of the names and locations of our pastoral team including our school counsellors. Mrs Bailey and Mrs Williams are based in Student Services in Nethersole Building and students who need support can either refer themselves for counselling or ask another member of staff to make that referral for them.
Our school counselling service is usually run face to face but students who do not want to have face to face sessions also have the option of accessing online support by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Emails to this service can be anonymous and the school guarantees a response within one working day of receipt, although in most cases, replies are within just a few hours and often immediately.
In addition to our school counsellors, students also have access to their personal tutor who they see every day, as well as their Head of Year, their Assistant Head of Year and any of our other four members of the Designated Safeguarding Lead Team. In addition, post 16 students also have access to Mr Barber, their own Academic Mentor and Mrs Knight, their own Student Support Manager and a key member of the DSL Team.
Despite having multiple members of our pastoral team who are mental Health First Aid trained, sadly, for some students our expertise is simply not sufficient to meet their needs. In these circumstances, the school works with parents, GPs and other external agencies including CAMHS and sometimes Social Care, to ensure referrals to specialist services are made rapidly and supported by the school to help our young people access appropriate specialist provision as rapidly as possible. In the meantime, the school continues to work with the young person and their family, providing support to help them until external specialised support is in place.
School of Character
Mental Health and Wellbeing are topics which are often discussed in our School of Character sessions and are addressed throughout the year in assemblies. Students are encouraged to support each other and to talk about their feelings. They are regularly reminded that ‘it is okay not to be okay’ and are encouraged to ensure they have at least one ‘go to’ member of staff who they feel they can turn to if they need help, or just someone to listen to them.
CAT Mental health and Wellbeing Offer
The Polesworth School has been a key contributor to out Academy Trust’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Minimum Offer, which can be found here. This document details what we guarantee in terms of support for every student in our school to help support every student’s mental health and wellbeing, along with what we provide for those who need additional targeted support and finally what is in place for those needing specialised provision.
This is a new offer and still in its infancy but we are committed to ensuring all aspects of the offer are in place over this academic year.
As with all aspects of our school provision, we are always seeking to review and improve what we do. Any member of our school community who feels that we could do more to support and promote the positive mental health of our students, is more than welcome to talk with us either informally via a chat with any member of staff or by contacting Miss Howell, Deputy Headteacher and our school’s Mental Health Lead on email@example.com to share their ideas.