The Wellbeing Award for Schools (WAS)
In March 2019, the school received the fantastic news that it had achieved the Wellbeing Award for Schools. The award runs in partnership with the National Children’s Bureau (NCB) and helps schools promote and support emotional wellbeing and positive mental health (EWHWB) across the whole-school community.
Achieving this award has taken many months of hard work and dedication by staff, Governors and parents. However, most importantly the award recognised the positive attitudes of our students to supporting the emotional mental health and wellbeing of others. In particular, I would like congratulate the work of our two Student Wellbeing Councils. These students have started to make a huge difference to attitudes towards emotional mental health and wellbeing in addition to peer support for the whole student body.
To achieve the award the school implemented numerous changes, this included:
- A new Positive Social, Emotional, Mental Health and Wellbeing Policy, action plan and EWHWB Strategy has been ratified and agreed by the Governors;
- A ‘Change Team’ of staff has been developed to engage with the mental health and wellbeing needs of the school community;
- The views of staff, students and P’s, C’s and Guardians have been collected and published. From these views actions have been taken and informed the school self-evaluation and development plans;
- Good Mental Health and Wellbeing provision has become a core aim of the school;
- All staff have undertaken Mental Health and Wellbeing training including training delivered by an Educational Psychologist on motivational interviewing, emotion coaching, mindfulness & resilience;
- The school has a team of Mental Health First Aiders and a Suicide First Aider;
- Each curriculum area has made a ‘Promise’ to promote Mental Health and Wellbeing matters within the curriculum;
- Mental Health and Wellbeing signposting is now available in multiple formats around the school, numerous Form Activities and Assemblies have been undertaken to support Mental Health and Wellbeing matters;
- Staff have received a range of publications to support CPD in relation to Mental Health and Wellbeing;
- The school has engaged with external organisations to promote good Mental Health and Wellbeing e.g. Compass Buzz and the Samaritans;
- Student well-being ambassadors have been trained appropriately via the ‘Worth-it’ programme to offer peer listening & support;
- The school council has its own Mental Health and Wellbeing council and student voice is a critical aspect of promoting Mental Health and Wellbeing matters in the school;
- The school has a range of drop in sessions for students who may be experiencing Mental Health and Wellbeing concerns;
- Mentors are in-place to support students with anxiety or other Mental Health and Wellbeing concerns and a good information sharing system is in place to support the needs of students appropriately.
This award validates that the work the school is doing is significant and at the “forefront of providing excellent support” for our young people and children against the backdrop of the national priority. The verification report from the assessor recognised many strengths in the school including the “inclusive, whole-school approach taken to promote emotional mental health and wellbeing”. “Staff that are experienced and committed, working well together to fulfil the school’s vision regarding emotional mental health and wellbeing. There is an open and caring attitude to the students. A strong Pupil Voice is encouraged and students take responsibility to support each other, running a ‘Drop -In’ facility, e-mail contacts and providing a link to staff when there are particular concerns”.
The assessor report also recognised the impact of our emotional mental health and wellbeing strategy, and that students had a “strong sense of belonging and attachment”… “Since the WAS Award process began there has been an improvement in the outcomes for attendance, reduced incidents, and pupil performance”. The assessor also congratulated the school on the “effective support given to students facing emotional wellbeing and positive mental health concerns”…“There is an effective support framework for pupils underpinned by experienced Pastoral and Guidance Teams”…“Group work, social worker and counselling support, pastoral interventions and access to outside agencies are managed effectively. Provision within school for 1:1 time for individual students in need or in distress is available. Overall, there is strong sustainability to the way the school manages provision to promote emotional wellbeing and positive mental health”.
Finally, the report recognised the positive nature of the future vision for Selby High School and the drive to develop a ‘Values Curriculum’. The assessor was so impressed with the work being undertaken, that she recommended that we had “much to share with other schools to support them in their methodology and best practices”.
Pictured: Wellbeing Ambassadors and members of the Wellbeing Council