"Teachers’ enthusiasm for reading and for teaching phonics is infectious. As a result, children enjoy their learning and are keen to join in. OFSTED"
Learning & Curriculum

Mental Health and Wellbeing

At Masefield, supporting the mental health and wellbeing of our whole school community including pupils, staff and parents/carers is at the heart of what we do. We have agreed that wellbeing is a state of being comfortable, healthy and happy. We know that everyone experiences life challenges that can make us vulnerable and at times, anyone may need additional emotional support. Everyone has a role to play in promoting positive health and wellbeing across school. Children, staff and parent/carers are encouraged to talk about their feelings and to ask for help when they need it.

For all of us at Masefield, our first priority is to care for every child in a secure, friendly environment enabling them to enjoy their time in school and feel confident to learn. In order to maintain this ethos, the staff team work together to support children’s emotional and social learning, we maintain this attitude during lesson times, break times and through all activities that take place throughout the day to make sure our children feel secure in school. This method is called the Thrive Approach.

Not all children can put their needs into words every time they experience a different emotion, but the way children behave can tell us a lot about how they are feeling. The Thrive Approach draws on the latest research – from current neuroscience, recent attachment research, current studies of effective learning and current models of child development – in order to help our school to understand the needs being signalled by children’s behaviour. It gives us targeted strategies and activities to help them re-engage with learning and life.

Unfortunately, (like all of us at some point in our lives), children may face challenges that knock them off course. What is needed then is understanding and support to get them back on track. Many children will respond to the care, understanding and support given by parents, family, friends and teachers. However, some children need a little bit extra to enable them to:

  • Feel good about themselves

  • Know that they matter

  • Become more resilient and resourceful

  • Have a positive place in society

  • Form trusting, rewarding relationships

  • Be creative

  • Be compassionate and empathetic

  • Be thoughtful and self-aware

  • Be productive

  • Be able to overcome difficulties and setbacks

Children who need a little bit of extra help are identified through a variety of ways such as our whole-class screening process, by class teachers, or through communication with families. For some children there may be an obvious reason why they need a bit of extra support. This might be bereavement, family break down or an identified medical condition such as ADHD. For others, there can be no obvious trigger to why they are finding some aspects of school and/or home life difficult.  Working closely with parents and class teachers, our Thrive team carry out full assessments of identified children’s social, emotional and behavioural needs. This helps us to build a bespoke Thrive Action Plan of activities to support their needs.

A Thrive Action Plan is plan of activities tailored to support a child’s identified social and emotional learning targets. The activities are carried out one-to-one and in small groups, they are play and arts-based activities designed to help the child feel better about himself; become more resilient and resourceful; form trusting, rewarding relationships; be compassionate and empathetic; and/or  be able to overcome difficulties and setbacks. They might include playing in the sand tray, cooking, painting, model making, exploring difficult situations through role-play or comic strips, playing strategy games or projects focusing on the child’s own interests – all dependent on the needs of the individual child.  The Action Plans are reviewed regularly so that we can see the progress children have made.

For many children across the school, Thrive time is considered a real treat! Who wouldn’t want to spend half an hour a week with the one-to-one attention of a caring adult doing play activities when the rest of their class are learning? However, we try to emphasise to everyone that Thrive is just like any other learning intervention. If children struggle with reading, writing or maths, we give them extra support, and it’s the same with social and emotional learning, if they are struggling, they get extra support.

At Masefield, we don’t consider Thrive to be an intervention carried out in the Nest area for just a few children, we consider it to be a whole-school approach. We all believe that all behaviour is communication and that communication needs to be understood and supported – not “dealt” with. Thrive feeds into everything we do; celebration assemblies, getting to know everyone and their families, sharing all achievements – not just academic ones, celebrating our diversity and individuality.

www.thriveapproach.co.uk  

Wellbeing Award

 

During the Autumn Term 2021, we began our journey towards the Wellbeing Award for Schools (WAS).

The aim of the award is to ensure schools promote emotional wellbeing and positive mental health across the whole-school community. Miss Jolly is the award co-ordinator and other members of the teaching/ non teaching staff and governors form part of the Wellbeing “Change” team.

There are eight objectives which we have to evidence to gain the award:

 

  1. The school is committed to promoting and protecting emotional wellbeing and mental health by achieving the Wellbeing Award for Schools.
  2. The school has a clear vision and strategy for promoting and protecting emotional wellbeing and mental health, which is communicated to all involved with the school.
  3. The school has a positive culture which regards emotional wellbeing and mental health as the responsibility of all.
  4. The school actively promotes staff emotional wellbeing and mental health.
  5. The school prioritises professional learning and staff development on emotional wellbeing and mental health.
  6. The school understands the different types of emotional and mental health needs across the school and has systems in place to respond appropriately.
  7. The school actively seeks the ongoing participation of the whole-school community in its approach to emotional wellbeing and mental health.
  8. The school works in partnerships with other schools, agencies and available specialist services to support emotional wellbeing and mental health.

For more information on the award, please visit https://www.awardplace.co.uk/award/was

 

As a school, we are keen to support and help look after the mental health of parents/carers. We have carried out a number of activities this year to promote wellbeing and we have more planned for the next academic year:

Mrs Whittaker and Mrs Driver (Head of School at Red Lane) are trained Mental Health First Aiders. This means they have been trained to have an in depth understanding of mental health and the factors that can affect wellbeing. Please speak to one of them if you are concerned about your mental health as they will be able to guide you to further support.

Planned Activities:

 

  • During Parents’ Evening in Summer 2020, information leaflets containing information on various mental health conditions will be available.
  • Wellbeing Champions – We are looking to have dedicated parents who act as Wellbeing Champions. They will have important role in school and are helping to reduce the stigma around mental health.
  • In Summer 2020 we hope to host our first wellbeing coffee morning. The aim is to provide other parents and carers with the opportunity to meet new people and to discuss ways we can look after our wellbeing. We have more coffee mornings planned next year.

 

 

 

 

We are keen to ensure emotional wellbeing remains high profile in our school and we are working towards reducing the stigma around mental health. The children take part in a number of activities to help promote good wellbeing and mental health including:

SEALs weeks - We deliver the SEALs programme across school which aims to develop the underpinning qualities and skills that help promote positive behaviour and effective learning. It focuses on five social and emotional aspects of learning: self-awareness, managing feelings, motivation, empathy and social skills.

The materials help children develop skills such as understanding another’s point of view, working in a group, sticking at things when they get difficult, resolving conflict and managing worries. They build on effective work already in place in the many primary schools who pay systematic attention to the social and emotional aspects of learning through whole-school ethos, initiatives such as circle time or buddy schemes, and the taught personal, social and health education (PSHE) and Citizenship curriculum.

The materials are organised into seven themes: New Beginnings, Getting on and falling out, Say no to bullying, Going for goals!, Good to be me, Relationships and Changes.

  • Each class from Reception to Year 6 chooses two MasefieldTriers of the Week. The aim is to recognise positive choices and enable children to accept positive feedback.
  • Peer Mentors spend time on both the KS1 and KS2 playground at lunchtime to encourage children to play together nicely and to talk to children who are feeling sad or lonely.
  • We have a counsellor in school who delivers 1:1 sessions as and when appropriate.
  • We have theme weeks such as ‘Mental Health week’ and “Healthy Living Week” which are built into a annual calendar of events.  During these weeks, outside agencies are invited into school to enhance our provision.
  • Assemblies are regularly linked to mental health and wellbeing.
  • Year 5 take part in the Healthy Relationship programme provided by Fort Alice which is “an early intervention educational programme aimed at Years 5 and 6 children, offering a minimum of four one hour teaching sessions which are mapped to the SEALS and RSE curriculum guidance. Each session incorporates a diverse range of interactive activities using resources specifically developed to ensure learner engagement through the use of games, discussions, video and role play” Specialist Children’s Workers with expertise in Domestic Abuse deliver the programme, which has a scheme of work and individual lesson plans.

 

Seven Steps to Wellbeing

 

Socialise
Be social and get together with others.

 

Move
Be active and do regular exercise

 

Interest
Have a hobby, keep learning!

 

Look
Take notice of the world around you and be reflective

 

Eat well
Eat a healthy, balanced diet

 

Support
Be kind and give help to others

 

Further information on how to look after your mental health can be found on the following websites:

https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/your-mental-health/looking-after-your-mental-health

https://www.mind.org.uk/workplace/mental-health-at-work/taking-care-of-yourself/

https://www.rethink.org/advice-and-information/about-mental-illness/learn-more-about-symptoms/worried-about-your-mental-health/

 

 

Where to get further help and support

 

If you're experiencing mental health problems or need urgent support, there are lots of places you can go to for help.

Young Minds

Telephone: 020 7089 5050 (general enquiries)

Telephone: 0808 802 5544 (parents helpline, for any adult with concerns about the mental health of a child or young person)

Website: www.youngminds.org.uk

National charity committed to improving the mental health of all babies, children and young people. Provides information for both parents and young people.

 

ChildLine

Telephone: 0800 1111
Website: www.childline.org.uk

ChildLine is a private and confidential service for children and young people up to the age of nineteen. You can contact a ChildLine counsellor for free about anything - no problem is too big or too small.

 

Samaritans

Telephone: 116 123 (24 hours a day, free to call)
Website: www.samaritans.org

Provides confidential, non-judgemental emotional support for people experiencing feelings of distress or despair, including those that could lead to suicide. You can phone, email, write a letter or in most cases talk to someone face to face.

 

Rethink Mental Illness Advice Line

Telephone: 0300 5000 927 (9.30am - 4pm Monday to Friday)
Email: online contact form
Website: http://www.rethink.org/about-us/our-mental-health-advice

Provides expert advice and information to people with mental health problems and those who care for them, as well as giving help to health professionals, employers and staff.

Various helplines:

www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/mental-health-helplines/