CHILDREN's Mental Health
Here at St Mary’s we recognise that to fulfil our mission statement ‘Growing together in God’s love’ our children need the foundations of positive mental health to be able to achieve academically, socially and personally. We want to ensure our children thrive by encouraging them to look after their mental health and also through teaching them strategies to use when they are finding things difficult. At St Mary’s we aim to promote positive mental health for every pupil and member of staff.
Senior Leaders (Headteacher and SENDCO) are trained as qualified Mental Health First Aiders.
Strategies we use to support health, mental health and well-being include:
- We will appropriately promote the health, well-being and mental health of pupils across the subjects of the curriculum taking account of their age and stage. We will celebrate Children’s Mental Health week annually.
- Staff will help pupils to acquire the relevant knowledge and understanding of the human body and how it works and of the social and emotional factors that influence health. The children will benefit from Worship sessions that focus on good mental health as well as focused class activities.
- We have a ‘designated senior leader for mental health’ and a link governor for mental health with responsibility for the oversight of this policy and strategy for ensuring the mental well-being of all at St Mary’s.
- All staff will encourage pupils to make informed choices and take appropriate decisions to help ensure that they understand the importance of a healthy lifestyle that also promotes good mental health.
- We will foster links between school, home and community and appropriate outside agencies so that all are involved in a collective responsibility for promoting good health and good mental health.
- We will pay attention to the six areas of health and well-being across the curriculum, these will include mental, emotional, social and physical and spiritual well-being; planning for choices and changes; physical education and physical activity and sport; food and healthy eating; the dangers of substance misuse and relationships.
- We will use the work-load policy and strategy to promote health and well-being, including the mental health of pupils, staff and all who work in this school
- We will ensure that the curriculum, homework, testing and assessment and teaching and learning strategies take account of pupil’s well-being and mental health.
- We will provide safe and healthy working conditions for all in school.
This school is committed to promoting and maintaining the good health and well-being, and mental health, of everyone here and we will work together with parents and the local community and appropriate outside agencies to enable pupils to make healthy informed choices and to promote the health, mental health and well-being of all.
All children will be assessed annually through a healthy minds whole class screener with regard to their well-being and engagement in school. This information will then be used to identify children who require additional support and involvement. We have a mental health pathway that staff use to ensure we have a graduated response to the needs of our children who may be experiencing mental health difficulties.
We are committed to both raising awareness of and increasing understanding of mental health and the difficulties some people may encounter. A distinctive feature of our school is the supportive, nurturing and caring environment we have created. Our staff deliver a consistent approach ensuring our school environment and ethos promote the mental health of the whole school community.
Quality first teaching for social, emotional and mental health support all our children.
Examples of the provision in school which contributes to our healthy environment for children:
- Links with St Mary’s Church, Children’s Pastor leads worship, runs a Christian club and prayer space in school.
- Participate in activities that nurture feelings of belonging for example P4C, Circle Time, Mindfulness activities and team work games.
- Celebrate academic and non-academic achievements e.g. Worship, displays, newsletters to parents etc.
- Support the younger children in their roles as friendly listeners, classroom helpers and lunchtime servers.
- Have access to classroom Reflection Areas.
- Take part in decision making for example choosing a class reader, deciding on an area of continuous provision or electing members of school council, eco council, sports council etc.
- In Years 3 and 4 may be invited to join Chill Zone, a safe weekly lunchtime activity based space where an adult is available to listen
- In Years 5 and 6 can attend the twice weekly Getaway, which is an opportunity to be creative in the classroom and ‘getaway’ from any worries they may have.
- Are taught and supported by adults who model positive and appropriate behaviours and interactions.
- Have access to a Pastoral Mentor who has timetabled sessions available to meet with and support children who are experiencing difficulties.
- Experience Restorative Practice and are encouraged to resolve their disputes with age appropriate support
- Access an enriching PE curriculum alongside before and after school clubs and lunchtime activities.
- Have their strengths and difficulties recognised, acknowledged and challenged appropriately.
The mental health of our staff is paramount to ensuring a healthy environment for pupils. Details of the whole school approach to mental health may be found in your Health, Mental Health & Well-being Policy.
Below are resources which parents may find informative and useful. No one approach is recommended by school and parents should always contact their GP and/or school if they are concerned about their child's mental health.
Trafford Sunrise provides support for children aged 5-12 years in coping with stress, learning how to relax and promoting emotional wellbeing.
We support parents in learning about their child’s emotional wellbeing. Groups are available across the Trafford borough.
The Department for Education have published The Education Hub: Mental Health Resources for Children, Students, Parents, Carers and School/College Staff
Self-care toolkit - Mental Healthy Schools (Anna Freud, National Centre for Children and Families
Mindfulness Activities for Children
Partnership for Children: 'We offer a series of school-based programmes to help young children around the world to communicate effectively, cope with their anxieties and difficulties, and to develop skills for life.'
Thrive: 'The Thrive Approach can provide you with pointers to help create positive experiences that support their wellbeing and build their emotional resilience.'
Barnardo's Covid-19 Support Hub