Wisbech school scoops pioneering mental health award

28th October 2021| In the news

A Wisbech school has achieved the School Mental Health Award which is delivered by the Carnegie Centre of Excellence for Mental Health in Schools.

St Peter's Junior School was awarded a Gold standard for its outstanding mental health and wellbeing provision.

The school provides a wide range of activities to boost the wellbeing of pupils and staff, including implementing the Thrive Approach as part of its curriculum, with regular forest school for all children, mindfulness integral in the daily curriculum.

The school has also offered webinars of the work it does for other schools via Creative Education.

There are videos of art therapy and mindfulness available on YouTube, led by St Peter's Senco Mrs Natalie Bailey.

Head teacher Amy Harvey said: "I am extremely proud of the journey our school has been on in the last few years. The school is a happy place to be, and staff, students and their families have commented on the improved atmosphere at the school, and this is due to putting mental health at the core of everything we do."

One parent said: "When my son was struggling to manage his emotions following a family trauma, this was recognised and addressed within the school promptly, support was put in place bespoke to him that wasn't time limited and reactive to what he needed each week. Having one person who understood him in school and that he knew would listen and work with him building a good trusted relationship was extremely beneficial.

"Open communication between home and school was established to ensure that his needs were met and as a parent this was much appreciated. The early identification, conversations and support offered was essential to my son's well-being and the positive impact on my son has been immeasurable."

Another said: "It's very refreshing to have the support of a school where mental health is prioritised. Amy and her team at St Peter's have got this nailed."

A focal point of the school's mental health and wellbeing provision is the attention to detail for every child's well-being using the Thrive Approach. It also thinks carefully about its staff well-being, who have also been through a lot over the last couple of years.

Ms Harvey said: "We have improved behaviour, reduced exclusions and increased attainment linked to the focus on Thrive and Mental Health."

The award was established in 2017 by the Carnegie Centre of Excellence for Mental Health in Schools - part of Leeds Beckett University - and social enterprise Minds Ahead.

Doctor Steve Burton, Interim Dean of Leeds Beckett's Carnegie School of Education, said: "Achieving this award is not just recognition of a whole-school approach to mental health, it's a recognition of the school's commitment to improving the life chances of children and engaging with the wider community including staff and parents/carers.

"We're truly proud to have worked with St Peter's Junior School in this vital work and look forward to further collaboration."

Nationally, more than 1,000 schools have signed up to take part in the mental health award.

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