At Kilburn Grange School, we are committed to supporting the health and wellbeing of our pupils and staff to ensure that the school is a community where everyone feels able to thrive. Positive mental wellbeing is essential if children and young people are to flourish and lead fulfilling lives.
The World Health Organisation’s definition: ‘Mental health is a state of well-being in which every individual realises his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.’
At our school, we know that everyone experiences challenges that can make us vulnerable and at times anyone may need additional emotional support. We take the view that positive mental health is everybody’s business and that we all have a role to play.
At Kilburn Grange School, we believe that teaching about mental health and emotional wellbeing as part of a comprehensive PSHE education curriculum is vital. PSHE is central to the curriculum across the whole school and assists pupils to cope with the changes at puberty, introduces them to a wider world, manage transitions and enables them to make an active contribution to their communities. The concepts covered in PSHE include keeping safe and managing risk, identity, equality, managing feelings and emotions, relationships, change, resilience and being healthy, which includes physical, mental, emotional and social well-being. We aim to promote pupils’ wellbeing through an understanding of their own and others’ emotions and the development of healthy coping strategies.
Good mental health and wellbeing are just as important as good physical health. Like physical health, mental health can range across a spectrum from healthy to unwell; it can fluctuate on a daily basis and change over time. Children at Kilburn Grange School have two lessons of PE each week in addition to daily playtimes. A wide range of sport-related after school clubs are offered, whilst many of our pupils take part in inter-school sporting competitions which include an extensive range of sports and activities.
We include World Mental Health Day and Mental Health Awareness Week in the school calendar and plan activities for the whole school.
Our role in school is to ensure that children are able to manage times of change and stress, and that they are supported to reach their potential or access help when they need it. Children are taught when to seek help, what help is available, and the likely outcome of seeking support so that they have the confidence and knowledge for themselves or others. We also have a role to ensure that children learn about what they can do to maintain positive mental health, which affects their mental health and how they can help reduce the stigma surrounding mental health issues. As part of our targeted provision, we have and continue to access, outside help and support for pupils when required.
- Universal Support– To meet the needs of all our pupils through our overall ethos, school values and our wider curriculum. For instance, developing resilience for all.
- Additional support– For those who may have short term needs and those who may have been made vulnerable by life experiences such as separation or bereavement.
- Targeted support– For pupils who need more differentiated support and resources or specific targeted interventions such as a referral to wider professionals.
At Kilburn Grange we know that children require different support during different periods of their live’s. A happy child is a thriving child. To help children with their emotional needs, we have an in-house service that is triage for children that require some additional support. We offer this crucial support through our school ‘Nurture Group.’
Our nurture group offers targeted support to any child that may require some help with developing coping skills, social skills and emotional regulation. Weekly sessions allow the individual child to build self-esteem and develop life strategies that they can use to help them manage difficult situations. This may include a family bereavement, parental separation and peer conflict resolution. The small group sessions are overseen by the school SENDCo and activities are planned according to each child’s particular need at that time.
Typically, a child will access such support for a period of six weeks with parental consent. Progress is reviewed after a six-week block of sessions with parents, the child’s teacher and most importantly the child themselves. Currently, teachers, parents and external professionals can recommend a child for this support and it is hoped that one day we will have the ability to allow for the children at our school to self-refer.
Two key elements to support good mental health are:
- Feeling Good – experiencing positive emotions like happiness, contentment and enjoyment. Including feelings like curiosity, engagement and safety.
- Functioning Well – how a person is able to function in the world, this includes positive relationships and social connections, as well as feeling in control of your life and having a sense of purpose.