Our school through its ways of working, policies, allocation of staff and resources can clearly evidence leadership for and commitment to a whole school approach to emotional and mental wellbeing.
The Headteachers’s vision clearly set out our approach to health and wellbeing with a designated member of the SLT (April Dent) responsible for the strategic overview to mental and emotional wellbeing. Our school development and improvement plans include measurable action to promote emotional and mental wellbeing in the whole school community. Furthermore, we are able to evidence our continuous improvement approach in which plans are regularly reviewed against outcomes and modified when appropriate.
Our communication within our school, (e.g. weekly newsletters, twitter, school website and curriculum development teams) and with our wider school community (e.g. Learning Network School, EAS, Caerphilly CBC, Welsh Government and Public Health Wales), provides evidence of our commitment to student and staff wellbeing.
Our school understands the emotional and mental wellbeing needs of the students and staff, and how these have changed over time. The effects of the pandemic may not have been truly realised yet, so as a school we will further invest in the wellbeing of all stakeholders. The Wellbeing Team and SLT are able to identify and describe the needs of specific groups of learners who may be at greater risk of experiencing poor emotional and mental wellbeing. In school, we use a graduated support system that mirrors the ALN model (as seen above).
Universal - all students in KS3 complete engaging and thought-provoking work on identifying and coping with poor mental health.
Targeted - specific students may need further work with a professional completing a programme of emotional literacy or mentored by a LOA.
Specialist - a few students will struggle to make progress and become a genuine cause for concern. In these circumstances, we will refer for trauma therapy via The Baxter Project or refer to CAMHS/PMH via the GP or crisis helpline.
Consistent use of learner voice is a prominent feature of decision making and reviewing progress at Lewis Girls’ School. This ranges from the Student Council to whole school student engagement in the School Health and Research Network annual survey. There is also an active Parent Council chaired by Mrs Evans (AHT)that discusses a range of issues and informs policy. This is further underpinned by the Governing Body, chaired by Mr Grashoff.
Staff are supported in maintaining and improving their emotional and mental wellbeing. Primarily, the school has considered the skills and competencies required by staff in undertaking their role to support emotional and mental wellbeing. Supplemented to this are fortnightly line management meetings in which wellbeing is a timetabled agenda item. Furthermore, department meetings and faculty meetings offer colleagues a wider network of professional support across the school. Added to this access to a wellbeing app (CALM), SLT wellbeing surgeries, weekly staff breakfast, wellbeing staff champions organising monthly activities and wellbeing surveys to offer feedback, Lewis Girls’ School are at the forefront of supporting staff wellbeing.
Now more than ever, we recognise and promote the importance of students, staff, parents, carers and the wider school community feeling connected to the school and having a sense of belonging. During the course of the pandemic, we have been presented with an opportunity to reflect upon the foundation of our school vision and plan for the future. Furthermore, it has allowed us to reassess the changing priorities of children, families and staff. For this reason, we require a cultural shift which has meaningful relationships at its very heart.
Our school has a range of physical spaces and environments that can support the emotional and mental wellbeing of students and staff. The nurture house caters for new Y7 children that have been identified as vulnerable or requiring additional support for a variety of reasons. The wellbeing suite has a study which caters for students that may have bespoke timetables or are finding it hard to cope in a classroom environment. The wellbeing room offers a safe space for pupils that are overwhelmed and require emotional support from qualified staff. Room A3 is used as a small cosy setting to deliver ELSA to vulnerable students identified by the wellbeing team.
In 2021, we undertook a complete revamp of the staffroom to promote colleagues' wellbeing.