At Ashton Gate Primary School, we aim to promote positive mental health and wellbeing for our whole school community (children, staff, parents and carers), and recognise how important mental health and emotional wellbeing is to our lives in just the same way as physical health. We recognise that children’s mental health is a crucial factor in their overall wellbeing and can affect their learning and achievement. All children go through ups and downs during their school career and some face significant life events. According to the Mental Health Foundation, 10% of children and young people (aged 5-16 years) have a clinically diagnosable mental problem.
The Department for Education (DfE) recognises that: “in order to help their children succeed; schools have a role to play in supporting them to be resilient and mentally healthy”. Schools can be a place for children and young people to experience a nurturing and supportive environment that has the potential to develop self-esteem and give positive experiences for overcoming adversity and building resilience. For some, school will be a place of respite from difficult home lives and offer positive role models and relationships, which are critical in promoting children’s wellbeing and can help engender a sense of belonging and community. 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. We also have a role to ensure that children learn about what they can do to maintain positive mental health, what affects their mental health, how they can help reduce the stigma surrounding mental health issues, and where they can go if they need help and support.
At Ashton Gate, pupils' positive mental health and wellbeing is paramount and at the forefront of everything we do. It is woven into our daily classroom practice; in the ethos of the school as well as being the focus of standalone PSHE lessons, assemblies and recognising national events. Our aim is to help develop the protective factors which build resilience to mental health problems and to be a school where:
- All children are valued.
- Children have a sense of belonging and feel safe.
- Children feel able to talk openly with trusted adults about their problems without feeling any stigma.
- Positive mental health is promoted and valued.
- Bullying is not tolerated. In addition to children’s wellbeing, we recognise the importance of promoting staff mental health and wellbeing.
Four members of staff have recently undertaken Level 2 of the Therapeutic Skills training, which will enhance their ability to understand juvenile mental health needs and how, as a school we can support children effectively.
Gareth Jones is the lead for children's mental health in schools, he has completed the DfE accredited mental health qualification in 2022.