Pastoral Care and Wellbeing
Wellbeing and Mental Health at St. Swithun’s School
‘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.’
World Health Organisation
‘A positive sense of well-being which enables an individual to be able to function in society and meet the demands of everyday life. People in good mental health have the ability to recover effectively from illness, change or misfortune.’
The Mental Health Foundation
At St Swithun’s, we recognise that one of the most important aspects of any person’s life is their wellbeing. Positive wellbeing has been defined as the combination of feeling good and functioning well; it is about holistic health, including physical and emotional. In the world of (positive) psychology, wellbeing is the state where a person is living their life with contentment, engagement, and meaning. In other words, you feel good about what's happening in your life, you feel a sense of connection to others around you and your life has meaning to you.
Two key elements to support good mental health are:
- Feeling good – experiencing positive emotions like happiness, contentment and enjoyment. This includes 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.
Why does wellbeing and positive mental health matter?
Quite simply, it matters, because we matter. Our wellbeing and mental health status can affect and impact many areas of our lives: how we feel, our physical health, our relationships, how we function and how we approach our learning and work. The more positive a person’s wellbeing, the more they are sociable and energetic, more flexible and agile they are with their thinking, and they have better capacity to learn and carry out their jobs. It also supports their internal toolkit with, for example, resilience, motivation and determination, thus they are better equipped to manage more effectively when life isn’t going so smoothly.
We at St. Swithun’s are committed to promoting and supporting the health and wellbeing of our community – staff, pupils, parents and carers, to ensure everyone feels able to thrive. We recognise how important mental health and emotional well-being is to our lives in just the same way as physical health. We also recognise that children’s mental health is a crucial factor in their overall wellbeing and can affect their learning and achievement. Positive mental wellbeing is essential if children and young people are to flourish and lead fulfilling lives. We will all experience life challenges that can make us vulnerable and at times, and 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.
Levels of support for pupils
- Universal support– To meet the needs of all our pupils through our overall ethos, school values, PSHCE and our wider curriculum.
- 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. This may be social or nurture group from class teachers or support staff, or it may be sessions from our ELSA (Emotional Literacy Support Assistant) for specific emotional needs of children in our school.
- Targeted support– For pupils who need more differentiated support and resources or specific targeted interventions, such as referral to wider professionals.
Who you can contact
The welfare and safety of all our pupils is of paramount importance. If you have concerns regarding this nature about any pupil, please contact one of the school’s DSLs (Designated Safeguarding Leads). They are Mrs Knighton, Mrs Serle, Mrs Dowe and Miss Doolittle.
Your child’s class teacher is a good point of contact, and you can either drop them a note, email/ contact the school office (who will pass this on) or catch them at the end of the school day.
Our school has a specific Wellbeing and Mental Health Team who work to support all members of our school community. They are Miss Maskell, Mrs Serle, Mrs Dowe, Miss Doolittle and Miss McAllister.
What is Mental Health? - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nCrjevx3-Js
NHS Better Health – Every Mind Matters - https://www.nhs.uk/every-mind-matters/
The Expert Parents Guide to Childhood Anxiety - https://tutorful.co.uk/guides/the-expert-guide-to-help-your-child-with-anxiety
Anna Freud Centre for Children and Families - https://www.annafreud.org/parents/
Young Mind Parents’ Survival Guide - https://youngminds.org.uk/find-help/for-parents/parents-survival-guide/
Family Lives Parentline - https://www.familylives.org.uk/how-we-can-help/confidential-helpline
Whilst we are geographically far away from the events, there may be people we know or members of our community who will be directly affected, who may have families/ people they know or roots in the region.
The news and social media feeds are filled with the latest information, much of which is very upsetting and worrying; and may not even be verified. Children listening and viewing distressing images and finding out the events can become frightened and fearful. As put out to parents and carers in ‘Tuesday Newsday’, we at school are supporting out children by dealing with questions/discussion in a way which is sensitive to their ages. The strong message from the resources we have been using is to take the cues from the children in terms of what they are seeing and hearing and what they are worried about and then offering ideas/ possible ways to support their emotions.
Here are some background reading resources to help you think about how adults can support children with what they are seeing or feeling.
Supporting your child if they see upsetting content online about what is happening in Ukraine:
Save The Children – Ukraine: 5 Ways To Talk To Children About Conflict
Eduweek – How To Talk With Students About The Russia-Ukraine War
The Guardian – Be Open, Be Honest And Listen – How To Talk To Children About Ukraine
Dad Info – How To Talk To Children About The Invasion Of Ukraine
4 My Schools – Help When Speaking To Pupils About The Invasion Of Ukraine
Childrens Mental Health Week
WOW!!! Take a look at the AMAZING and creative balloons the children made following Childrens' Mental Health Awareness Week. They brighten up our school and it is a delight to see them displayed and hanging around. We looked at the different strategies that we can all employ should we not be feeling too great. These may include going for a walk, playing some sport, reading a book, getting out into nature, deep breathing and mindful colouring. On our balloons, we wrote these on the basket so we had these in our own toolkit to keep us secure, just like the basket does. We also listed the different trusted people whom we could talk to during these times. Speaking with someone can really support when we are feeling upset or 'out of sorts'. These people can lift us up when we are feeling down, and so this is why we wrote their names on the balloon.