Children’s Mental Health Wellbeing at Hambleton CE primary School
At Hambleton CE Primary School, we are committed to supporting the emotional health and wellbeing of our pupils and staff. We have a supportive and caring ethos and our approach is respectful and kind, where each individual and contribution is valued. At our school we know that everyone experiences life challenges that can make us vulnerable and at times, anyone may need additional emotional support.
“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 Organization)
In our school, we work hard to make sure that all of our children are happy to come to school and that they have sufficient support to enable them to engage fully in all areas of school life. We promote a range of whole-school approaches and activities to maintain our happy and respectful school community and to support the mental health and wellbeing of all of our staff and pupils.
At Hambleton CE Primary School, our Christian vision shapes all that we do. Through our Christian values, combined with high-quality teaching and a creative, stimulating curriculum, we inspire caring and compassionate children to be confident, resilient, respectful, compassionate, independent thinkers ready to face life’s challenges in an ever-changing world.
At our school we:
- help children to understand their emotions and feelings better
- help children feel comfortable sharing any concerns or worries
- help children socially to form and maintain relationships.
- promote self-esteem and ensure children know that they count.
- encourage children to be confident and ‘dare to be different’
- help children to develop emotional resilience and to manage setbacks.
We promote a mentally healthy environment through:
- Promoting our Christian school values and encouraging a sense of belonging.
- Promoting pupil voice and opportunities to participate in decision-making
- Celebrating academic and non-academic achievements
- Providing opportunities to develop a sense of worth through taking responsibility for
- themselves and others
- Providing opportunities to reflect.
- Access to appropriate support that meets their needs
- Promoting and providing opportunities to support all of those in our community
We pursue our aims through:
- Universal, whole school approaches, including our approach to PSHE and RSE using the ‘Jigsaw Programme’
- Support for pupils going through recent difficulties including bereavement and family disruption.
- Specialised, targeted approaches aimed at pupils with more complex or long term difficulties including attachment disorder.
This policy should be read in conjunction with our Medical policy and our SEND policy in
cases where pupils’ mental health needs overlap with these. This policy should also be read
in conjunction with policies for Behaviour, Anti-bullying, PSHE, RSE, smoking & drugs & alcohol, e-safety, child protection and attendance policies. It also sits alongside child protection procedures and is linked to our safe guarding statement.
Teaching about Mental Health
The skills, knowledge and understanding needed by our students to keep themselves mentally healthy and safe are included as part of our PSHE curriculum.
We use the PSHE Association Guidance to ensure that we teach mental health and emotional wellbeing issues in a safe and sensitive manner.
We will ensure that staff, pupils and parents are aware of what support is available within
our school and how to access further support.
Identifying needs and Warning Signs
All staff will complete termly wellbeing trackers on their pupils aimed at identifying a range
of possible difficulties including:
Approach to learning
Negative behaviour patterns
School staff are aware of warning signs which indicate a student is
experiencing mental health or emotional wellbeing issues. These warning signs should
always be taken seriously and staff observing any of these warning signs will
communicate their concerns to the designated safeguarding Lead.
Possible warning signs include:
Changes in eating / sleeping habits
Becoming socially withdrawn
Changes in activity and mood
Talking or joking about self-harm or suicide
Expressing feelings of failure, uselessness or loss of hope
Repeated physical pain or nausea with no evident cause
An increase in lateness or absenteeism
Working with Parents
In order to support parents we will:
- Highlight sources of information and support about mental health and emotional wellbeing on our school website
- Share and allow parents to access sources of further support
- Ensure that all parents are aware of who to talk to, and how to get about this, if they have concerns about their child.
- Make our emotional wellbeing and mental health policy easily accessible to parents
- Share ideas about how parents can support positive mental health in their children.
- Keep parents informed about the mental health topics their children are learning about in PSHE and share ideas for extending and exploring this learning at home
All staff will receive regular training about recognising and responding to mental health issues as part of their regular child protection training in order to enable
them to keep students safe.
The MindEd learning portal provides free online training suitable for staff wishing to know
more about a specific issue.
How do we support mental health at school?
We use the DfE’s guidance, Mental Health and Behaviour in Schools, as a guide and work to the their ideals:
- Prevention: creating a safe and calm environment where mental health problems are less likely, improving the mental health and wellbeing of the whole school population, and equipping pupils to be resilient so that they can manage the normal stress of life effectively. This will include teaching pupils about mental wellbeing through the curriculum and reinforcing this teaching through school activities and ethos.
- Identification: recognising emerging issues as early and accurately as possible.
- Early support: helping pupils to access evidence based early support and interventions.
- Access to specialist support: working effectively with external agencies to provide swift access or referrals to specialist support and treatment.
We support mental health at school by:
- Whole School Provision-The foundation for our mental health offer is our Whole School Provision. Learning about mental health is part of our Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) curriculum for all children. This teaching and learning for all part of the Prevention phase of mental health. Children receive 1 hour of dedicated PSHE teaching each week. Beyond lesson time, our school culture embeds good mental health.
Hambleton Primary School follows a dedicated programme for PSHE, which promotes and embodies metal health wellbeing. This ‘Jigsaw’ scheme consists of six half-term units of work (Puzzles), each containing six lessons (Pieces) covering each academic year.
Term 1: Being Me in My World
Term 2: Celebrating Difference (including anti-bullying)
Term 3: Dreams and Goal
Term 4: Healthy Me
Term 5: Relationships
Term 6: Changing Me (including Sex Education)
Every Piece has two Learning Intentions, one specific to Relationships and Health Education (PSHE) (in purple) and the other designed to develop emotional literacy and social skills (in green).
Every Jigsaw lesson includes mindfulness practice. Mindfulness is being able to observe your own thoughts and feelings as they happen, in the present moment, applying no judgement. Jigsaw teaches children to understand their thoughts and feelings through the Calm Me time exercises (using the Jigsaw Chime) and Pause Points (using Jigsaw Jerrie Cat). This helps to develop their awareness, and their capacity to be mindful human beings. Learning is thus enhanced as emotions and behaviour are self-regulated.
- Our extensive, rural ground are a haven for nature and reflection. Our ‘Rainbow Reflection Garden’ are used frequently by all members of the school community. Our allotment beds, raised beds, wildflower meadow, willow arches, tree coppices and wide green open spaces are used to foster children’s joy and wonder.
- We also have dedicated Mental Health Days/Week when we promote and celebrate good mental health for all though The Five Ways to Well Being. Across the school, you will see staff leading pupils through reflection moments / meditation and mindfulness activities, perhaps after an energetic playtime before starting some work. When pupils’ emotions are causing them distress, we use the Take Five breathing strategy, so that our children can learn to regulate their emotions whenever they need to.
- We hold yearly ‘individua differences days’ where individuality is celebrated and aspects of disability e.g. dyslexia, colour blindness, dyspraxia etc.
- Our pupil wellbeing group is run by a small group of Year 6 children, who organise an ‘arty calm club’ for those children who have been identified by a teacher in need of peer support.
Low Level Needs – This is the Identification phase, from the the DfE model. We have a variety of ways that our children can let us know how they are feeling. Each class has an emotional register that children fill in. Teachers have daily ‘checks in’ with pupils and staff can then pick on pupils’ state of mind and support those children in need. We have worry boxes in each class for children to write a note, if they prefer to. Our staff have been trained by Compass Buzz, a charity providing health and wellbeing services for children, families and communities to help them identify when a child may need some additional support.
Medium Level need – Individualised Support for our pupils who may be experiencing mental health and wellbeing difficulties. After identifying and talking to parents, providing some support for the pupil is the next step. This is the Early Help phase. Getting support in a timely fashion can stop a mental health issue from developing further. There are lots of ways we can support children in school, which can range from being very light touch (e.g. a simple chat, organising a playtime buddy or a daily check-in to see how they are feeling) to a series of individual or group sessions with a trained staff member using recognised support programmes and interventions. We are trained as a thrive School, with two Lead Thrive trained staff. We have a designated member of staff who support individual children in group and one to one sessions.
High Level Need – Signposting to External Support – occasionally, some children may benefit from expert mental health professionals. We can help families to access this support. We will work with these agencies to provide support in school as best we can.
Capturing the Children’s Voice – it’s important to us that our children get a say in our mental health and wellbeing offer. We have a Pupil Well Being Group…. . In addition, our termly Pupil Voice Conference gives all children an opportunity to tell staff what they think about our school, including mental health and wellbeing. The school also participates in the North Yorkshire County Council Growing up in North Yorkshire children’s survey which covers mental health.
Working with Parents
- Parents are an integral part of our Mental Health offer at Hambleton CE Primary School. We actively promote good mental health for all and make it part of our mission to further educate our parents, local community and beyond about the benefits of good mental health.
- Parents are always included in any concerns we have about a pupils’ health. We ensure that parents have a voice and recognise their contribution.
- Calm & Peaceful Classrooms – our learning environments are set up to be safe and calming places for pupils to learn. We use neutral colour schemes so they are not over-stimulating. Classrooms have timetables, agreed behaviour charters and procedures displayed so that pupils can feel secure in the expectations within the room. Adults understand the importance of creating spaces that are conducive to good mental health.
- Appreciating Nature & Beauty – we’ve created places to nurture mental health in our extensive grounds and turned a derelict piece of land into our ‘Rainbow Reflection Garden’
How can I get help for my child?
If you are worried your child may be experiencing mental health issues, please talk to your child’s class teacher or the SENCO.
Though our staff are trained to offer support at school level, we cannot act as mental health experts and we do not try to diagnose conditions. We have clear systems and processes in place for identifying possible mental health concerns, including routes to escalate concerns and clear referral and accountability systems. We endeavour to create a safe and calm educational environment and strengthen resilience before serious mental health problems occur.
Where can I get more advice about children's mental health?
Here are some local services to support your child’s mental health
- CAMHS (Child & Adolescent Mental Health Service) Access to CAMHS is usually through your GP. For all routine referrals to the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service please contact CAMHS on 0300 0134778 (Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm) for advice and a referral form.
- Compass Reach Helping young people aged from nine to 19 across North Yorkshire affected by substance misuse, poor sexual health and issues relating to emotional wellbeing and mental health, can access free help, advice and practical support at Compass REACH. Support usually takes place in school or in a place that suits you.
- North Yorkshire support for children and families
National helplines and advice website
- If you would like some guidance about talking to your child about emotions this BBC link has some great advice.
- Childline website offers a range of support and advice on anything that may be worrying you. They can offer counselling and 1-2-1 support
- MindEd for Families. Are you a parent or carer who is worried about their child’s mental health? Do you want some hints or tips on parenting? MindEd for Families has advice from trusted experts.
- YOUNG MINDS is the UK’s leading charity committed to improving the emotional well being and mental health of children and young people. Click on this link to find out more information and for a Parent Phone line you can call for free advice.
- Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families – Tips for Talking to your Children about Mental Health
- LGBTQ Cyberbullying: A guide for parents