Mental health and well-being at Harrow Gate Primary
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.
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 create 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.
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.
At Harrow Gate Primary we are a committed to supporting the emotional health and wellbeing of our pupils, families and staff. There is a team of adults who are available to all children, families and each other at all times. Lead by the SENCO there is a Positive Mental Heath Officer who works closely with individuals, groups and whole classes. The Education Welfare Officer guides and supports families in and out of school
We offer different levels of support:
- Universal support to meet the needs of all our pupils through our overall ethos and wider curriculum. for example, our school values of Achievement , Resilience and Trust for all
- Additional outside agency support for those who have short term need and those who may have been made vulnerable by life experiences such as bereavement.
- Targeted in school support for pupils that need differentiated support and resources or specific targeted interventions such as; key adults, team around the child, POM interventions (POM explained later), lead staff members.
Universal support offer
At Harrow Gate Primary Academy all children receives the following:
A.R.T. – At Harrow Gate Primary Academy we have 3 core values – We call this “The ART of Harrow Gate.”
Achievement: Children meet the challenge and high expectations in learning through dynamic engagement.
Resilience: Children are courageous and passionate in their approach to learning, which fosters self-belief and pride.
Trust: The Harrow Gate family work as a team with honesty, respect, loyalty and effective communication to ensure success for all.
These three values are promoted and referred to throughout the whole of the school. The belief that we are only able to achieve our true potential when we have resilience and trust is fundamental to all that we do at Harrow Gate and it is the basis of our whole behaviours system.
Jigsaw PSHE –Jigsaw PSHE is a comprehensive and completely original Scheme of Work for the whole Primary School from Years F1 and 2 through to Year 6. It brings together PSHE Education, emotional literacy, social skills and spiritual development in a comprehensive scheme of learning. All children take part in a weekly Jigsaw PSHE lesson. (see the PSHE/SMSC page on the website for more detail)
Chimp Paradox Lessons – our Positive Mental Health Officer delivers a succession of lessons to year4 -6 based on the book “My Hidden Chimp by Prof Steve Peters.” The book is a simplified version on his award winning book the Chimp Paradox, specifically written to be used with children. The lessons are designed to help children to understand and manage their emotions, thinking and behaviour with TEN helpful habits.
Mindfulness in Class – Mindfulness in Class is used throughout the day to teach children strategies to self-sooth and calm themselves when they feel strong emotions and to promote a readiness for learning. Strategies including using: visualisations, giving yourself a hug, box breathing, body scans.
Peer Massage – peer massage is a 15 minute massage routine used in school to promote the well-being of children, as nurturing touch is a basic need and can help children develop into healthy, well-balanced young people. It is proven to raise levels of concentration, increase children’s confidence and self-esteem, reduce bullying and aggression, increase cooperation in the classroom, improve sleep in the home and help raise academic achievement.
P4C (Philosophy for Children) – Class partake in fortnightly P4C sessions with a wide-ranging focus but often they are mental and health and well-being related. The sessions increase children’s thinking and communication skills as well as boost self-esteem. www.philosophy4children.co.uk
Eco Club- All children have the opportunity to be part of our Eco Club. There is wide spread evidence that highlights the benefits to our mental health and well being when engaging in environmentally friendly activities. When we contribute to our communities and the planet, we become part of something bigger than ourselves. It instills a sense of worth, and it gives people something to be passionate about, something to talk about with others. The Eco Club encourages children to feel connected and helps us to put our fears and worries into perspective.
Additional Outside Agency Support
Applied Psychology – School have a service level agreement (SLA) with Applied Psychology. The SENCO directs the work of the Educational Psychologist working in school through agreeing referrals with parents for their child to access the service. One of the many roles of the EP is to support and advice school and parents in ways to help children with mental health and well-being concerns. The EP could also request the consent of parents to refer their child on to other agencies where deemed necessary.
The Bungalow Partnership – The Bungalow Partnership provide a therapeutic support for children and their families across the Tees Valley. When school feel it is necessary and appropriate, they will refer to and fund a block of therapeutic input. The therapy usually takes place in school and lasts for 6 to 12 weeks. For further information about the service go to www.bungalowpartnership.co.uk
The Redhill Family Hub – School work closely with the Family Hub and often signpost parents to the many services available to support a wide range of needs: SEND workshops, behaviour support, sleep workshops, mindfulness sessions, youth clubs. For more information in the services available ring 01642 528914
CAMHS Stockton – School work in partnership with parents and other professionals to make appropriate CAMHS referrals for children who exhibit any mental health difficulties including ADHD, ASD, Attachment difficulties, Anxiety. School then works in partnership with CAMHS and parents to support assessment and providing the recommended support in school for individual children. For further information about the service go to www.tewv.nhs.uk
Future Steps – Future Steps is a specialist Occupational Therapy service. The school SENCO would refer to and fund this service in special circumstances, for more in depth assessment around sensory processing difficulties and complex trauma. For further information then go to www.futurestepsot.co.uk
Daisy Chain – School work with and refer to Daisy Chain to support children with a diagnosis of ASD and the mental health difficulties, which can develop alongside the condition. For further information go to www.daisychainproject.co.uk
Targeted in school Support
At Harrow Gate, we believe that strong, supportive relationships between all members of a school (staff, children and parents/carers) are fundamental. We recognise that in order to truly support the holistic develop of all of our pupils, but especially children recognised as having difficulties with their mental health and well-being, that we need to invest in developing trusted relationships. Children are very astute and quickly recognise when the adults have true care and investment in supporting their needs.
“The most important assessments that take place in any school building are seen by no one. They take place inside the heads of students, all day long ... these internal assessments govern how much they care, how hard they work, and how much they learn” - Ron Berger, 2011
In response to this, ALL staff in school ensure they always make time to support the needs of child and invest in building increased resilience and in supporting the development of regulation strategies whenever it is necessary.
In addition, school promote an “open door” policy to parents to provide support in helping them help their children in a range of different ways.
Peace of Mind:
A number of years ago, Harrow Gate Primary identified the need for an “in-house” targeted provision to support the increasing number of children, who were recognised as having mental health and well-being needs. Through an ever-evolving journey, Harrow Gate now have POM in school (Peace of Mind), led by the Positive Mental Health Officer, Mrs Jackson. This is a provision in school, which supports building resilience and strategies to empower children to recognise and managing their own emotional regulation. Please see the POM website page for more detailed information.
Attachment and Trauma Support in school
Both the SENCO and PMHO completed the in depth training on how to support children who have attachment difficulties or who have experienced trauma. Please see the Attachment and Trauma website page for more detailed information.
Other targeted emotional support
Other types of emotional support available are:
Daily colouring club – this is a meet and greet with the PMHO each morning on children’s arrival into school. This is planned positive interaction with a trusted adult each day. It supports the children in the transition from home into school and builds calmness and readiness for learning.
Targeted Lunch Clubs – some children find play and lunchtimes overwhelming. This quieter and more structured social opportunity support children who find these time challenging. The clubs available are ever evolving and changing but currently we have Uno Club, Chess Club, Lego Club and Card Club. The adult in charge can scaffold and model appropriate social interactions as and when required.
Social Skills Groups – The SENCO identifies necessary social skills groups based on her continued review of needs across school. The groups are planned to address specific difficulties such as social interaction, social communication, recognising and understanding social cues, developing positive peer relationships. School use a range of resources to plan these sessions.