At Freemantle C of E Community Academy, we are committed to supporting the emotional health and wellbeing of our pupils and staff. We know that everyone experiences life challenges that can make us vulnerable and at times, 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.
At our school we:
Children’s mental health and well-being, as you may have come across in the news quite frequently recently, is being reported on more and more. With a range of issues surrounding social media, self-esteem, social mobility and diet, among many others, it is clear that there is a nationwide concern emerging around children’s mental health.
What’s also apparent is that this issue is not specific to any particular age group, with children in primary schools, secondary schools and further education being recognised. It is fair to say that there is no ‘magic fix’ to this, but at Freemantle C of E Community Academy we are always trying to think of new ways to support children’s mental health and the worries they may have, whether it be through our Nurture group, Early Help Assessments (EHAs), Southampton Primary Schools Mental Health Forum support or simply providing time out for a child to speak to Mrs Grove - Mental Health Champion, Mrs Martin Emotional Literacy Support Assistant or another member of staff.
Positive wellbeing is promoted through the curriculum and all school activities. Through a carefully planned approach to PSHE our pupils are helped to acquire the knowledge and develop the skills and understanding they need to lead confident, healthy, independent lives, and to become resilient, informed and responsible citizens.
In addition, whole academy approaches such as assemblies and circle time sessions are used to further develop the pupils’ knowledge of strategies. Whole academy events are held including Time to Talk Day in February, Mental Health Awareness Week in May, World Mental Health Day in October, and Anti-bullying Week in November. During these events, the focus is on mindfulness and resilience with the purpose of teaching children strategies for dealing with anxiety and copying with changes.
Freemantle C of E Community Academy is committed to creating a happy, caring and supportive environment. As well as a learning environment, the school ensures there is a positive, supportive and inclusive ethos where children can thrive and achieve their personal best.
Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) is a central to the curriculum across the whole academy. PSHE assists pupils to cope with the changes at puberty, introduces them to a wider world, manage transitions and enables them to make an active contribution to their communities. The concepts covered in PSHE include identity, managing feelings and emotions, relationships, change, resilience and being healthy, which includes physical, emotional and social well-being.
Freemantle C of E Community academy offers Nurture Provision. Children who experience domestic violence, bereavement, anxiety and any other life experiences that may affect their emotional well-being are identified by Mrs Grove and supported by Mrs Martin, a fully trained ELSA (Emotional Literacy Support Assistant) who is able to offer regular 1:1 or small group nurture support. The academy supports the child in their specific needs, meaning the pupil is at the heart of the school focus and their learning is understood developmentally.
Within the National Curriculum, every child partakes in physical education each week. This is taught by our experienced PE Coach, Danny Young who also organises lunchtime sports activities.
We promote healthy eating throughout the academy. We have a children’s allotment alongside our solar dome and raised growing beds. One area is used by children as part of the curriculum in KS1. We encourage parent volunteers to support children working in the garden.The children grow a variety of fruit, vegetables and herbs and when harvested share these in their classrooms.
To support children’s social and emotional development, and their well-being we offer an extensive range of after-school clubs - all with a view to increasing the range of experiences that children have, enabling them to make informed choices for adult life. Activities are designed to be fun and cater for a wide variety of interests.
We monitor the wellbeing of our disadvantaged and vulnerable children. Mrs Grove, Senior Leader for Safeguarding is a member of the Senior Accountability Team and meets with children and their parents regularly. All children for whom the school receives Pupil Premium funding, have a Champion who is a member of the Senior Leadership Team.
We include World Mental Health Day and Mental Health Awareness Week in the calendar and plan activities for the whole community as the academy is committed to gaining a fuller understanding of mental health and supporting the needs of identified children.
Mental Health, whether it is children or adults, can have a rather negative stigma attached to it, yet we believe that by raising the profile of this very important issue then only good things can come from it.
A happy child is a happy learner!
Tips for Parents/Carers:
A public health England and NHS site to help people take simple steps to look after their mental health, improve their mental wellbeing and support others.
Quality-assured information, advice and resources to help primary schools understand and promote children’s mental health and wellbeing.