Mental Health & Wellbeing
Vaughan Primary School is an outstanding school that delivers high quality, nurturing provision that focuses on developing the whole child. This has been recognized through the school receiving a number of awards, including the Inclusion Quality Mark Centre of Excellence and GOLD School Games Mark.
This was further validated during our 2019 OFSTED inspection which stated that “...the school’s work to promote pupils’ personal development and welfare is outstanding” and that “...pupils’ welfare and well-being are given as high a priority as their academic achievement.”
The emotional wellbeing of children is just as important as their physical health. Good mental health allows children and young people to develop the resilience to cope with whatever life throws at them and grow into well-rounded, healthy adults. At Vaughan Primary School, we are committed to supporting the emotional health and wellbeing of our pupils, staff parents and carers. We know that everyone experiences life challenges that can make us vulnerable and, at times, anyone may need additional emotional support.
All children can experience ups and downs in their life and some unfortunately have to face significant life events which will affect their mental health and wellbeing. In 2017, about 1 in 10 children aged between 5 and 16 had a diagnosable mental health need. This can have a huge impact on the child’s experience of life, their relationships and their achievements at school. To this end, the Department of Education acknowledges that “in order for children to succeed, schools have a role to play in supporting them to be resilient and mentally healthy”.
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
To support this, we have two Learning Mentors who all children across the school can access in times of need. As an integrated part of the learning support team within Vaughan, the aim of the Learning Mentors is to work with children and their families to help them manage times of change or difficulty, and that they are supported to reach their potential or access support when they need it. They also work to ensure that children learn how to maintain positive mental health, what can affect 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.
Some of the issues a child may experience which become a barrier to their learning could include:
- Anxiety, worries and low mood
- Difficulties at home
- Issues concerning bullying/friendships/social anxieties
- Dealing with bereavement/loss
- General disaffection and disengagement from learning
- Worries about transferring from primary to high school
- Difficulties with organisation
Our Learning Mentors offer mentoring and support to individuals, groups, teachers, parents/carers and families. We also work with other schools and outside agencies, helping to construct a support network.
They are here to provide non-judgemental and confidential support to all our pupils and their families. The aim is to help them overcome any social, emotional or behavioural barriers which may be getting in the way of their learning and positive behaviour. Our aim is to promote resilience and coping skills for life’s ups and downs.
Early intervention for young people with emotional, behavioural or social difficulties can help prevent mental health problems becoming more serious in the future or developing in the first place.
Our Learning Mentors are Alison Fink and Debbie Perschky who between them have many years’ experience working at Vaughan and have both worked in different roles, supporting children throughout the school. Both Alison and Debbie are Level 3 Safeguarding trained and part of the safeguarding and have had training in supporting looked-after and adopted children in school. They are also trained facilitators for the Friends Resilience Programme, (supporting children with anxiety to develop resilience), Sunbeams/Rainbows (supporting children who have experienced loss) and the NSPCC PANTS Programme which teaches children how to keep themselves safe. They also offer Space to Talk, a drop-in service where children can talk about any worries they might have.
Alison has an MSc in CBT (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy) for Children and Young People from UCL/Anna Freud Centre. She has further training in Mindfulness and delivers it to both groups and individual children. Alison also facilitates anxiety and mindfulness workshops for parents and has experience in delivering parenting groups and courses. She also provides CBT outreach work to other schools.
Debbie has a particular interest in children’s mental health and has contributed with the charity Young Minds on their Amplified project as a Parent Advisor. She has a Level 3 qualification in Counselling Skills for Working with Children from Place2Be and is a trained Crisis Counsellor. She is an Advanced Facilitator for Drawing and Talking Therapy which encompasses one-to-one and group work and also sand tray work. Debbie also plans and delivers the NSPCC PANTS/FGM awareness programme.
We all have mental health. Mental Health is about our feelings, our thoughts, our emotions and our moods.
We all have a range of feelings everyday and our moods fluctuate and change all the time. Feelings can be happy or sad and can be very strong or feel overwhelming but usually tend to pass before too long.
Sometimes we might experience very big or overwhelming feelings which affect our daily lives and stop us from doing or enjoying things that we would normally do. This is the time we might need some help or support.
Talking about Mental Health
This resource is designed to help begin conversations about mental health in the classroom and beyond.
When we experience sudden or unsettling change, one thing that can help us cope is resilience. Resilience helps us deal with the emotions a new situation may cause, and helps us bounce back from difficulties we might encounter. Being resilient is an emotional skill and is something we can develop and build, both as children and as adults.
The Resilience Ladder is about resilience and coping with change, which we hope will be useful for children, school staff and parents and carers alike.
Prior to using this resource, have a discussion with your child about what resilience means and why it is useful to be resilient.
Tools for managing emotions from Mentally Healthy Schools & The Anna Freud Centre for children and families.
This is a resource to help children understand and manage emotions.
The web link below offers a series of activities, which can either be used in the classroom or at home, teaching children about positive thinking and resilience through football.
These activities are all about changing attitudes from "I can't" to "I can". Children will learn strategies to help them bounce back and to recognise the power of positive thinking.
Advice for Parents supporting Children and Young People with worries about Covid 19
Resources for parents from Barnados.
This also includes links to web sites that may be of use.
How to support children: Coming out of Lockdown
The Childhood Bereavement Network is a national, multi-professional federation of organisations and individuals working with bereaved children and young people.
Grief Encounter offers guidance and practical support for parents and carers, schools and professionals.
A range of support including on-line information for young people who’ve lost someone close.
Cruse – Bereavement Care
Cruse can offer referrals to Cruse branches and other bereavement and counselling services throughout the UK. It also offers a telephone counselling service for those who are bereaved and those who care for bereaved people.
Winston’s Wish offers a range of help and resources for bereaved children and their families together with guidance, support and information for anyone caring for a bereaved child.
A Child’s Grief: Supporting a Child when someone in their Family has Died. Created by Winston’s Wish, this excellent booklet is designed to be a helpful tool for adults who are supporting children through bereavement. Available from www.winstonswish.org.uk.
Children Also Grieve by Linda Goldman … an imaginative, fully illustrated interactive storybook for bereaved children and those who care for them. ISBN: 1843108089
Grief in Children: A Handbook for Adults by Atle Dyregrov
Helping Children Cope with the Loss of a Loved One: A Guide for Grownups by William C Kroen
Remembering by Lorna Nelson and Tina Rae
Practical guidance for children aged 7 – 13. ISBN: 978-1-90431504201
Michael Rosen’s Sad Book by Michael Rosen.
This book is suitable for all ages and tells of Michael’s sadness when his beloved son, Eddie, dies. A true story that tells of the very real emotions that affect him and of the things he does to try to overcome and come to terms with his sadness.
What on Earth Do You Do When Someone Dies? By Trevor Romain
A thought-provoking book for older children that describes the huge range of emotions people go through when a loved one dies and how to cope with the situation. It answers questions such as ‘why do people have to die?’, ‘is it okay to cry?’ and ‘what is a funeral/memorial service?’ It is written in a straightforward way, with practical tips, advice and information about different faiths and beliefs.
If you are worried about a child or young person, you can talk to us, your GP or Children’s Services. If you are worried that a child is in a mental health crisis and it is an emergency, please go straight to A & E at your local hospital or dial 999.
SHOUT - text ‘Shout’ to 85258 for 24/7 crisis text support
Childline - under 19s can call 0800 1111 for free support
YoungMinds Parents Helpline - Call 0808 802 5544 for free
Mon-Fri from 9.30am to 4pmam to 4pm
Kooth - https://www.kooth.com/
Harrow Horizons - https://www.barnardos.org.uk/what-we-do/services/harrow-horizons