The Wellbeing Award for Schools (WAS)
As you may know already, St Thomas More Catholic School is working towards achieving the Wellbeing Award for Schools. This is being launched in school from Monday 14th May.
In order to make sure that we improve the support we offer, we want to understand how well we are currently supporting the emotional wellbeing of our pupils. For this reason, we are inviting pupils at our school to complete an anonymous survey.
The following information is important since it will explain about both the survey process and how the information gathered will be used.
Why we are writing to parents/carers
We are asking for your permission to invite your child to complete the survey. If you are happy for your child to do this then you do not have to do anything. However, if you do not want your child to complete the questionnaire then please let us know by Friday 18th May 2018.
If we do not hear from you, we will assume you are happy for your child to be invited to complete the survey. Please be reassured that by deciding against completion of the survey, you or your child will not be disadvantaged in any way.
If you are unsure about whether you would like your child to take part and you have some questions about the survey, you are welcome to contact myself (Mr S.W. Burns).
Why has my child been asked to take part and what will they do?
The survey has been specially designed for pupils. It is a survey which should take about 15 minutes to complete. The answers your child gives to the questionnaire will not be seen by their friends or teachers – and will be done during IT lessons in school. Support will be offered to students when completing this survey if they request it.
What will happen with the information that your child gives us?
The information from the survey will help our school to improve its work in providing better provision for emotional wellbeing and mental health. All information collected is anonymous and will be kept confidential.
What we need parents/carers to do
We hope that you have found this information useful and that you will be happy for your child to be invited to take part in this survey. As noted, if you do not want your child to participate in this survey, you need to contact the school by Friday 18th May.
We would also like to give parents and carers the opportunity to take this survey and a link is provided below, with further information about the WAS.
S. W. Burns
Co-ordinator of Well Being Change Team
Links to well being survey
National Mental Health Week and Wellbeing Award for Schools (WAS)
The emotional, health and wellbeing (EMHWB) of Children and Young People (CYP) is as important as their physical health and wellbeing. Over recent years it has been recognised that changes need to be implemented to EMHWB health services for CYP to identify CYP’s needs early and enable them to access timely, appropriate EMHWB services that support them to build resilience.
EMHWB problems range from short spells of depression or anxiety through to severe and persistent conditions that can isolate, disrupt and frighten those who experience them. EMHWB problems in CYP can result in lower educational attainment, poor physical health, poor social relationships, school exclusion and limited future employment prospects as well as behaviours such as smoking, using drugs and drinking alcohol. The impact of improving emotional wellbeing is seen at an individual and family level.
Key stats: Young Minds 2017
- 1 in 10 children have a diagnosable mental health disorder – that’s roughly 3 children in every classroom.
- 1 in 5 young adults have a diagnosable mental health disorder.
- Half of all mental health problems manifest by the age of 14, with 75% by age 24.
- Almost 1 in 4 children and CYP show some evidence of mental ill health (including anxiety and depression).
- Suicide is a leading cause of death for boys and girls aged between 5-19 years.
- 1 in 12 CYP self-harm at some point in their lives, though there is evidence that this could be a lot higher. Girls are more likely to self-harm than boys.
The relationship between exclusions and emotional health and wellbeing is also a key local priority. Permanent exclusion from school, and to an extent, repeated fixed-term exclusions, can have devastating effects on the lives of the CYP.
The emotional, mental health and wellbeing approach (EMHWB) in schools aims to work together with schools and key partners to help CYP to be resilient and mentally healthy.
As a comprehensive school in an urban, inner city area St.Thomas More Catholic School has experience of the full range of mental health EMHWB issues involving all sections of our school community.
Our own students have raised issues regarding EMHWB through School Council meetings, Student Voice sessions which form part of our regular departmental and pastoral reviews and through individual conversations with staff.
Parents have also raised concerns about their children’s EMHWB when speaking with staff.
As a means of addressing EMHWB our school has registered for the Wellbeing Award for Schools (WAS) which is in partnership with the National Children’s Bureau. Details of the WAS can be found on our newly created tab on our school website but involves the following:
- An audit of existing provision including surveys from a cross section of the school community.
- Formulation of an action plan to achieve this award.
- Analysis of these results by the Change Team who will identify gaps in our provisioned ensure that these are addressed and that mental health provision is fully mapped out in the school.
- Review of school policies to ensure that EMHWB is fully embodied in all aspects of school life and is its outcomes and impact on the school community are measured
So far an internal audit by pastoral staff as a benchmark has taken place, and we have had a visit from our external adviser, Ms Jean Barlow, who met key staff in the school and a number of our student body.
We have formulated our Change Team, which will drive this initiative in the school, and an action plans has been agreed with Jean Barlow.
Our launch of this initiative amongst the wider school community has been timed to coincide with National Mental Health Week (14-18 May 2018) and the following activities have been arranged:
- Poster campaign around the school raising awareness of National Mental Health Week and selling of pins.
- Each year group will receive an assembly on EMHWB delivered by members of the Change Team
- Online stakeholder surveys completed by a cross section of students, by as many parents as possible and by all staff. The link for parents will be on the school website.
- A range of activities to be carried out during form time including a poster and poetry competition, a fun run incorporating the ‘Mile for Joel’ charity, and research projects in history.
Once the self-evaluation surveys have been completed the findings will be analysed by the Change Team and they will seek to fill in any gaps and map out our provision for EMHWB in the school.
More details will be available in due course and parents will be fully informed of future developments.
If you would like to discuss any aspect of EMHWB you are welcome to contact any member of the Change Team , or leave a message on our website. S.W. Burns, Change Team Coordinator