How we look after our pupils at Giggleswick is equally important as academic achievement. Wellbeing is placed at the centre of everything we do. It is embedded into lessons, co-curricular activities, boarding and day pupil life – and the school’s values of Participation, Respect and Ambition are representative of how important it is to develop the whole child. We believe that looking after a child’s wellbeing, not only comes before academic success, but also lays the foundation on which achievement can be built.

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We use the DfE's guidance, Mental Health and Behaviour in Schools, as a guide and work to the their ideals:

  1. 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.
  2. Identification: recognising emerging issues as early and accurately as possible. 
  3. Early support: helping pupils to access evidence based early support and interventions.
  4. Access to specialist support: working effectively with external agencies to provide swift access or referrals to specialist support and treatment.

Alongside the Deputy Head (Wellbeing) at our Senior School, the Head leads mental health and wellbeing at the Junior School, supported by the PSHE teacher.

Supporting mental health

Learning about mental health is part of our PSHE (Personal, Social and Health Education) which is taught for one hour each week to all classes by a trained member of staff. Here mental health techniques are taught and discussed as part of the new RSE curriculum of which the school was an Early Adopter. This is linked to our assemblies and tutorials, creating our Wellbeing Curriculum where topics are explored in greater depth. This is enhanced by P4C sessions, Calm Club, Yoga and the development of Mindfulness within the curriculum. With the children, the school continues to develop indoor and outdoor spaces (including our gardens and animal area) for reflection and to connect with nature. The school also has designated Mental Health Awareness Days across the year, alongside events such as Safer Internet Day and Anti-bullying (Odd Socks) Day.

The school’s CAS programme (Creative, Active, Service) and our core values further support positive mental health and wellbeing, with a focus on developing a growth mindset. The school promotes the 5 Ways to Wellbeing Approach.

Beyond the curriculum

Pupils can alert staff to their thoughts and feelings through a number of channels. All classes have emotional registers and can move a face to a range of feelings at the start and different parts of the day to alert form staff. Suggestion boxes a good way to channel thoughts to form representatives which are discussed by the School Council. The school also has worry boxes which are checked by the Head each day and acted upon. Many 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. The school also uses an online wellbeing assessment package, PASS (Pupil Attitude to Self and School) to monitor pupil’s feelings and provide intervention if needed. The school has a buddy system in which older pupils support younger ones, and playground buddies operate at break and lunch times.

Supporting pupils & parents

For those pupils who are experiencing mental health and wellbeing difficulties, additional support maybe provided in liaison with parents. This could be daily check-ins with a member of staff, creating a buddy, or individual/group interventions led by a Level 3 Compass Buzz trained member of staff, or the Head of Junior School.

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, including Early Help and also our school counsellor.  

As part of our wellbeing curriculum, we will signpost information and support parents. This is frequently via our weekly newsletter but can also include parent information sessions. We also use parental surveys to ascertain your thoughts and feelings.

Useful contacts

MindEd – www.minded.org.uk

Childline – www.childline.org.uk

NSPCC – www.nspcc.org.uk

The Go-To (Support for North Yorkshire) - https://thegoto.org.uk/im-a-parent-or-carer/

North Yorkshire County Council - https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/childrens-and-young-peoples-mental-health