Health & wellbeing

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 Prep 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, 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.


Here we can see Year 3 and 4 practicing counting their breaths in a session called ‘The Bubble’. This allows pupils to experience what it is like to direct their attention and provides them with a simple tool for training their attention using their breath.

Mindfulness sessions are part of the lesson timetable here at the Prep School, and a bit like exercising a muscle, we teach our pupils how to make particular changes to their brain that can really help them in their lives.

Within the lessons, pupils learn how to aim and sustain attention as well as recognise the role attention plays in their school work, their relationships, and in the way they communicate, both at school and at home.

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. 

The school also has worry boxes which are checked by the Head each day and acted upon. Many staff have been trained by Compass Phoenix, 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 wellbeing champions operate at break and lunch times.

Healthy eating

Meal times are an important part of any pupil’s day, whether a day pupil or a boarder. All pupils eat lunch together in our shared dining hall. Lunches are eaten ‘family’ style with children sitting in groups with members of staff. Wholesome, nutritious choices are provided by our catering company, Holroyd Howe. These include a selection of up to three hot main courses (including a vegetarian option), hot vegetable choices, a wide range of salad options, soups, breads and desserts; all freshly prepared on site. We are experienced in catering for a range of dietary requirements. Match teas are provided for pupils and parents following sporting fixtures, these are also served in the dining hall. Pupils in all years can also stay for tea (5:30-6:00pm) where further hot and cold food choices are provided – included in the day fee. The school also provides a healthy fruit snack at morning break for all pupils. Weekly menus are posted on the school notice board in the Tower for parents to view in advance.

Wellbeing Centre

The School has its own Wellbeing Centre which is staffed 24 hours a day during term time by a team of qualified nurses, under the supervision of the two School Doctors. All boarding pupils are registered with the School Doctors; day pupils remain registered with their family GP. The School employs a private company, Event Medical Services, to provide emergency first aid treatment at most of the rugby fixtures and some other sporting events in the School calendar.

The school also employs a visiting counsellor which Prep School pupils have access to if required. Independent Listeners are also used with some pupils who would like to talk to another adult from outside school. We can also refer pupils to external agencies who can support pupils both in and out of school, such our Speech and Language Therapist. The Head of the Prep School is in regular contact with the Housemistress and staff of the Prep boarding house (Catteral) to support boarding pupils further. The school is also accredited as a ‘Stonewall Champion’, further promoting equality and diversity.

"I love the fact that my children are not simply names on a list. Every teacher knows all the children and that makes them feel welcome and safe."

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