MENTALLY HEALTHY SCHOOLS: 3 IDEAS
Posted on 18th November 2019 at 10:45
In 2019 we set aside 2 weeks in January to help kickstart the new year with short programmes designed to support mentally healthy schools. Debbie at Frank Chapman Centre called the project "New Year New Mindset"....... it sounded great AND there was real substance behind it. Since then, Ingestre Hall has achieved The Sandwell Well-being Chartermark and other centres are working toward it, and we're being increasingly deliberate about the way that a visit is used to support mental health and well-being.
The mental health charity, Mind, say "spending time in a green space or bringing nature into your everyday life can benefit both your mental and physical wellbeing" in this report. At its simplest, a residential experience can achieve that, along with time away from smartphones and so on, but we think that so much more can be done; there are deliberate steps that we can take to support children, and ensure that the actions that they they learn on a visit are embedded back at home.
A DAY VISIT CASE STUDY
A Sandwell Secondary School (I really should ask for permission to share their name, I'll do that and update!) had a group of Y7 students that struggled to settle in the first term and relied on support from the school counsellor.
The Sandwell Well-being Charter Mark is a school's opportunity to commit to improving the mental health and well-being of everyone connected with the school.
Liz Stevenson - Sandwell's Transition Manager for Key Stage 2 to 3 - shared ideas with the lead SENCO and together we designed a short programme at Edgmond Hall to help move the pupils off the counsellors working group. Based around Sandwell’s “Feelgood 6” we delivered:
Connect > Icebreaker activities and animal care
Learn > Building a fire, toasting marshmallows
Move > Teamwork games and problem solving activities using Kolb’s Experiential Learning Cycle
Notice & Talk > Peer feedback, sharing observations
Give > Making bead links to share with each other and trigger memories of the programme
The Lead teacher captured the following data 5 weeks after the visit:
a) 28% had fully stopped accessing school counselling and were managed by normal pastoral wellbeing work.
b) A further 36% reduced their SEMH interaction to organised timetabled intervention only.
c) 86% of students attending the trip showed a measurable improvement in their mental wellbeing.
d) 14% showed no signs of improved mental wellbeing & no reduction on their reliance on the school counselling service.
There was of course a wider scheme of work and support in school over a greater period, but the day visit was a crucial part of the success in this case.
3 PROGRAMMES & PRICES:
Every visit can be tailored to suit the individual pupils, but for starters back in January we offered:
A day visit for pupils, such as the one above, or a guided "well-being walk" - from £10pp
A 1 or 2 night residential - from £65pp (one night, subject to availability)
A Family Learning Day to gently encourage engagement and positive shared experiences between parents, children and school - £500 for up to 50 participants.
The calendar is always changing so do get in touch with us to discuss anything. There are a handful of days in January 2020 where we could host a day visit or short residential at either Edgmond Hall or Frank Chapman Centre. There is also chance for a residential at Plas Gwynant in the spring, whilst Ingestre, Edgmond and Frank Chapman would always be able to offer at least a day visit around the current resident groups.
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