Passionate in our belief that positive mental health and wellbeing creates resilience to ensure we are able to face life’s challenges in a positive way.
Introduction to the award
Developed in partnership with the National Children’s Bureau (NCB), the Wellbeing Award for Schools is intended to help schools prepare and equip themselves to promote emotional wellbeing and positive mental health across the whole-school community. The vision is to create an education system where good emotional wellbeing and mental health are at the heart of the culture and ethos of our school, so that our pupils, with the support of their teachers, can build confidence and flourish. Evidence shows us that wellbeing is of central importance to learning and attainment, with high levels of wellbeing associated with improved academic outcomes.
Principles behind the award
There are four key principles driving the ideas and recommendations behind the award:
- Emotional wellbeing and mental health are a continuum. Related issues can range from positive attitudes and behaviour, through to experiences of emotional distress and mental disorder.
- Schools already experience and manage emotional issues on a daily basis; the objective is to minimise the impact of such issues and maximise the effectiveness of any responses.
- Emotional wellbeing covers a range of dimensions, such as resilience, character building, relationships and self-esteem, etc. Understanding both developmental and mental health awareness is critical.
- Creating a positive school culture requires a whole-school approach that is led from the top while involving all in the school community.
Embarking on the award process does not imply that our school is failing in this area, but rather that we are recognising the needs and demands of our school are changing and we remain committed to responding to these. Much of this change will be apparent in the issues that most schools face on a daily basis.
The whole-school community
One theme that is central to the award is the need for schools to draw the wider community and relevant stakeholders into the centre of the change process. Parents and carers are one such group. Evidence shows that, for parents, the emotional and mental health needs of their children is of increasing concern, and often parents look to the school to support and inform them. Pupils also need to be given the opportunity to express their own voice and this can be an influential source of good ideas for any school looking for innovative and appropriate solutions.
One important aspect of this broad community of stakeholders are utilising those who offer help and support generally and can provide access to specialist interventions. There is no doubt this aspect of a school’s strategy (i.e. how to access different types of help) is often a thorny issue. Currently there are recognised gaps in provision, limits and barriers to getting the help needed and poor communication and understanding of roles. This award cannot solve these problems, but it will offer ideas and solutions on how best to manage and create links and partnerships needed to help those with clinical needs. As another critical group of the whole school community, the award views the wellbeing of staff as significant as that for pupils. Equipping teachers and others with the know-how and skills needed to be better informed on issues surrounding mental health is essential.
There are five stages in the WAS process and the school will be supported throughout in order to evidence best practice and to achieve the award:
- School self-evaluation
- Preparation of an action plan
- Implementation of actions and collecting evidence into a portfolio
- Interim assessment and progress
- Verification of achievement of the award
The award is expected to be achieved within a maximum of 12-15 months. Within this timescale, the process is supportive, developmental and progressive, rather than a box-ticking, target driven exercise.
What are the 8 Objectives we are working towards?
The WAS has eight objectives which focus on areas of evaluation, development and celebration of the work of schools in promoting and protecting emotional wellbeing and positive mental health. Each of these areas is further broken down into Key Performance Indicators (KPIs):
Objective 1: The school is committed to promoting and protecting positive emotional wellbeing and mental health by achieving the Wellbeing Award for Schools.
Objective 2: The school has a clear vision and strategy for promoting and protecting emotional wellbeing and mental health, which is communicated to all involved with the school.
Objective 3: The school has a positive culture which regards the emotional wellbeing and mental health as the responsibility of all.
Objective 4: The school actively promotes staff emotional wellbeing and mental health.
Objective 5: The school prioritises professional learning and staff development on emotional wellbeing and mental health.
Objective 6: The school understands the different types of emotional and mental health needs across the whole-school community and has systems in place to respond appropriately.
Objective 7: The school actively seeks the ongoing participation of the whole-school community in its approach to emotional wellbeing and mental health.
Objective 8: The school works in partnerships with other schools, agencies and available specialist services to support emotional wellbeing and mental health.