Whether you are 5 or 50, life can be complicated! At Longacre we are dedicated to helping the children to navigate the ever-changing world around them. We aim to enable them to understand themselves and the world around them and this is pivotal to all that we do.
We are committed to creating a dialogue for the children around mental health that is open and understood and without stigma. As of Easter 2021 we will have an appointed Designated Mental Health Lead who will work across the whole school, and from September 2021 a new leadership role focusing on the wellbeing of all children, staff and parents. The wellbeing and mental health of our school community is a top priority and this is reflected within all our policies.
We have many formal and informal types of support available. Initial support options such as Form Time and the Bear Hut are available on a daily basis, others weekly. Our intention is that there is always a door open for a child to come and talk, whether that is physically talking or communicating via art therapy sessions or taking part in mediations and mindfulness.
We are proud to be part of AS Tracking which helps us identify, at an early stage, those children who are at a hidden risk of developing social and emotional difficulties; we know how to help them and can track their progress over the coming terms. The aim is that working proactively and strategically will result in significantly reducing the number of children in need of critical pastoral support in the future. The children answer comprehensive surveys every half term from which we collate action plans and talking points around children we have highlighted.
Types of support available:
|Initial Support||Follow Up Options|
|In-class support/Form Time||Heads of Year|
|Circle Time||Bear Hut|
|PSHEE Curriculum||Art Therapy|
|Tailored PSHE Lessons||Mindfulness Club|
|Guest Speakers||Social Skills Club|
|AS Tracking||Clubs & Activities|
Mindfulness in the Curriculum
How would children and their learning benefit if they could be aware of their thoughts and feelings as they happen, in the present moment, on purpose with no judgement?
How could being mindful help to address the emotional health and behaviour issues so often acting as barriers to learning?
Since September 2020, Longacre has been delivering the Jigsaw PSHE Programme ‘The Mindful Approach’. With strong emphasis on emotional literacy, building resilience and nurturing mental and physical health, Jigsaw allows the teachers to deliver engaging and relevant PSHE within a whole-school approach. Jigsaw lessons also include mindfulness, allowing children to advance their emotional awareness, concentration and focus. As part of the children’s weekly PSHE lessons, mindfulness is developed in three main ways:
- through the ‘Calm Me’ time in each lesson. This consists of breathing techniques, awareness exercises and visualisations, enabling children not to empty their minds but to quiet them and become aware of the activity within them and manage it positively.
- through the taught curriculum. Lessons help children to explore their thoughts and feelings, to expand their emotional vocabulary, explore thoughts-feelings-consequence sequences, build their confidence and express themselves in a safe environment.
- through the ‘Pause Points’ in lessons which ask children to ‘Stop and look inside’ to practice observing their thoughts and feelings relating to what they are learning about in that lesson.
The Bear Hut
In 2019 we launched a new dedicated wellbeing space, with the support of the PTA, as a physical hub and home for a number of the different wellbeing initiatives we have introduced into school life. The ‘Bear Hut’, named after the bear featured in the school’s logo, has proven both popular and effective. It stands very proudly in the hub of our quad – at the crossroads of school life and visible and welcoming for everyone.
Creating the right environment for children’s wellbeing is about creating the right physical environment as much as the right emotional environment. The Bear Hut is a special, dedicated space for children to come and talk about their feelings – it provides a safe, quiet, welcoming environment where children can be listened to.
Our children can come to the Bear Hut as they please at break times where there is always a member of staff on duty. They come in groups to sort out friendship issues or alone to discuss something one-to-one but they all come because they have decided they want to.