Across all our BSN campuses, supporting our students’ mental health and wellbeing is a top priority. One of the most effective ways we achieve this is by teaching our students that our mental health is something we talk about and look after every day.
We teach this in many ways. For example,
- through explicit lessons that educate our students about what mental health is,
- how important it is to focus on and maintain our mental health,
- where to seek extra support when they may need it,
- and how to nurture positive mental health, to name just a few.
Visible Roles and Responsibilities
The value of our students’ mental health is visible in our staffing. Both Junior Schools have lead teacher roles for wellbeing and PSHE (Physical, Social, Health and Economic), and our Senior Schools have counsellors, employing specialist staff highlights the importance placed on supporting mental health needs. In addition to these positions, all campuses have staff wellbeing ambassadors who voluntarily meet to share ideas and resources, prioritising the wellbeing of all BSN students.
Students themselves are also part of our wellbeing team. All our campuses have wellbeing ambassadors as part of their student leadership team, and they play an essential part in raising the profile of mental health and wellbeing peer-to-peer.
At Junior School Vlaskamp (JSV), our ambassadors:
- hold whole school assemblies,
- launch school-wide mental health campaigns,
- spread seasonal cheer with some dress-up fun,
- and educate and lead the school in our mental health events of the year, like World Kindness Day and this week’s school wide-celebration of Children’s Mental Health Week.
”This is so fun; I love you want to hear about me. Makes me feel special.Year 2 studentWhen completing the ‘We Matter’ art project
Each Voice Matters
Children’s Mental Health Week at JSV has been an enormous success, providing many extra opportunities for students to focus on their mental health. This week
- all assemblies have a mental health theme,
- daily mental health activities in class,
- a whole school art project, forest school wellbeing lessons,
- and lunchtime events for students to celebrate this year’s theme, ‘My voice matters’.
The week will end with a very special ‘Dress to Express’ non-uniform day when the whole school community can share why they have dressed a certain way and even show off their style on our catwalk at our mental health-themed Family Friday event.
Mental Health and Wellbeing Year-round
Occasions like this week are a fantastic way to highlight mental health. It is equally crucial for our school to keep mental health and wellbeing as a daily focus. At JSV, we ensure wellbeing is at the centre of all we do, creating an environment where mental health is openly discussed and part of our everyday conversations. We model for the students how to share our thoughts and feelings, manage our reactions and explain our thinking. Mental health is supported by having open, restorative conversations with students and helping them navigate their experiences and emotions.
”That assembly this morning changed how I look at things. I am not thinking so negatively. I am doing what you did in the assembly, thinking about things in a different way. I have had the best day!Year 6 studentAfter the morning’s CMHW assembly
Established Programmes and a Community-based Approach
This year, we have introduced a new school-wide programme to improve our students’ emotional regulation, ‘The Zones of Regulation’. This programme has been employed, with great success, by the Additional Education Needs department for many years. Establishing this programme school-wide allows us to support all students in an area of their mental health, which has become particularly challenging in recent years.
At JSV, we believe in working as a community, so throughout this year, I have led parent workshops to support parents in supporting their children’s mental health and sharing information about the Zones programme, ensuring our students are supported both at home and school.
Our On-going Commitment
At The British School, supporting our students’ wellbeing is vital to ensuring that they thrive and develop so our work in this area will never be “done”. Through teacher training, staying up-to-date on mental health research, reviewing and updating our PSHE (Physical, Social, Health and Economic) curriculum and collaborating across our campuses, we will build on the existing good practice and ensure that our students develop into well-adjusted, confident young people, who understand and prioritise their mental health.
AEN teacher & Lead Teacher for Wellbeing & PSHE.
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