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Children's Mental Health Week

There can be no denying the impact that positive mental health and well-being have on a child's ability to learn in school and on their levels of happiness and joy. At Wath Victoria Primary School we invest heavily in providing a curriculum and environment which supports children to thrive socially, emotionally and mentally to help them to be able to grow into rounded adults, able to enjoy life and participate and contribute to their community in a positive way.

In Children's Mental Health Week, our focus will be on the national theme which is 'Find Your Brave'. Research shows that children who are able to step outside their comfort zone, and carry out small acts of bravery for themselves become more resilient and confident young people. In class, our infant children will be given chance to take about what being brave means to them and to set themselves a challenge to 'find their brave' and tell other about it proudly. Our junior children will consider the bravery of characters in popular film and literary culture and discuss how bravery help the characters grow.

The week will also give us the chance to talk about the 5 ways to well-being which are promoted through the NHS. These are:

- Connect with others

- Be physically active

- Notice - pay attention to the present moment

- Learn

- Give to others

On 'Time to Talk Day' on the 6th February, we will open our doors to parents offering a space to talk and share in a community cafe. We will also sing the song 'Happy Talk' and think about the words in the song and how talking to someone else can really make us happy and more content. We will spend some time practicing mindfulness, share kindness between each other by offering compliments to others and we will learn about how to be safe when connecting with others online. We are aware that our young people are increasingly accessing social media and life online, and we strive to ensure that they do this in a way that does not impact negatively on their mental health and well-being. A recent report by Barnardos (2019) explains how social media has a growing negative influence on the well-being of young people.

Being physically active is a huge indicator of pupil well-being. The government stipulates that children in primary school should access at least 2 hours of physical activity in school every week. Our children access timetabled PE lessons, and extra daily physical exercise through our #fitin15 programme. Beyond this, children have active playtime and active lunchtime provision delivered by our school sports coach, and games led by duty staff. We currently offer a wide range of extra-curricular clubs after school with children being able to access 16 clubs weekly after school and a daily breakfast club where football and skipping competitions are regular features.

As the first school in Rotherham and South Yorkshire to achieve the Carnegie Mental Health Award from Leeds Beckett University in 2018, we are in no doubt that the work that we have done and continue to do to support children's mental health and well-being is impacting on their success in school, and therefore their life chances. Recent government data shows that 1 in 8 children between the ages of 5-19 have at least one mental disorder (Barnardos 2019). We have a number of staff who are trained in trauma informed practice to support our most vulnerable children, and all staff are team-teach trained which enables them to respond to children's behaviours safely to benefit everyone. Our behaviour and relationship policy is one in which restoration, care, support and understanding is paramount. We want our children to leave us with a strong sense of respect for others but also, more importantly, for themselves so that they have high self-esteem, resilience and knowledge that they are prepared to cope with whatever life may have in store for them.

Mrs C Miller

Headteacher - Wath Victoria Primary School

You can find out more about the things mentioned in this blog below:

5 Ways to Well-Being

Children's Mental Health Week

The Place2be

The School Mental Health Award

Young People, Social Media and Mental Health - Barnardos 2019


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