At Woodlands Primary School and Nursery, we are committed to supporting the emotional health and wellbeing of our pupils and staff. We know that everyone experiences challenges in life and that these can make us vulnerable at times. We also know that anyone may need additional emotional support. We take the view that positive mental health is everybody’s responsibility in our school and that we all have a role to play.

 We aim to:

  • help children to understand their emotions and feelings
  • help children feel comfortable sharing any concerns or worries
  • help children develop social skills and form and maintain positive relationships
  • promote self-esteem and ensure children know that they count
  • encourage children to be confident and ‘dare to be different’
  • help children to develop emotional resilience and to manage setbacks
Following Woodlands’ continued efforts to prioritise Wellbeing across school, we are delighted to announce that we have been awarded certification by Optimus Education for achieving a high national standard for pupil and staff positive mental health and emotional wellbeing.

The award recognises the work that we have done, so far, to support emotional wellbeing and positive mental health in our school community and provides a sound basis for our plans for further development. It has been a long and demanding process, but one which has allowed us to reflect carefully on all aspects of our pastoral care and to think creatively and strategically about what comes next. The award required us to look at the School’s vision and structures, to consider how we support the whole community in promoting positive mental health, and to ensure that we have a clear plan to continue doing so over the coming years.

Thank you to all members of our school community who have contributed to this success, by completing the stakeholder evaluation questionnaires, meeting with the verification assessor and sharing our school vision; all which ultimately benefit our fantastic pupils, staff and whole school community.

Wellbeing Commitment Doc



 Wellbeing Champions

In 2024, Woodlands established a Pupil Wellbeing Champion Team; a task force of wellbeing champions to promote and encourage positive pupil wellbeing in the school, supporting our staff Wellbeing Change Team.

Wellbeing Change Team

Wellbeing Champions

Children across school applied to become Wellbeing Champions to help create a mentally healthy school. They aim to promote positive mental health by providing peer-to-peer support, being good role models and listeners and building awareness of where to go for support.

When asked what makes a good champion the pupils said, “Kindness, empathy, patience and trust.” Many children have experienced a range of emotions and feelings and felt that they had the skills to support other children in developing positive thinking and strategies to overcome negative emotions.

The champions’ first task was to create an action plan, to determine what they would aim to achieve over the year, including leading wellbeing awareness assemblies, training children in ‘the zones of regulation and creating support pathway leaflets for their friends. Being a champion is a big commitment, but our team are enjoying seeing the impact of their hard work.


Woodlands is also part of The Attachment Research Community (ARC), a charitable organisation set up in 2017 by virtual school heads, school leaders, psychologists, training organisations and academics, with a mission for ‘every school to be attachment and trauma aware by 2025’.

ARC’s purpose is to support all schools and education settings to be attachment and trauma aware in their practice for the benefit of all members of the learning community and particularly the most vulnerable, by bringing together, sharing and celebrating best practice. In 2024, we achieved the ARC Gold Award.

Inclusion Team

Our Inclusion Team organise and provide additional support for children, parents and families to ensure that children are happy, secure and successful both at school and at home.


Mrs Amanda Fisher

Inclusion Manager




Mrs Julie Murdoch

Learning Mentor/ Emotional Literacy Support Assistant


Our inclusion team offer different levels of support:

Universal Support– To meet the needs of all our pupils  through our overall ethos and  wider curriculum and the Secrets of Success.

Additional support– For those who may have short term needs and those who may have been made vulnerable by life experiences such as bereavement.

Targeted support– For pupils who need more differentiated support and resources or specific targeted interventions such as wellbeing groups or personal mentor

Examples of additional and targeted support are;

  • ELSA support (Emotional Literacy Support Assistant)
  • 1:1 mentoring
  • Peer mentoring
  • Group mentoring
  • Lego to Express
  • Woodlands School Based Councillor
  • Emotional Health and Well-Being panel


Mental Health First Aider

Our Mental Health First Aiders have been trained to

  • spot the triggers and signs of mental health issues
  • have the confidence to reassure and support a young person in distress
  • support a young person with a mental health issue or disability to thrive



Mrs Yvonne Crilly Mrs Amanda Fisher Mrs Jo Duncombe


Therapy Dogs

Winnie Honey

Meet Winnie and Honey, our school therapy dogs. There are a number of research studies that suggest a ‘companion’ animal in school can make a difference to the emotional health and well-being of both staff and pupils. With this in mind, Woodlands Primary School has become the daytime home for Winnie and Honey, both female cockapoos. The dogs live with Mrs Crilly when not at school and she ensures that they are healthy and fit to be in school at all times.

The dogs work closely with the school inclusion team, providing motivation for learning, resulting in improved outcomes. Winnie and Honey are also being used to support children with social and emotional learning needs, which in turn can assist with the development of emotional literacy. Emotional literacy refers to a person’s ability to express their emotional state and communicate their feelings. A person with well-developed emotional literacy is therefore able to recognize and respond to the emotional states of others.

We have found that having the therapy dogs in schools is showing a range of benefits for our children, including:

  • gains in confidence
  • decreases in learner anxiety behaviours, resulting in improved learning outcomes, such as increases in reading and writing levels
  • positive changes towards learning and improved motivation
  • enhanced relationships with peers and teachers due to experiencing trust and unconditional love from a therapy dog. This in turn is helping our children learn how to express their feelings and enter into more trusting relationships.

If you would like to know more about the work of the therapy dogs, please contact Mrs Crilly for additional information. Please see our policy page for the Therapy Dog risk assessment.


Below are some links to support positive mental health and well-being at home. We hope that you find them useful.