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
In recognition of our schools ongoing commitment to supporting the Mental Health and Wellbeing of a staff, pupils and families, we are currently undertaking a ‘Wellbeing Award’.
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 2022, we achieved the ARC Bronze Award and are now working with the Virtual School Team to achieve the Gold Award. This will benefit many other schools, particularly those beginning their attachment and trauma aware journey.
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
|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|
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.