MENTAL HEALTH AND WELL BEING
At Morley Victoria we like to think of ourselves as a big family who take care of one another and who care when we know that something isn’t right. This applies to our children, our staff and our families. We have a very strong ethos and are very nurturing school and we are proud of the fact that we put an equal emphasis on the social and emotional health and wellbeing of the pupils as we do their academic skills. We believe that this is paramount to success, not just at school in the here and now but in the future. Our aim is for our children to leave Morley Victoria with the necessary skills to move forward and be successful academically but also to make good, well considered decisions in their personal and professional lives.
We have developed a curriculum that we believe will give the children the skills to be confident, well rounded individuals. Threaded throughout is PSHE which addresses a wide range of topics that children will need to be knowledgeable about if they are to be successful.
Embedded within the heart of our school is ‘Investors in Pupils’, which teaches children to value themselves and what they can achieve individually and as part of a team. This gives the children information about how our school is run financially and what peoples’ roles and responsibilities are. We have also introduced Growth Mindset which enables the children to develop the skills in self-belief and to not give up on their work, their hopes and their dreams. This was introduced in September 2017 and is something that is having very positive effects on our children and staff.
At Morley Victoria we invest a lot of money in our Inclusion Team to take care of the pupils’ emotional health and wellbeing. We have four non-class based staff who work across school to fulfil the aims set out above. This team work alongside staff to benefit the whole school and its stakeholders. This team is made up of:
Mrs Gilbertson works with the Early Years and Key Stage One families; she offers professional help and support with a range of issues from parenting to toilet training and small group intervention to emotional literacy. Children who find coming to school a challenge; children who experience difficulties in their behaviour for learning and for those who require additional support on account of situations that arise at home are under her care. Mrs Gilbertson is highly skilled and has a vast amount of experience alongside a proven track record of her successes.
Mrs Grayston is our emotional health and wellbeing manager based in Key Stage Two. She has a wealth of experience that spans many years. Her work with families is highly valued and the support that the children are given in school is bespoke to their requirements. Mrs Grayston supports children and families who have mental health issues – she is a trained counsellor and is skilled at bringing children together around the table to help unravel problems. She has a very professional approach to speaking with families – she speaks honestly and is extremely good at delivering very difficult messages.
Miss Northfield was appointed in February 2018 and is a very valued member of the team. She spends a lot of time with children in Key Stage Two who need help and support to solve issues that have arisen throughout the school day. These are issues that we wish to make sure that they don’t go home and dwell on as this can affect their emotional health and wellbeing both at home and when considering how they feel about returning to school the following day. Miss Northfield is gaining experience on a daily basis and is working closely with Mrs Gilbertson and Mrs Grayston to build on her skills.
Mrs Ashlee is our Assistant SENCo. She has been at Morley Victoria for a very long time and she is very knowledgeable about a wide range of different special needs. She works with children and families to ensure that individual needs are catered for to enable children to learn well and achieve their absolute best. She works with children individually and in small groups to build their confidence and skills which in turn has a positive effect on their mental health and wellbeing when children start to believe in themselves. Mrs Ashlee is the line manager for the support staff who she coaches and guides to enable them to cater effectively for the children in their care.
In this day and age with children’s mental health being affected in a variety of ways and with depression and suicide rates soaring, we as a school must do everything in our power to ensure that this is prevented in any of our children through our support mechanisms.
As Leaders we also care about the mental health and wellbeing of all of our staff, regardless of their role in school. We are conscious of workload and are constantly trying to find ways to support staff and make sure they feel valued and not stressed in their work as this has a negative effect on the children. We encourage staff to share their challenges so that we can help and support them. The support system is strong from the Headteachers to Key Stage Managers to the Inclusion Team – we encourage staff to talk and share so that we can put the right support mechanisms in place. We are extremely supportive of our staff when they are experiencing difficulties in their personal lives and we do everything we can to ease the stress and strain during these times.
We aim to ensure that you can ‘feel’ the caring and nurturing ethos of our school the minute you walk through the door.