The wellbeing and safety of our children is our top priority at Barnes. We want children to leave us at the end of Year 6 as resilient, emotionally intelligent and empathetic members of society. Our goal is to equip them with a thorough understanding of their own emotions and a robust tool kit of strategies to employ when times (as they will be) are difficult, sad or stressful. Our children are taught to take responsibility for their own mental, emotional, physical and digital well-being; to understand their rights but also their responsibilities and to think for themselves rather than succumb to peer pressure. They understand that mistakes and difficulty are part of life but that our own thinking is what shapes our response and determines our state of mind. At school we celebrate humour, kindness and determination. The children have clear and consistent ways to ask for help and advice when they need it.
What we are doing well
- On site Wellbeing Mentor who is available for parents, staff, and children.
- Two staff members are Mental Health first aid trained.
- Professional development to all staff from PSHE lead on the curriculum and CPD (Continued Professional Development) on Mental Health and wellbeing.
- Resilience groups for pupils which develop coping strategies and emotional intelligence in small groups. Two further members of staff are currently completing a resilience course.
- A self-referral worry box for children which is checked and followed up by staff Well-being Mentor.
- An annual questionnaire for pupils, parents and staff
- Healthy Schools bronze for EYFS
- Healthy Schools London Gold award
- Use of a therapy dog.
- 11 staff attending the Mental health training with Place 2 be. 11 members of staff have signed up for this:
Sue Jepson Kate Gowar Genevieve Conway-Hughes Rachel Aris Georgina Rowe Elizabeth Whelan Margaret McKenzie Letitia Yeng Zoubida Bahlouli Hannah Childs Louise Dent
Emotional wellbeing - Talking to children about Covid-19
“My Hero is You” is a lovely storybook for Children on COVID-19 and is available in a number of languages.
COVIBOOK – a short book to support and reassure our children, under the age of 7, regarding the COVID-19. This book is an invitation for families to discuss the full range of emotions arising from the current situation.
Coronavirus – helpful book for children on Coronavirus written with the advice of Professor Graham Medley, Professor of Infectious Disease at the School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and illustrated by Axel Scheffler.
A visual guide – Ways to Keep Connected Remotely
British Psychological Society (BPS) – advice on dealing with school closures and talking to children about COVID-19.
View from the Window– Channel4 film showing how children are experiencing the coronavirus crisis.
Child friendly explanations of what coronaviruses are – including a social story.
The Coronavirus series from CBBC Newsround explains what is happening in a child-friendly way.
Top ten tips for ‘Talking to your child about scary world news’ – from the Mental Health Foundation are also excellent
Understanding the science may help too: Public Health England has lesson packs from primaries and secondaries.
Resources and guides
Introduction to Child and Adolescent Anxiety Workshop – the first of three pre-recorded workshops.
Emotional Health Service (EHS) Resource Hub – some excellent resources to help children, young people and their families with their emotional wellbeing
The Book of Hopes– words and picture to comfort, inspire and entertain. Completely free for all children and families, the extraordinary collection of short stories, poems, essays and pictures has contributions from more than 110 children’s writers and illustrators, including Lauren Child, Anthony Horowitz, Greg James and Chris Smith, Michael Morpurgo, Liz Pichon, Axel Scheffler, Francesca Simon and Jacqueline Wilson.
Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families – wellbeing advice for all those supporting children and young people from early years foundation stage to key stage 2.
Help with bereavement and loss during the Covid-19 pandemic – some helpful advice and useful contact numbers
MindEd – a resource which includes advice for parents on children and young people’s mental health.
Top Tips and Positive Messages from young people.
Cosmic Kids Yoga – yoga, meditation and relaxation for children (and adults!).
Mind Yeti – free guided mindfulness sessions and videos.
stay-home-superheroes – therapeutic story for anxious children.
Mental Health Wellbeing -from iHASCO. It lists various different sources of information and recommends a number of ‘apps’ parents may find useful
Tools and resources for children and young people's mental health and wellbeing from the Mayor of London
- Good Thinking – an online wellbeing service to support Londoners with their mental health
and emotional wellbeing. There are specific resources aimed at young people (ages 13-18).
There is also specialist content for parents and carers and education professionals.
- CAMHS Crisis lines – London’s emergency lines are available 24/7 and numbers are free to
call when urgent support is needed – you can find your local line here. Young people can speak
to a specially trained professional about their mental health concerns in a crisis. https://www.healthylondon.org/resource/schools-mental-health-toolkit/mental-health-crisislines/
- Youth Mental Health First Aid training – these training courses allow you to identify signs
of mental health issues in a young person, providing them with the right support. You can sign
up for a free training course on the Thrive LDN website.
- Psychological First Aid – In your role supporting young Londoners, you and your colleagues
might also be interested in Public Health England’s new, free Psychological First Aid course for
supporting children and young people.
- The Mental Health in Schools Toolkit provides a wide range of information and guidance
for school leaders and staff on how to promote emotional wellbeing and mental health within
schools. View the updated toolkit here.
- Healthy Schools London Resource Hub – available on the City Hall website.
- Place2Be – provide child counselling and mental health support in schools, including free
mental health training for teachers and school staff. Find out more here.
- Additional signposting – different circumstances can require different types of support, here are
a few additional options from some excellent organisations:
o Shout 85258 – a free, confidential, anonymous 24/7 text support service. Anyone can text
SHOUT to 85258, anytime.
o Young Minds – provide advice and mental health support, as well as online workshops,
blogs and resources. Young people who need urgent help should text YM to 85258 – a
24/7 messenger service. Parents Helpline: 0808 802 5544
o Papyrus – supporting young people who struggle with thoughts of suicide, or if they are
worried about someone else. There is a helpline to call: 0800 068 41 41
o Beat Eating Disorders – support for people worried about eating disorders. Their Youth
helpline is available every day of the year: 0808 801 0711
o Childline – a free counselling service for children and young people. Children can call, chat
online or email Childline about anything they are worried about.
o Child Bereavement UK – supporting children and families to rebuild their lives after
bereavement. Their website includes support for children, as well as resources for the
o Translated wellbeing guidance from Doctors of the World – available in 27 languages,
designed to support migrant communities.
Growth mindset programme
Growth Mindset Programme – the Emotional Health Service have developed a 10 week programme around growth mindset and resilience for parents and young people. Each pack is designed to be compatible to view on a computer, tablet or phone and there are worksheets to print if you would like to. However, you can also use it for inspiration and create your own activities
In response to the increased focus and prioritisation of wellbeing education in primary schools and across Richmond Borough, we have been running this group over the last 5 years. This forms part of our commitment as a school to supporting the children’s mental health and developing their ability to take on problems and setbacks with increased confidence. In the aftermath of the pandemic we believe that this early intervention is particularly key to preventing low level difficulties escalating in later years and at secondary school.
The Resilience Group is a 4 session programme that we would like to put every child in the school through at some point in their time at Barnes. The groups are mixed in terms of year groups. Each session is 45 minutes and they take place within the school day. The course is run by Hannah Childs and equips children with an understanding of their own emotions and a tool kit of strategies to deal with problems that may arise for them. These are life skills that empower children in day- to -day life and increase their confidence when they come across situations that are difficult or challenging emotionally. Our aim is to create a positive, resilient mindset that we would like all of them to possess by the time they leave our school.
Each group usually consists of 4 children from KS2 who meet together for 4 weekly sessions. During that time, a range of ideas are explored through talk, interactive games and activities including:
- valuing individuality to boost self-esteem,
- identifying unique strengths and positive traits that can be drawn upon,
- developing a growth mindset to help when faced with challenges,
- sharing times when resilience has been needed and used, to learn from each other,
- thinking about and trying out some practical strategies to help in difficult situations.
The Resilience Group has been extremely popular with many children asking to repeat the course. The sessions are relaxing and good fun and we have seen an enormous benefit, not only for the individuals attending but for the school as a whole.
Our wellbeing mentor - Polly Kelynack
Polly Kelynack is our Wellbeing Mentor. She is part of the Safeguarding team and works across the entire school supporting children, staff and parents. Polly’s role is to support children emotionally; to help them deal with difficult situations whether at school or at home, to improve their capacity to deal with their emotions and to safeguard them. She has a strong network of other professionals in the borough that she can refer to if necessary. Children can self-refer to Polly through the Worry Box outside the KS2 office but she can also take referrals from staff and from parents. There will be some children she sees on an ongoing basis but others that will see her once or twice in their time at Barnes. Her aim is to be an advocate for the children; she has a different relationship to the teaching staff and she is someone that most of them will come to know, particularly as they move up through KS2. Polly works with her dog Herbie, pictured below. Herbie loves being at school and often does Polly’s work for her. Polly can be referred to directly by the children, for parents through the class teacher or by Miss Jepson.
Worry Box email
We have created an email address for the children to be able to contact Polly, our Wellbeing Mentor, directly and digitally as well as the usual route of putting notes in the Worry box. We feel that for the older children in particular this gives them another, more discreet and direct route to help from her. This will be explained to the children in an assembly in the next couple of weeks. The email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note this is only to be used by children to express a concern or a worry to Polly, it is not an email contact for parents who should contact class teachers in the first instance.