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.
We encourage a culture of gratitude and so we also have a Thank You box where children can thank their classmates, teachers, parents or anyone else when they feel that someone has helped them.
What we are doing well
- On site Wellbeing Mentor who is available for parents, staff, and children.
- 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.
- 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.
- We have our own therapy dog – Herbie.
- A strong and effective culture of wellbeing focused around a growth mindset and centering on our school values.
Resources and guides
During early childhood, from pregnancy to the age of five, our brains develop at an amazing rate – faster than at any other time in our lives. This is a really helpful guide raising awareness of this stage of child development and it’s impact on mental health.
Clear Fear app – a helpful app for managing anxiety.
Happy Self Journal – a useful tool for developing emotional literacy.
Every mind matters – Expert advice& practical tips.
Young Minds – practical parenting advice.
Child Bereavement UK – rebuilding lives when someone has died.
NSPCC – safeguarding children and protecting their mental health.
BBC Bitesize – promoting children’s wellbeing.
BBC Teach – five ways to help with children’s wellbeing
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.
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.
MindEd – a resource which includes advice for parents on children and young people’s mental health.
Cosmic Kids Yoga – yoga, meditation and relaxation for children (and adults!).
Mind Yeti – free guided mindfulness sessions and videos.
Mental Health Wellbeing -from iHASCO. It lists various different sources of information and recommends a number of ‘apps’ parents may find useful.
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.
Our Worry Box
Our Worry Box is situated outside Mrs Richard’s office in KS2. KS2 Children can self-refer to Polly, our Wellbeing Mentor using this box. Only she will read their messages and will then come and find them to see if she can help. We encourage the children to problem solve themselves but if they have an ongoing worry Polly can be very helpful as a sounding board. Due to the nature of her job it can sometimes take a few days for Polly to come back to children but she will always follow up a note. There is also a Worry Box email if children would prefer this route – firstname.lastname@example.org
Our 8 values are the cornerstone of our children’s emotional education. It is very important to us that the values do not exist as a tick-box exercise, but that they are concepts that the children are able to to examine, observe and incorporate into their lives. To achieve this we have assemblies twice a term concentrating on one value at a time. Children can then nominate both peers and staff who exemplify the value.