We were delighted to welcome Dr Brian Marien, Co-Founder of the Positive Schools project, to speak at our latest parental seminar this week.

We have been holding regular parental seminars to engage with, and involve our parent community as widely as possible in issues affecting girls’ education, from emotional health to social media. This specific session was of particular interest because of the widely acclaimed nature of the Positive Schools Programme which is being championed by the Girls’ Day School Trust itself, and its other member schools.

The Positive Schools Programme refers to itself as ‘teacher-centred social and emotional learning’ and aims to promote wellbeing in schools through firstly maintaining the psychological health, wellbeing and resilience of teachers.

Co-Founder, Dr Brian Marien, is a highly qualified Doctor of Medicine, and Cognitive and Behavioural Psychologist. Along with colleague Susanne Jacobs, he has been running training sessions at the GDST for teachers and other education practitioners, introducing them to a host of techniques, online tools and apps which enable them to monitor their own emotional awareness. Their resulting knowledge can then be imparted to girls and other staff at the school, and the results of this have so far been very successful across participating schools at which staff and students have recorded the positive influences they have experienced.

The aim here at NGHS is to embed the Positive Project into every aspect of school life. Several staff members have already attended the training and the programme is being rolled out to girls, staff and parents through assemblies, tutor programmes and pastoral forums. Some of the ‘tools’ are already in use such as the ‘positive pinboard’ and the ‘worry box’, encouraging girls to recognise emotions and act accordingly.

Our Deputy Head, Katrina Handford-Smith, who manages the pastoral system at school said: “I’m delighted that Dr Marien was able to join us. The Positive Schools Programme is such a fantastic initiative and is really producing great results. I think it’s really important that our parents are also part of this and know just how much we value the wellbeing of our staff and our girls, and the expert resources at our disposal with which to achieve this.”