Happiness at the heart of success.
All being well
It’s important to us that each and every member of the school community feels happy, healthy, comfortable and cared for in mind as well as in body. This lies at the heart of success. We all know academic achievement is linked to personal wellbeing, and here at NGHS we do our very best to cater for both to ensure that our school community is at its peak.
We have a whole host of resources and tools at our disposal. and expert staff to guide us along the way, and it’s so rewarding to see the results and the success of a cared for community.
Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health
There are lots of initiatives currently in place and more in the pipeline to help us ensure the wellbeing of our students and our staff. We make use of resources and expertise available to us. We believe that the issue of wellbeing should never slip under the radar or become a ‘taboo’ subject and we do this by maintaining the following:
An open culture
- Annual audits of our school community (students, staff and parents) to ensure that everyone’s needs are met
- Regular 1:1s with tutors to check in with students’ emotional wellbeing
- Regular ‘staff pulse’ surveys to allow leadership to check in with staff wellbeing and mental health and provide support where needed
- Open Door policy and flexible working for staff
- Wellbeing Club every week for Senior students
- ‘Wellbeing Wednesday’ staff emails to promote a proactive attitude to psychological wellbeing
- Planned Firefly site for parents
- Student Google Site for Mental Health
- Signposting posters around school outlining support available ‘in house’ and from other services. More details of specific support can be seen on the flowchart opposite
Education and training:
- From September 2022, all Senior School year groups will have PSHE lessons on mental health and emotional wellbeing for the first half term. This will be tailored to the needs of the year group.
- Staff have have training through staff briefings once every half term- there are additional training courses available as well and staff regularly opt to train on the Positive Educators Programme to help promote a proactive approach to emotional wellbeing and can also train as Mental Health First Aiders.
- Parents are given strategies to help their teenagers at home – ways to promote positive mental health, manage stress or anxiety and helping with exam revision and homework. Emotional wellbeing and mental health issues are also promoted through parental seminars, newsletter updates and the GDST podcast ‘Raise Her Up’
Starting Young at the Infant and Junior School
Many of the wellbeing initiatives at the Senior School and Sixth Form start life at our Infant and Junior School, setting the standard for a culture of wellbeing throughout school life.
- The Positive Project is embraced here, and each year group in the Junior School has one or two Positive ‘tools’ or strategies assigned to teach and use in PSHE lessons, as well as one or two tools to reinforce from former year’s teaching. The tools, such as the emotional barometer and worry filter, help to normalise negative emotions, help girls recognise mood and behaviour triggers and provide the girls themselves with strategies for shifting their thinking to a more positive mindset.
- Positive Reinforcement – within classrooms – use of the emotional barometer, worry boxes, worry trees, strategy reminder posters, mindfulness exercises, gratitude logs and positive pin boards to celebrate successes.
- Wellbeing assemblies – (Y4- Y6 and Y1-Y3). Using age appropriate stories, the girls are introduced to a range of scenarios which may cause negative emotions, behaviour and mental health issues in school and everyday life. Then, following discussion of possible reactions to the situation, Positive project tools are applied, with the girls suggesting a positive course of action for the characters involved in the story. The tools and strategies are also used in wider issues such as diversity, inclusion, kindness etc.
- Building self-esteem and self-regulation from the outset through eg modelling, praise, recognition, talk time.
- Our values: education and positive thinking is further embodied in our school RECIPE for success. (Resilience, Empathy, Creativity, Initiative, Positivity and Excellence) Girls are rewarded when they are seen embodying the principles of one of the RECIPE elements and these are celebrated in the weekly Be Extraordinary Bulletin. The RECIPE is also woven into Junior School Planning and Teaching and is displayed in every classroom and underpin the categories of the School Summer Show with everything from cake decorating and handwriting, to model making and painting.
- Close working relationship with Parents and regular parenting information shared with community. A whole Junior focus on understanding others, being active citizens and seeking to help others when we can through volunteering / charity work. Many opportunities during the school year to work as a community to raise awareness and funds for those less fortunate – practising gratitude and kindness. Examples include, raising funds for Hearing Dogs for the deaf with a sponsored spell, Harvest festivals, recycling with Michael, Salvation Army Christmas gifts for children in shelters etc.
- Close links with School Nurse and School Counsellor
With all of these practices in place, we have everything covered to ensure that the whole school community here at NGHS is happy and healthy. As a result, we have great working relationships between staff and pupils, between staff and parents, and between the pupils themselves. It makes for a family feel in which we all look out for each other, enjoy what we do and succeed in our achievements.