Emotional Health and Wellbeing
At Otford, we are committed to supporting the emotional health and wellbeing of our pupils and staff. We know that everyone experiences life challenges that can make us vulnerable and at times, anyone may need additional emotional support. We take the view that positive mental health is important for everyone and that we all have a role to play.
At our school we:
• help children to understand their emotions and feelings better
• help children feel comfortable sharing any concerns or worries
• help children socially to form and maintain relationships
• promote self-esteem and ensure children know that they count
• encourage children to be confident and ‘dare to be different’
• help children to develop emotional resilience and to manage setbacks
We offer different levels of support:
Universal Support - To meet the needs of all our pupils through our overall ethos and our wider curriculum. We achieve this at Otford by creating an environment and school ethos where children are encouraged to talk about their thoughts, feelings, moods and emotions and by raising awareness of mental health across the school and what it means. We do this through Well-being assemblies, PHSCE sessions, Celebrating World Mental Day and raising money for Young Minds amongst other things.
Additional support - For those who may have short term needs and those who may have been made vulnerable by life experiences such as bereavement.
Targeted support - For pupils who need more differentiated support and resources or specific targeted interventions such as wellbeing groups or personal mentors.
All our teaching and support staff received Mental Health First Aid training in 2019 and this is due to be renewed in early 2023.
Mrs Cornelius is a fully trained Mental Health First Aider and is Well-being Lead in the school.
For more information about how to support your child’s mental health at home follow the links below:
Young Minds https://youngminds.org.uk/find-help/for-parents/
Anna Freud Centre https://www.annafreud.org/media/7228/tmh-parent-leaflet-final-all-approved-laid-out-for-web.pdf
Place2Be - How to support your child's mental health – Place2Be
Kent Children and Young People's Mental Health Service 0300 1234496
In these challenging times, understanding the wellbeing and mental health needs of our pupils and staff at Otford is at the heart of our whole school approach to mental health and wellbeing. As part of this approach, gathering data from children enables us to understand their needs, identify interventions, allocate resources and measure how responses change over time. Measuring pupil wellbeing will help us to understand whether the investments we are making in our pupils’ mental health is led by the needs of our pupils.
It is good practice to identify where our interventions and approaches are making a difference, so that we can regularly review and develop next steps.
Using measurement tools can give us useful and informative data for our school community and can help us to understand the following:
· the strengths of our pupils
· the needs of our pupils
· how to identify the most suitable interventions to address these needs
· how to allocate resources to meet their needs
· measuring how their needs change over time.
Here at Otford we have decided to use the Anna Freud Centre Wellbeing Measurement Framework for Primary schools to gather this data. Children will complete this survey by the end of November, using an online tool. The number of sections the children complete will depend on their age and year group. Reception children will not take part in the survey. The reason for completing the survey and how it will help us support the children moving forwards, will be shared with the children prior to them taking it. We will repeat the same survey at the end of the year. This will help us measure impact and plan next steps. We will only have access to overall trends and results, and will be unable to identify individual’s outcomes.
As well as completing a child’s wellbeing survey, we are also carrying out a staff wellbeing survey, again using the Anna Freud Wellbeing Measurement for schools. As Leaders, this helps us to understand how staff are feeling. It asks questions about the ability and capacity of staff to support the children and young people in the school and explores aspects of school culture, which may be affecting staff wellbeing. The results of this survey, will be shared with governors and staff.
To integrate mental health and wellbeing across the whole school community, we have also recently created a Wellbeing Action Group in school, comprising of representatives from different stakeholders; staff (both teaching and non-teaching), Wellbeing Governor - Hannah Drennan and some children. This year our Community Leaders from Y2-Y5 and our Community Ambassadors in Y6 will be the children who form part of the pupil voice within the Wellbeing Action Group. We are also keen, to have parent voice within this group and will be discussing the best way to achieve this.
Establishing the Action Group means that everyone is playing a part in promoting good mental health and this will help advise us, as leaders, on strategies to improve and support mental health and wellbeing across the whole community. We will keep you up to date on key information throughout the year.
If you do have any concerns about the mental health and wellbeing of your child, there is helpful information and advice on our website under Key Information - Inclusion and Special Educational Needs and Disabilities – Wellbeing so do please have a look. We will also be adding new resources regularly.
Equally, do make an appointment to speak with your child’s class teacher or Miss Chalkley, Mrs Williams or myself). All the staff at Otford are really committed to creating a culture of wellbeing, where everyone feels supported and valued and enabled to achieve their very best.
Thank you for your continued support,
(Deputy Headteacher - Wellbeing/Designated Safeguarding Lead)
Children’s Mental Health Week
Next week 6 -12th February is Children’s Mental Health Week. This year’s theme is Let’s Connect.
Let’s Connect is about making meaningful connections. People thrive in communities, and this connection is vital for our wellbeing. When we have healthy connections – to family, friends and others – this can support our mental health and our sense of wellbeing.
For Children’s Mental Health Week 2023, Place2Be are encouraging people to connect with others in healthy, rewarding and meaningful ways. We will be talking to the children about this in school through assemblies and class activities.
There are also resources and ideas for you to try and think about building connections too. Please follow the link below.
We are also inviting the children to DRESS TO EXPRESS on Wednesday 9th February and would invite them to bring in £1 to raise important funds for the work of the Place2Be Charity. DRESS TO EXPRESS is an opportunity to wear something that expresses who they are or just feel comfortable in. It is not about creating or buying elaborate costumes, just wearing clothes or accessories they already have. It goes without saying, for those children who would rather come in school uniform as usual, that is absolutely fine.
Pupil Well-being Survey Results
As you may remember in November 2022 children in KS1 and KS2 took part in a Well-being survey. We wanted to share these results with you.
Otford Primary School Well-being Survey - November 2022
The results have been shared with children and staff and key areas have been discussed. As a school, we continue to work hard to promote positive wellbeing for all but as a result of the survey, our two immediate focuses will be sleep and managing worries/anxiety.
The Well-being Action Group have gained feedback from staff and children about how we can support children and families within these key focus areas (more information will be provided in due course) but the Community Leaders have decided to launched a competition in school during assemblies to help start to raise the profile (see below for details).
As a school, it is important for us to gain parent feedback on the survey results and ideas from yourselves about the type of support that will be most helpful. Hannah Drennan (Well-being Governor) and myself, propose to hold regular online zoom sessions, with different groups of parents from across the school. Your insights into the well-being of children will be helpful so that we can plan and assess an ongoing programme of support that meets the needs of the families to Otford. The first meeting will be soon after half term and invites will be sent out to a randomly selected group of parents so please do look out for an email next week.
Community Leaders Well-being Competition
If you do have any individual concerns about the mental health and wellbeing of your child, there is helpful information and advice on our website under Key Information - Inclusion and Special Educational Needs and Disabilities – Wellbeing so do please have a look. We will also be adding new resources regularly.
Equally, do make an appointment to speak with your child’s class teacher or Miss Chalkley, Mrs Williams or myself. All the staff at Otford are really committed to creating a culture of wellbeing, where everyone feels supported and valued and enabled to achieve their very best.
Thank you for your continued support,
Mrs Peppie Cornelius
(Deputy Headteacher - Wellbeing/Designated Safeguarding Lead
Children's Mental Health Week
We are looking forward to celebrating Children’s Mental Health Week again this year. The theme is Growing Together.
Growing Together is about growing emotionally and finding ways to help each other grow. Challenges and setbacks can help us to grow and adapt and trying new things can help us to move beyond our comfort zone into a new realm of possibility and potential. However, emotional growth is often a gradual process that happens over time, and sometimes we might feel a bit ‘stuck’.
During the week, through assemblies, PHSE sessions and other activities, we will help children to explore what it means to grow together.
Children’s mental health is something we try to support all year round at Otford but this week provides an opportunity to shine a spotlight on children and young people's mental health and raise vital funds to ensure every child has easy access to mental health support. With this in mind, the Y6 Community Ambassadors would like to take part in the ‘Dress to Express’ day, on Wednesday 9th February, to raise money for a wider community of children, so they have the support they need.
Children (and staff) will be able to come to school use clothing and colour to express themselves, for a suggested voluntary contribution of £1 or £2 to support the amazing work of Place2Be! The Y6 Ambassadors will be putting up posters, collecting and counting the contributions and helping to promote a day where our community can come together to express themselves, whilst helping raise funds to help others. We hope that all the children look forward to getting involved and ‘Growing together.’
Thank you in advance for your support.
For more information for parents and carers:
If you are having particular struggles with your child ‘Parenting Smart’ offers parenting advice from Place2Be Child Mental Health experts, including practical tips to support children’s wellbeing and behaviour.