Telford Junior School is committed to supporting the social and emotional resilience of children. The pressures of society today can impact significantly on children's mental wellbeing. Stress, anxiety, low mood, attachment disorders, depression, eating disorders and self-harming appear to be more common amongst children and young people. The school aims to work with families and social and healthcare professionals to support the wellbeing of the children in our care. We have established arrangements in school to help us achieve this goal, with staff being trained in the delivery of Nurture Provision, Thrive and a range of strategies to support individual children's needs. Our Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO), Natasha Thompson, and Lori Herbert (PSHE Subject Leader, Licensed Thrive Practitioner and Protective Behaviours Specialist Practitoner) are leading the school's work in this area. The schools also commissions support from SEND Supported, a specialist teaching service, and from Snowford Grange Counselling and Psychotherapy, a school counselling service.
World Mental Health Day 2021
The school marked World Mental Health Day with a 'hats on' for mental health parade. The children undertook different activities in their classes to help them understand the importance of good mental health and to give them some strategies to support their own wellbeing. The teachers also ran class assemblies to raise the importance of mental health.
How the School Supports Mental Health
The teachers have introduced 'Thrive Time' for each class. This is a 10 minute session of mindfulness, relaxation, breathing techniques, free drawing time, lego building, etc. It has proved really helpful in settling the children for a productive afternoon session, after their lunch break. It presents an opportunity for the teacher or teaching assistiant to have pastoral conversations with children in their class.
Specific Strategies for Individual Children
Our SENCO and Thrive Practitioner have introduced a range of different strategies to support the individual needs of children around anxiety and mental health. These include 'worry monters' in classrooms, encouraging children to write their worries, if they are struggling to verbalise them. There are 'calm kits', which include different stress-relieving toys, such as claming therapy putty. Nurture sessions, Thrive activities, Lego therapy and 'Drawing and Talking' are delivered by trained teaching assistants and these have a hugely benficial impact on the wellbeing of children who are struggling emotionally.
PSHE lessons include a focus on mental health. The introduction of Forset School sessions for all classes is an additional opportunity for children work in a less structured environment, which gives children space to reflect and to talk about their feelings.
Restorative Behviour Policy
Our restorative approach to behaviour management means that the school is inclusive and takes account of the social, emotional needs of children. As part of our school development work during the next academic year, we aim to design and implement a 'Respectful Relationships Policy', bringing together our behaviour, anit-bullying and equality policies and our practices around addressing prejudicial behaviours. We believe this approach will further support children's wellbeing.