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Mental Health & Wellbeing

At Stepney Park Primary School, we recognise the importance of good mental health. Children who are worried, anxious or stressed do not learn while those that happy, secure and confident thrive.

As a school, we believe we have a dual role in supporting children's mental health and wellbeing:

  • To create a protective environment which acts to prevent everyday stresses becoming serious problems.

  • To have a robust system of identification and referral to intervene when mental health difficulties are disrupting progress and the healthy development of individual children.

To coordinate this provision, we have identified a Designated Mental Health Lead. This member of staff has a strategic overview of our mental health provision, attends relevant training and supports staff to meet the mental health needs of our children through universal support and referrals.

Importantly, our approach is not limited to supporting children experiencing crisis. Instead, we take a graduated approach, starting with universal provision which aims to equip all children with the tools to support their own mental wellbeing. We also have school staff who are trained to give early support to children experiencing difficulties and we access a range of services to support children whose needs are more severe and require trained external support.

Our universal approaches to supporting children in maintaining good mental health and wellbeing include:

  • Working hard to ensure that children create secure and meaningful relationships with adults in school. These relationships enable adults to notice when children may be struggling and ensure that children know who to talk to if they have worries or problems.

  • Through PSHE, assemblies, special days and discussion times, we teach children about a wide range of things that they can do to stay mentally healthy. We recognise that there is a strong link between good physical and mental health, and we help children to become aware of this. 

  • Recognising that children will feel happier when they feel included and taking steps to ensure that all children feel welcome. For example, we teach about and celebrate a range of different cultural and religious festivals. We actively promote the celebration of differences and encourage children to speak out if they witness or have been a victim of discrimination.

  • Providing ‘safe spaces’ for children to retreat to in the playground and in class. Our playground buddies also help children who are feeling lost or sad in the playground.

  • Offering an open 'Chill Zone' to all children. This is supported by members of staff with experience in pastoral support and children can access a range of books with a wide variety of topics or can chat.

  • Using restorative approaches where appropriate. When difficulties arise between children, staff use restorative approaches to support children in finding solutions and recovering from disagreements. This is central to our behaviour policy.

  • Stepney Park is a Rights Respecting school. This means all children are made aware of their rights and how to respect the rights of others. We believe that this empowers children and supports their wellbeing.

We also recognise that certain events in our children’s lives can affect their mental health and wellbeing and that this may result in them needing some extra support. We use a range of different strategies, including screening tools, to support children when there are indicators that their mental health is suffering.

In these circumstances, our targeted approaches include:

  • Casual Admissions. Moving schools is a significant event in a child’s life. We have clear procedures to ensure that their move is as successful as possible and that they are welcomed and integrated into our community as quickly as possible.

  • New Arrivals to the UK. Starting a new school in a new country and learning a new language is a huge challenge for any child. We have clear procedures to ensure that their move is as successful as possible and that they are welcomed and integrated into our community as quickly as possible. We also give them extra support to learn English when they first join us.

  • Transition Support. Even children who stay in the same school for their entire Primary education will experience a number of transitions and we recognise how important these are. Every year we work hard to ensure that children are prepared for the move into their new class so that they can return to Stepney Park in September happy and ready to learn.

  • Yoga. We have a yoga practitioner who works with small groups of children across the school. The focus for each group is agreed with the SENCo and could include confidence building, understanding how bodies react to emotions, physical health or friendship building.

  • Learning Mentor. We have a learning mentor who supports children who have been identified as struggling with their behaviours for learning. This work can be 1:1 or small group and is bespoke for each child.

  • Emotional Literacy Support Assistants (ELSAs). These members of staff have completed an extensive training programme with the Education Psychology service in Tower Hamlets and work with children 1:1 or in small groups. Their work is always bespoke to the needs of the child or children they are working with.

  • Play Therapy. We have a trained play therapist who works in school for one day a week. She works 1:1 with children for a designated period of time dependent on the needs of the child, offering them a safe space for children to engage in self-led exploration through play.

  • Counselling. We have a counsellor, who works in school one day a week. She works flexibly so that we can best meet the needs of our children. This includes working directly with children and liaising with parents. 

  • Educational Psychologists. We buy in a considerable amount of specialist Educational Psychologist (EP) time. This is used in a range of ways to support children’s behaviour, learning and wellbeing. 

  • Referrals to outside agencies. Where a child or family have needs which cannot be met by the above services, we work to find agencies who can offer the support needed. These could include Young Carers, respite services and DCOS.