Wellbeing & Mental Health
Michelle Greensmith is our full time ELSA (Emotional Literacy Support Assistant). An ELSA is beneficial role within School, supporting pupils (who are referred by their Heads of Year) if struggling with overwhelming emotions such as anxiety, anger, stress, low self-esteem, sadness.
Each child receives weekly, 1:1, private and confidential sessions (within the School's safeguarding limits) and an individualised programme of strategies and high-level CBT (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy), without any cost to parents. ELSA pupils will learn to explore their feelings, increase their emotional awareness, and learn some useful copying strategies to take away and try for themselves. Sessions usually occur over a defined 6-8 week period, encouraging pupils to go on and build their own resilience.
Our ELSA also runs some small group, lunchtime workshops, which help to bring pupils with similar issues together, for additional peer support An example of this might be the "Wednesday Warriors" anxiety workshop, or the "Super Self-Esteemers" club. For more information about the ELSA role and qualifications, please see here: https://www.elsanetwork.org/about/
As a school we recognize the importance of mental health, particularly during the teenage years, and therefore offer pupils the opportunity for individual counselling with a qualified counsellor. The service is led by Mrs Carolyn Varney and can be initiated by a pupil self-referring, at the enquiry of a parent or because a member of staff has identified that it would be beneficial.
In today’s culture it is not unusual during the teenage years for a period of counselling to be helpful. The counselling provides a place where the pupil can talk about whatever is on their mind and causing them stress. For example, relationships with their family or friends, worrying feelings and emotions or upsetting memories. It is now much better understood how emotional issues can impact a pupil’s ability to focus on their work and get the most out of life.
The counselling service is discrete and endeavours to minimise any impact on the pupil’s learning by working (as far as possible) around their academic timetable, providing confidentiality (within safeguarding limits) between the pupil and the counsellor. This confidentiality is important to create a safe place for the pupil to talk about whatever is on their mind. The school bears the cost of up to three counselling sessions, after which the parents are asked to contribute.
Victoria Ikwuemesi is our whole School Chaplain. The fundamental role of a School Chaplain is to offer pastoral and spiritual support wherever appropriate, to pupils and staff. The Chaplain can be a valuable independent listening ear, helping staff and pupils. This confidential support helps everyone, of all faiths and beliefs, to share concerns or personal issues that they may not be willing to express to others. Victoria is in School on Wednesdays.