Wellbeing & Mental Health
Well-being at Mandeville
At Mandeville Primary School, we are committed to supporting the positive mental health and wellbeing of our whole school community (children, staff, parents and carers). We recognise that our mental health and emotional wellbeing is just as important to our lives as our physical health. We know that children’s mental health is a crucial factor in their overall wellbeing and can affect their learning and achievement. At Mandeville we are committed to removing barriers to learning and work hard to equip children with strategies to manage in times of change, difficulty and stress. We will continue to address and reduce the stigma surrounding mental health difficulties and empower children, staff and parents to reach out and access help when they need it most. We continue to promote positive mental health and wellbeing as an integral part of everything we do. We are all too aware of the devastating impact the Covid Pandemic has had on the mental health and wellbeing of many – we are ensuring extra attention is put into identifying and supporting wellbeing during this incredibly difficult time.
We have purpose built wellbeing rooms and facilities to provide safe and welcoming spaces for interventions and therapy. We created a sensory room and utilise spaces inside and outside classrooms to create calm areas for children to support their self-regulation.
We currently offer the following provisions to support well-being:
We have a number of trained staff who work directly with children in times of difficulty to support them emotionally – direct work can be offered to address a child’s anxiety, anger, family changes, friendships and self-esteem. The work is personalised to meet each child’s needs and may involve therapeutic interventions such as Drawing and Talking therapy, 1:1 play sessions or simply time to talk through worries.
Mandeville School uses a service called ‘Safe Space, Counselling in Schools’. Our allocated play therapist is called Bonnie Singh. We have worked with Safe Space for many years and Bonnie has a wealth of experience working with bereavement and loss, Self-esteem/self-confidence issues, anxiety, mental health issues and attachment disorders. The school pay for this service so there is no cost to families.
Family Support Worker
Vista St Albans provides access to emotional wellbeing and early intervention they aim to support families through difficult times enabling our children and young people to have better outcomes. Vista provide parenting courses and workshops, mentoring and counselling services and family support. We work closely with a Family Support Worker, Claire Coker, who is able to support families through self-referral or through school referral.
Partnership with Institute for Arts in Therapy & Education (IATE)
We provide placements for trainees completing the Diploma in Child Counselling programme. The trainee counsellors work with our school to accrue the 100 hours working with children required to receive their full BACP accreditation. All the trainees’ work is carried out under close clinical supervision and highly specialised teaching with senior qualified psychotherapists/counsellors. Many of the trainees are already qualified teachers, social workers or have worked in a therapeutic setting with children previously.
Penn Resilience Programme and "Breathe" programme
The Penn Resilience Programme was developed by the University of Pennsylvania over 25 years ago and has an extensive evidence base showing that it has the capacity to improve a wide range of outcomes for young people including the incidence of depression and anxiety.
These lessons provide foundational skills, techniques and strategies that enable students to learn and develop the tools for life that will empower them to deal with setbacks and focus and thrive in difficult times both in and out of school. The Penn Resilience Programme enables students to develop a more sophisticated understanding about their thinking style and how this impacts both on how they feel (emotion) and what they do (behaviour). The aim is accuracy and flexibility. If students are able to think more accurately and flexibly about different or difficult situations then they will be more likely to solve problems effectively, keep things in perspective, not give up and enhance their optimism and confidence. By the end of the lessons students will have developed a broad range of skills, techniques and strategies that they can use to help them deal with everyday situations and challenges that can also be applied when the big things happen.
PRP is then followed up with specific mindfulness lessons. These lessons, called .Breathe, offer an opportunity for students to learn about how the body copes with stress and practice mindfulness techniques, exploring the ways in which this might support them through the highs and lows of adolescent life.
Jigsaw PSHE curriculum
Jigsaw offers a comprehensive Programme for Primary PSHE including statutory Relationships and Health Education, in a spiral, progressive and fully planned scheme of work, giving children relevant learning experiences to help them navigate their world and to develop positive relationships with themselves and others.
With strong emphasis on emotional literacy, building resilience and nurturing mental and physical health, Jigsaw equips schools to deliver engaging and relevant PSHE within a whole-school approach. Jigsaw lessons also include mindfulness allowing children to advance their emotional awareness, concentration and focus.
Zones of Regulation
The Zones of Regulation is a curriculum geared toward helping students gain skills in consciously regulating their actions, which in turn leads to increased control and problem solving abilities. Using a cognitive behaviour approach, the curriculum's learning activities are designed to help students recognise when they are in different states called "zones," with each of four zones represented by a different colour. In the activities, students also learn how to use strategies or tools to stay in a zone or move from one to another. Students explore calming techniques, cognitive strategies, and sensory supports so they will have a toolbox of methods to use to move between zones. To deepen students' understanding of how to self-regulate, the lessons set out to teach students these skills: how to read others' facial expressions and recognise a broader range of emotions, perspective about how others see and react to their behaviour, insight into events that trigger their less regulated states, and when and how to use tools and problem solving skills.
Our Nurture Afternoons are an innovative way of bringing the traditional ‘Nurture Group’ to a whole class setting. Supported by teachers with many years’ experience of running Nurture Groups, we provide Key Stage 1 with a bespoke afternoon of social and emotional education.
Our Nurture Afternoons support children to meet the social and intellectual demands of school life, improving their self-confidence and self-esteem, supporting them to improve their learning behaviours and removing barriers to their learning; we do this through a carefully planned curriculum.
Our Forest School is part of our Key Stage 1 Nurture provision. The children meet in groups for their own specially planned outdoor lessons. We go outside, no matter what the weather, believing that ‘There is no such thing as bad weather, only the wrong clothing!’
Learning outdoors relieves stress and helps children to relax and have fun, while exploring the natural world and to build relationships and discover themselves in a uniquely powerful way. The whole school have access to the forest, pond and wooded area to enhance their curriculum and learning too. In KS2 the forest is used by "Woodland Group" which is a nurture intervention targeted for children who are experiencing barriers to their learning in the classroom.
Molly - Our School Dog
Molly is our lovely school dog. She belongs to Mrs Williams, our deputy head and SENCO. Molly has been part of the Mandeville family since she was a puppy, joining us in 2016. Molly is a Cockapoo which is a breed that is known for being affectionate, easy to train, intelligent and enjoys spending time in the company of children. As a breed they shed very little hair and are hypoallergenic.
Molly is in school to greet children in the morning, play with them at break times, comfort them when they feel upset or anxious and take them on therapeutic talking walks. She listens to reluctant readers and supports those children with low self-esteem. Molly has made a significant impact on the wellbeing of children, parents, staff and visitors and we can’t imagine school without her!