The Magna Carta School Wellbeing Initiatives – A blue print for other schools to follow
We have opened a Health and Wellbeing Zone at our school.
The Headteacher Tim Smith appointed Clare Erasmus as the Head of Mental Health and Wellbeing at the school towards the end of 2014/15. Together with Deputy Head Chris Edwards we are in the throes of running a 12-month primary research programme to find out what students need in terms of support at the school. In response to the results and student voice so far, we have collaborated with the local community and business groups to provide wellbeing programs which offer effective support to the students.
There is a Wellbeing Zone complete with clear signposting and inspirational floor to ceiling Mental Health and Wellbeing murals designed by professional artist Matt Lambert. In this WELLBEING ZONE you will find the following:
Wellbeing Room with peer counselling support called Wellbeing Ambassadors and two adult counsellors trained by Relate West Surrey. This is a pop in lunchtime room, for students to come and talk and be heard about mental health & wellbeing issues that are concerning them.
The school has developed an app called ‘My TeenMind’ that covers body image, eating disorders, depression, puberty and sexual health. The idea of the app is to offer 24-hour support on their phone with specific advice on where to get help in the school and in their community. It has been rolled out for all tutors to use with their tutees, offered to parents to use for conversations with their children and of course as a resource in PSHE lessons. Any school in the world can download and use the app free of charge. The app has been developed with a Year 9 Media class, Gaia Technology and local charity Woking Mind. There is a mental health mood tracker for students to identify patterns with their mental health, and students are advised where to access help at the school or in the community. The app was launched by Natasha Devon MBE.
A Wellbeing Centre has also been created which is open 5 days a week, 6 periods a day for private 1:1 support and mentoring and a space where external agencies can come and work with students.
An Anti-bullying room with peer Anti-bullying ambassadors, part of The Diana Award Anti-bullying ambassadors program, and staffed with an adult to help guide reports and encourage students to be ‘upstanders.’
Along with the Wellbeing Zone we have also rolled out initiatives, which are embedded in the curriculum they offer:
Weekly Yoga sessions in KS4 PSHE to help students suffering with anxiety and aid relaxation.
Mindfulness & Movement as an option subject in the PE curriculum.
A 9 minute PSHE film resource about the harmful effects of energy drinks called ‘Energy Drinks: What’s the harm?’ Financed by Runnymede Borough and directed by past student Henry Lynch, made together with The Magna Carta students this has been an outstanding example of collaborative civic journalism.
We as a school are saying let’s talk. There are people available to listen, people trained to support you and your family through this.