Wellbeing and Mental Health
Emotional wellbeing, mental health, whatever you call it we all have it in varying degrees. Raising children in the modern world is not always easy and whilst life is accompanied with its share of emotional challenges there are times when you, your child or your family would benefit from some support.
At BFS we believe that the emotional wellbeing of our pupils is an integral factor in their future success. We want your child to be able to cope with setbacks and to be resilient to failure, challenge and hardship in all aspects of their lives.
What we do
At BFS we take the wellbeing of our pupils seriously. We carry out a biannual survey that assesses the wellbeing needs of our pupils. It identifies areas where pupils would benefit from more support at the whole school, tutor group or individual level. Pupils have choice in terms of anonymity and we are clear with pupils that when they leave their name then they may be contacted by a member of the pastoral team at BFS.
Our most recent survey suggests that pupils feel BFS is a friendly environment. Questions on bullying, friendship groups, friendliness and caring about others all scored well. Questions that scored less well included:
- how easily students can talk about their feelings: “not easy but I can”
- the amount of sleep they are getting: “I usually get enough”
- how motivated they are to learn: “motivated most of the time”
Year Leaders are looking at anonymised responses within their year groups to ensure that their tutorial programmes are tailored to their year groups’ needs.
Elsewhere, our dedicated band of wellbeing ambassadors continue to support staff and their peers in improving the emotional health of BFS.
Targeted Wellbeing support
Research suggests that the number of young people being diagnosed with mental health problems is on the increase. It is thought that there are a number of reasons for this including increased stress in the modern world, unhealthy lifestyles and an increase in social media use.
At Bristol Free School we recognise that sometimes students need additional support with supporting mental health and wellbeing and so provide a number of interventions to address this. These are short term and designed to provide students with skills to cope in place of removing causes of any emotional distress. These interventions may be delivered 1:1 or as part of a small group and focus on areas such as anxiety, self-harm and social skills. Please speak to your child’s year leader if your child may benefit from this sort of intervention and a referral will be put into the Lead Learning Mentor. They will then contact you if there is availability and if they feel that intervention is what is needed.
5 ways to Wellbeing
Evidence suggests that a small improvement in wellbeing can help to decrease some mental health problems and also help people to flourish. A document, produced by the New Economics Foundation (NEF) used by the government (found here), sets out 5 actions to improve personal wellbeing:
- be active
- take notice
- keep learning
For children, it is thought that a sixth way (play) helps to improve and maintain wellbeing.
Here at Bristol Free School we keep these actions as a focus in our wellbeing promotion with a number of Wellbeing Ambassadors taking a lead on each. We suggest that you mirror this focus at home and ensure that your child is connecting with people, staying active, practicing mindfulness, learning new things, giving to others and spending time engaged in creative play.