Children's Mental Health Week takes place from the 7th - 13th February 2022, with a theme this year of 'Growing Together'. The event encourages children and adults to consider how they have grown, and how they can encourage positive mental health and wellbeing in young people.
Jason Wanner (CPD Lead) and Nathan Rawlings (Assistant Headteacher) from Felixstowe School joined us to discuss how they will be using our expert-led CPD to enhance their mental health and wellbeing provision, and explained what they have planned for Children's Mental Health Week.
The importance of mental health and wellbeing
Nathan explained the importance of positive mental health and wellbeing at Felixstowe School: "In the current climate, we are seeing more anxiety-based barriers to learning, whether that is attendance issues, exam anxiety or an increased use of social media."
"We have a really extensive CPD programme which covers lots of different areas of pedagogy and pastoral as well." Jason added.
The National College mental health and wellbeing offer comprises expert-led webinars and courses to help schools fulfil safeguarding duties and address mental health issues.
For the whole school workforce at Felixstowe School, this has been a huge advantage.
Jason said: "The School Membership with The National College has had a brilliant uptake, with over 1,000 hours completed by our staff."
"The most watched areas have been around mental health and anxiety, surrounding pupil's mental wellbeing. It's excellent to see."
"Particularly in the pandemic, which brought the importance of mental health to the forefront. It's always been important, but more so now than ever," he continued.
"The fact that so many staff members are doing mental health related CPD from The National College is fantastic." he stated.
"The CPD from The National College really compliments our internal CPD too."
Jason declared: "It’s re-iterating our messaging and strategy, which is very consistent throughout the school."
Children’s Mental Health Week 2022
Children’s Mental Health Week is an annual event which takes place this year from 7th to 13th February 2022.
The ‘Growing Together’ theme encourages children (and adults) “to consider how they have grown, and how they can help others to grow”. It’s about reflecting on how challenges can help us grow emotionally as we adapt and try new ways of overcoming them, and how we can all support each another in the process.
Felixstowe School has a range of plans for the annual event, which Jason Wanner (CPD Lead) and Nathan Rawlings (Assistant Headteacher) explained in detail.
Nathan commented: "For our RSHE curriculum, we have enrichment days, six over the course of the year. We have three themes: mental health and wellbeing, sex and relationships and living in the wider world."
He continued: "Our next enrichment day falls on 9th February, which is during Children's Mental Health Week 2022. We have framed a lot of sessions for that day around mental health and wellbeing."
"For Year 9, we have a sequence of carousel sessions, focusing on maintaining good mental health, sexual health and eating well, which all feeds into forming good habits and improving mental wellbeing." he added.
Nathan said: "In our other year groups, we have posed questions to pique interest from the children. For example, in Year 7, they are considering 'Can I be happy all the time?'."
"For Year 12 and 13, we have an external company coming in to train our sixth formers to become mental first aiders."
"We have started to see a lot of anxiety surrounding exams after the pandemic, particularly for our year 12 and 13 students, which is why we have invested in Children's Mental Health Week." he added.
"We are running a whole week of sessions which are underpinned by developing strong mental health and wellbeing."
Jason said: "In terms of The National College, we will be promoting mental health related CPD through staff briefings and emails."
"We will be sending out and recommending some mental health CPD for staff to watch too, such as ‘An Expert Insight into the 8 Principles of a Whole-School Approach to Mental Health and Wellbeing’, ‘Adolescent Mental Health: Refining Provision in Line with The EIF’s Evidence Review’ and ‘How to Review and Enhance Your Pupils’ Mental Health and Wellbeing Policy’.” he explained.
He added: "That's just three of the webinars we are going to be recommending to staff from The National College."
"We want to heighten awareness of the importance of mental health and wellbeing throughout the week, and the mental health CPD from The National College will really complement the enrichment days we are running too." he revealed.
Staff feedback on our Mental Health related CPD
Jason commented that all staff have been overwhelmingly positive in their response to The National College’s School Membership.
"The staff have really engaged with the CPD from The National College, which is shown by the sheer amount of hours which have been completed." he said.
"They really like that it's an app, which can be accessed at any time, from anywhere." he continued.
He added: "A lot of our support staff have really engaged with The National College too, it's given them a way of accessing CPD which they wouldn't usually get, as most is usually quite teacher-centric."
"We've had fantastic feedback, which is why we renewed our contract this year for The National College too." Jason revealed.
"It's the fact that the CPD is so broad, diverse and accessible to anyone."