A problem shared is a problem halved
At Cirencester Deer Park School we aim to promote positive mental health and wellbeing for all members of our school community. In the current circumstances we believe this is even more important. We recognise that pupils' mental health needs may require different support systems at different points throughout their time at Deer Park and not just linked to Covid-19. We ensure we work alongside pupils, their families and outside agencies to provide targeted approaches that respond to mental health concerns when they are identified.
Deer Park is a safe environment where pupils feel able to share their concerns with staff. Each pupil has a dedicated tutor who they meet every day. We have ensured we have kept tutor time with the changes to the school day for this year, as this daily check in with a key member of staff is crucial for many pupils. We provide high quality pastoral support through an identified year leader who can support individuals as they face any challenges. We are also fortunate to have an Inclusion Centre where identified pupils may spend some time to follow personalised learning or reintegration programmes linked to their medical or social and emotional issues.
Aspects of positive mental health are covered in tutor times, assemblies and lesson time. In PSHE classes all pupils follow our ‘Lifestyle for Learning’ programme. This covers a variety of topics, including how young people's brains work, dealing with stress, healthy living, personal finance, drugs and alcohol, and sex and relationship education including sexual consent and FGM. The lessons are engaging and provide pupils with key information to make informed decisions in life. The curriculum is well resourced with some materials coming from the Gloucestershire Healthy Living and Lifestyles team, the PSHEe Association and Stonewall.
We also have two part-time school dogs, the young Wilbur and his mentor Denzil, who work with members of our Pastoral team to provide support to pupils when required, for example a pupil may just need a a quiet moment with a canine friend at a point in their day. In more normal times the dogs would also be spending time listening to pupils read in the library and accompanying pupils to lessons. Obviously not everyone is a dog-person but these two are very popular members of our school community. Denzil is the most laidback and chilled canine and Wilbur is a teenager in training, learning to readjust to life in school after 6 months at home.
2020 is an unprecedented year. These are difficult and uncertain times for pupils, parents and carers but we are here to help if pupils are struggling with their wellbeing and adjusting to being back in school. however we can. The first port of call for pupils in school should be their tutor or year leader.
There are some really good resources and useful links online:
Young Minds: Looking after yourself
Whether it’s spending time on social media or being with friends and family – there are things we do every day that impact our mental health. Read tips and advice on how you can look after yourself.
NHS: 5 Steps to Mental Wellbeing
1. Connect with other people
2. Be physically active
3. Learn new skills
4. Give to others
5. Pay attention to the present moment (mindfulness)
- Young Minds
- Every Mind Matters
- Childline - What Happens When You Contact Childline?
- On Your Mind Glos
- Action for Happiness
- ChatHealth 11-19 year olds can get advice and support from a school nurse by text message
- Family Information Service - Gloucestershire parenting support
- TIC+ Teens in Crisis
- TIC+ Chat
- Kooth online support and counselling for ages 11-18
- CAMHS helpline for parents concerned about their child’s mental health: 01452 894300