A school in Cornwall is the first in the country to secure a gold award in a new programme that aims to put children’s emotional wellbeing at the centre of their education.
Pupils and staff at Trewirgie Junior School in Redruth dazzled the coaches running the programme, which was set up by the Teaching Times publication and assistive technology company Microlink.
In fact, they were so impressive they managed to bag the Raising Attainment with Wellbeing Programme gold award in just four months when it should usually take 12.
The idea is that looking after young people’s mental health puts them in a better position to learn and fulfil their potential.
The approach is especially important given the impact and disruption that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on children’s mental health and education.
Headteacher Jane Sargent said: “We were incredibly proud to receive the award from Microlink and Teaching Times and be recognised for the work that we are doing.
“Life has been particularly hard for our pupils and their families first with the pandemic and now the cost-of-living crisis. This is why we have invested heavily in being able to provide a range of support for them - something that we are expanding even more next year.
“For children to be able to learn, they need to be in the right frame of mind and by putting wellbeing at the heart of everything we do this ensures that our children feel safe and happy when they are in school.”
The school’s Senior Mental Health Lead, Dan Wills, added: “External services supporting children in Cornwall have become increasingly difficult to access. Waiting lists are getting longer, finances are being cut and because of this the thresholds for intervention have reached highs we have not experienced before.
“As a result it was decided to invest in children’s wellbeing and mental health this year, building a platform for development using the Raising Attainment with Wellbeing programme.”
As part of its mission to put mental health first, Trewirgie has a dedicated wellbeing team that supports all of its children.
Every year group also has ‘emotionally available adults’ and pastoral champions to give them emotional support in the classroom and the school has a trained counsellor who can provide support for children with more specific needs.
On top of this, the children themselves can also become ‘happiness champions’ to help their fellow pupils with wellbeing hints and tips, such as the importance of getting a good night’s sleep.
Looking to the future, Mrs Sargent added: “We will continue to develop our wellbeing provision and in the next academic year look to provide support for our parents and wider community in our new Hill Hub.
“We are also willing to share our journey and practice with other schools while promoting the Raising Attainment with Wellbeing Programme and the training they can offer to help with developing a wellbeing provision.”
Cllr Barbara Ellenbroek, cabinet member for children and families at Cornwall Council, said: “What the staff and pupils have achieved at Trewirgie Junior School is incredibly impressive and I congratulate them on securing this well-deserved award.
“It goes without saying that an anxious, frightened or angry child will always find learning incredibly difficult so putting their emotional wellbeing front and centre of their education journey is crucial. It’s fantastic to see our schools here in Cornwall leading by example on this.”
For more information on Trewirgie Junior School’s approach to education visit their website at www.trewirgie-jnr.cornwall.sch.uk
Press release issued on August 1, 2023.