Scarborough special school wins wellbeing award

Woodlands Academy in Scarborough has won an award for wellbeing in schools.

By Louise Hollingsworth
Wednesday, 16th March 2022, 5:05 pm
Updated Wednesday, 16th March 2022, 5:06 pm
Staff and students at Woodlands Academy with their award.
Staff and students at Woodlands Academy with their award.

Last year, the school was chosen to work towards the Wellbeing Award for Schools as a way of responding to the stresses caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The award focuses on ensuring effective practice and provision is in place within the school to promote the emotional wellbeing and mental health of both staff and pupils.

The school had to reach set targets which included; setting up a ‘change committee’; setting up a strategy around wellbeing; having a positive culture around mental health; promoting staff wellbeing; having professional trainers within the school to help with professional development; understanding different types of emotional and mental health needs; having a questionnaire for staff, students and parents to fill in to let the school know what could be improved and having agencies and special services involved in the school.

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One of the special services was the Wellbeing in Mind school support service.

The Wellbeing in Mind support service is a team of NHS staff from the Tees, Esk and Wear Valley NHS Foundation Trust, who work in schools and colleges. They offer support to students experiencing difficulties with their emotional and mental wellbeing, including low mood and anxiety.

In addition, the school has also created wellbeing champions, including four among the staff and more amongst the students.

Deputy Headteacher Amanda Cayton said: “We are thrilled that Woodlands Academy has achieved the Wellbeing Award for Schools. This is a fantastic outcome for the school as it recognises the hard work that has gone into this process. The award focuses on ensuring effective practice and provision is in place that promotes the emotional wellbeing and mental health of both students, staff and parents.

“It was about changing the long term culture of the school and embedding an ethos where mental health is regarded as the responsibility of all.

“We are always keen to challenge, and with the setting up of a ‘Change Committee’ which comprises parents, governors, staff, students and the Wellbeing In Mind team, we were able to reflect on our current practice and improve it. We also wanted to embed an open culture where mental health is discussed without stigma and prejudice.

“Our partnership work with the Wellbeing In Mind team has been extremely beneficial including sessions with students about low mood, anxiety and training for staff to target their own wellbeing and mental health. We see the Wellbeing In Mind team as an integral part of the school who we can always get support and advice from.

“Although we are now successfully verified we know that our work on improving positive mental health and wellbeing doesn't stop here. We will continue to work with our whole school community on how to best support students, staff and parents."