Supporting Positive Mental Health: a whole-school approach

We all have times when we find it harder to cope with what life throws at us.

Sometimes there are clear reasons for this, but sometimes we just need to talk about how we are feeling and have someone to ground us and keep things in perspective.   This is equally true for children, young people and adults.

In 2017, the government set out a green paper outlining their ambition to ensure that children and young people who need help for their mental health are able to get it when they need it. We started our journey towards developing a whole-school approach to supporting emotional and mental health and wellbeing at the same time, and we now have a team of dedicated people in school who offer a broad range of focused social and emotional support to the children in our care.

Sally Veale is our Designated Senior Mental Health Lead, and oversees the SEMH (Social, Emotional and Mental Health) provision at school.

Sian Rourke is our ELSA - an Emotional Literacy Support Assistant - who delivers a range of interventions to individuals and groups, as well as liaising with parents, carers and other professionals.

Katy Ghorbanian and Amanda Thompson are our Pastoral Leads and part of our Safeguarding team.  They are a key part of our tiered approach to supporting positive mental health.  They work directly with children and families to manage all aspects of school and family life. 

Margaret Lisle and Donna Sherratt are our Special Educational Needs Co-ordinators.  They bring additional knowledge and expertise to the team across a range of issues.

We believe that it is important to recognise mental health in the same way we do physical health. We all have periods of good health and ill health, both physically and mentally, and when we feel unwell we may need to seek help in order to start feeling better. 

Our whole-school approach ensures that all staff put the children's mental health and emotional wellbeing at the heart of what we do. During Personal, Social, Health and Economic education (PSHE) lessons, staff at Ash Grove explicitly teach children how to talk about their emotions, to say how they are feeling and why, and to ask for help when they need it. They are encouraged to identify their protective factors - the people, places and activities that make them happy and give them a sense of purpose and belonging. These core principles are the foundations for good mental health, social effectiveness and emotional wellbeing.  You can read more about our PSHE curriculum by clicking here.

Together, we have built up a whole-school approach which has been recognised as exemplary best practice by a range of organisations across Cheshire East. Included in this work is our partnership with our NHS Mental Health Support Team. Working closely with the school's SEMH team, the MHST offer a range of interventions which complement those already in place.  They also offer workshops, programmes and coffee mornings for parents and carers.  If you would like to find out more about what the Mental Health Support Team can offer you or your family, please get in touch with one of the adults named above. 

Click here to see a full list of the SEMH interventions on offer at Ash Grove Academy.

Support for parents and carers around wellbeing and safeguarding can be found by clicking here.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions around social, emotional or mental health issues, for yourself or your family.