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‘Mental health is a state of wellbeing in which every individual realises his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.’ (World Health Organization)

At Reading School, we aim to promote positive mental health and wellbeing for our staff and student community. We pursue this aim using both universal, whole school approaches and specialised, targeted approaches aimed at vulnerable students. We recognise that student’s mental health is a crucial factor in their overall wellbeing and can affect their learning and achievement. The Department for Education (DFE) reinforces this with the statement: ‘in order to help their children succeed, schools have a role to play in supporting them to be resilient and mentally healthy.

Our aims are to:  

  • Promote positive mental health in all staff and students.  

  • Alert staff to early warning signs of mental ill health.  

  • Provide support to staff working with young people with mental health issues.  

  • Ensure that as part of their curriculum entitlement, we help students to learn about how they can stay mentally healthy.  

  • Teach students to identify the main risk factors that can adversely affect mental health.  

  • Help students understand how they can play a positive role in reducing the stigma surrounding mental health issues.  

  • Ensure that children and young people are able to manage times of change and stress in their lives.  

  • Make sure students know that there is someone or somewhere they can contact if they need help or support.  

  • Support the parents and carers of students suffering mental ill health.  

Structure and lead staff  

At Reading School we have a comprehensive pastoral structure based around the Tutor, Head of House and Head of Key Stage.  In addition to this we have an experienced and proactive team in the Student Support Department who work in tandem with the pastoral team. While all staff have a responsibility to promote the mental health of students, the work is led by:  

  • Mr D McGall, Assistant Head - Designated senior mental health lead.  

  • Ms S Drummond, SEND co-ordinator. 

  • Rev’d Chris Evans, Deputy Head - Designated child protection/safeguarding officer.  

  • School Counsellor.  

Teaching and learning about mental health  

Our PSHE curriculum contains opportunities that give factual information about mental wellbeing, and the signs of illness. We also help enable students to develop the skills, knowledge, understanding, language and confidence to seek help as needed for themselves or others. We follow the PSHE Association’s guidance in preparing our curriculum to ensure that we teach mental health and emotional wellbeing issues in a safe and sensitive manner.  

We are also developing a range of strategies and approaches which include:  

  • Student led activities, such as assemblies, peer mediation and mentoring.  

  • Whole school activities such as wellbeing week, displays and information around the school about positive mental health, staff mental health and wellbeing leaflets.