Hi, my name is Isobelle Smith and I’m the head of wellbeing here at Acle.
I have a wonderful team of prefects working with me including: Mary Catchpole (my deputy), Lily Dack, Olivia Rowsell, Violet Robinson, and Lauren Monument. Our staff link is Mrs Thompson, and together we are dedicated to improving the mental wellbeing of the school. Wellbeing is especially important and relevant this year, and we hope that as a service area we can make a real long-term difference.
My approach to wellbeing and mental wellness is based on a culture of inclusivity across staff and students. Mental health issues affect us all and the stigma around it can prevent those affected most from seeking the help and support that they need. However, by creating a shared culture between students and staff that recognises this fact of stigma, we can remove artificial barriers between staff and students. By providing support and information across these two groups we can encourage openness and a common narrative that may encourage openness and a platform to share views for the benefit of everyone. We want to aim support at the school as a collective to ensure that everyone at Acle Academy feels happy.
We recognise that as a result of Covid, the mental health of students has proved to be an unprecedented concern. In response to this, we are planning to make it not so much about awareness, but more about action. We are implementing carefully thought out schemes aimed directly at people whose mental wellbeing impacts negatively on their schoolwork, especially when it comes to anxiety which is unfortunately on the rise.
For example, we are working on creating a ‘wellbeing mobile’ that can be used as a safe worry-free space to calm down especially for those who, at this time, do not feel comfortable going to engage or seeking help. We also want to conquer exam stress and highlight the benefits of mindfulness. We want to ensure that everyone, no matter how shy, feels comfortable sharing their ideas with us and to help encourage this we are going to be doing more frequent surveys not only to get people’s thoughts but also to gauge how students are feeling and what is and isn’t working for them.
We additionally want to encourage recognition of the staff at Acle, perhaps by having a ‘staff star’ award for students to vote on. We hope that this will raise the gratitude and make teachers feel appreciated and like they matter to us. This can create a more positive and close relationship between students and teachers, which encourages wellbeing to be spoken about more often.
If you have any questions, ideas or concerns, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or my lovely deputy, Mary at email@example.com and we’ll be happy to help in any way we can.