Mental Health & Wellbeing
At Acle Academy, we strive to ensure all students are supported so that they are able to achieve their full potential. We support the wellbeing of our students both through our curriculum and in our response to concerns.
Our Engage Team is alert to issues of wellbeing and, where possible, works to prevent or pre-empt problems. They know the children in their care very well and are well supported by the Senior Leadership team and Form Tutors, who see the students every day. They are quick to intervene as problems might arise. Our whole school child lead approach is also hugely supportive of students’ wellbeing. We try to make our school as a whole and each individual classroom a safe space where students feel supported and understood. We teach in a student-centred way, allowing space for choice and exploration where possible.
At our disposal, we have a highly experienced and effective pastoral team, with a broad range of specialist knowledge and understanding.
This student-centred team includes:
Mr N Bliss - Assistant Principal for Behaviour and Senior Designated Safeguarding Lead
Mrs C Skarin - Assistant principal for Personal Development and Welfare
Miss S Kinnarney - Head of Year 7
Miss S Nichols - Head of Year 8
Miss K Jarvis - Head of Year 9
Miss C Perkins - Head of Year 10
Miss I John - Head of Year 11
Mrs J Bryant - Attendance Manager
Mrs L Frary - SEND Co-ordinator
Ms J Swain - Assistant SENDCO
Mrs K Thompson - Wellbeing and Medical Needs assistant
Our Character and Culture curriculum has a clear focus on wellbeing issues. In Year 7, students are supported in transition by beginning with the unit ‘Managing Change’ learning how to adapt to change, manage worries and adopt a positive mind-set. In Year 8, students cover an Emotional Wellbeing Unit understanding the difference between every day and overwhelming feelings, the importance of reaching out to our support network, managing anxious feelings and using mindfulness techniques to overcome the stress response. They also cover a unit on Health where they understand the impact of healthy and unhealthy eating behaviours and the importance of sleep for wellbeing. In Year 9, students cover an Emotional Wellbeing unit where they understand the essential life skills, the importance of positive self-talk and language in framing our emotional health and analysing the impact of social media on positive wellbeing. In Y10 and Y11, students will spend a day off-timetable focusing on emotional wellbeing and covering topics such as healthy coping strategies, emotional literacy, how to develop resilience, the science of anxiety and how to overcome it, how to manage stress and the importance of self-regulation regarding drugs and alcohol. There is a strong focus on encouraging our students to talk with a trusted adult about how they feel, no matter how small it may seem to them, and on understanding that even small changes can make a big difference to our emotional wellbeing.
It is important that children and young adults are encouraged and supported to look after their mental health. We've shared some resources, links and guidance below from a range of mental health organisations offering advice on how you can help your child do this.
Tips from the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust
Humans tend to like routine. Our bodies appreciate it, and our minds can be calmed by the predictability of it. It is important, though, to create a new routine that includes the important daily activities, such as those below. Make one together that works for you.
Being at home more might mean easier access to treats. These can make your mood and energy levels fluctuate. Try to keep a mealtime routine and choose foods that will nourish the mind and body. Visit the NHS website for tips and ideas.
Quality sleep promotes good emotional wellbeing and has a number of physical benefits for your body. Try to keep a good bedtime routine throughout the week. Young minds have put together some tips and advice.
Meaningful activity is important for mental health. This means doing things that you enjoy and get a sense of achievement out of. This can be anything from creating your own board game to having a home disco or getting creative with arts and crafts. Schedule in some daily physical activity- lots of families have been taking part in the Joe Wicks videos.
Learning is good for confidence and can reduce boredom. Plan learning into every day. You could develop your own virtual learning community with school friends and help each other with work.
Keep in touch with friends and family
Social distancing is very important at the moment but we understand that it can have a negative impact. Video calls, emails and social media are examples of how to stay in touch with friends and family safely. Click here to learn how to stay safe online.
Stay informed, not overwhelmed
The media is focusing on health updates at the moment. Whilst it is important to keep updated, it can be worrying to hear so much about it. If you’re feeling overwhelmed it is a good idea to restrict your use of social media and the news.
Resources to Support Mental Health and Wellbeing
One of the most useful websites currently for online advice and support on a range of issues is http://www.justnorfolk.nhs.uk/ The website has links to Covid-19 resources for families as well as parents helpline for advice on a range of issues.
• We would also advocate youngminds.org.uk which provides both parents and young adults with tips, advice and guidance on where you can get support for your mental health during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
• The Anna Freud National Centre, https://www.annafreud.org/ is an excellent site, which has wellbeing advice for parents and carers, support with how to handle conflicts and disagreements within the home. They also offer direct support, through the AFC Crisis Messenger which is text service that is a free and confidential, it is available 24/7 for anyone who is feeling overwhelmed or is struggling to cope.
• Finally, we would like to remind you and our students of Kooth. A service commissioned by the Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust. It is a free online counselling and emotional well-being service for young people who either live or attend school in the county. It is available for all young people in Norfolk aged 11-25. It provides a safe, secure means of accessing help via the internet from a professional team of counsellors.
Kooth is a digital mental health support service for young people aged 11 to 25 where they can access online support from a team of experienced counsellors. Access is free and there are a range of tools, such as activities and moderated chat forums that can be used to enhance young people’s mental health and wellbeing.
Headspace is website of free info on different ways to meditate. They have a free trial of their app which guides you through different techniques like the one below.
Self Isolating and Dealing with Conflict
With the current COVID-19 outbreak and government recommendations to limit social contact, people will be spending more time at home than they are used to.
This may mean spending more time with your family and could create difficult situations, especially for those coping with pre-existing family problems. The Children's Society has produced top tips to help parents and carers dealing with conflict at home.