Social and Emotional Well-being
At Cranfield Church of England Academy, we commit to promoting social and emotional well-being and responding to mental health problems.
What is social and emotional wellbeing?
The National Children’s Bureau says:
“social and emotional wellbeing refers to a state of positive mental health and wellness. It involves a sense of optimism, confidence, happiness, clarity, vitality, self-worth, achievement, having a meaning and purpose, engagement, having supportive and satisfying relationships with others and understanding oneself and responding effectively to one’s own emotions.”
What are mental health problems?
The National Children’s Bureau says:
"mental health problems refers to a wide range of mental health, emotional and social challenges, difficulties and conditions that can beset both staff and pupils, including stress and burnout, anxiety, depression, attachment difficulties and behavioural problems.”
Why should we focus on this now?
The Department for Education and the Department for Health are committed to improving the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people. The DfE published a document Mental health and behaviour in schools (March 2016) which outlines some shocking statistics:
- One in ten children aged 5-16 has a clinically diagnosed mental health disorder
- One in seven has a less severe problem.
The Department for Health document “Future in Mind” expects schools to be active partners in developing emotional resilience and wellbeing to try to address, in particular, the less severe problems at an early stage.
“ in order to help their pupils succeed, schools have a role to play in supporting them to be resilient and mentally healthy.”
Evidence (from Public Health England and the DfE) suggests that the impact of supporting emotional wellbeing is significant:
- Pupils who are confident about learning and have a “growth mindset” persist when faced with challenges.
- Pupils who can set goals, manage stress and organise their school work achieve higher grades.
- Pupils who use problem solving skills to overcome obstacles do better academically.
- Pupils with better emotional wellbeing make more progress in primary school.
- Pupils with higher levels of emotional, behavioural, social and school wellbeing, on average, have higher levels of academic achievement and are more engaged in school life.
At Cranfield Academy, we aim to create resilient children who have a sense of optimism, confident, happiness, clarity, vitality, resilience and self-worth.
We encourage engagement in the world around them and encourage all members of the school community to have supportive and satisfying relationships with each other. We ensure children have a sense of self, and support them to be able to respond effectively to emotions in themselves and others.
Creating an environment which supports positive mental health and wellness requires lots of ingredients. For us, these include:
Inclusive and welcoming environments
A warm, welcoming and calming environment awaits all visitors to our school. Our clean and friendly grounds, welcoming Office Team, committed staff and inspiring children, ensure all visitors leave feeling a positive sense of self. Visitors to our school comment that they are made to feel welcome in all areas, by all in the school community – one visitor said, “A visit to your school is like a receiving a warm hug.”
Our Senior Leadership Team consider it a priority to have excellent and knowledgeable relationships with families. Parents have daily access to Senior Leaders and opportunities to discuss concerns, share celebrations and talk. Whilst parents know our doors are always open we ensure their open invitations to inclusion drop-in sessions, regular Parent Workshops and Headteacher Tea Parties.
We further commit to promoting wellbeing to our families through active sign-posting to community resources to support family life and mental health – both by approaching parents directly, through our newsletters and through our social media. To benefit our community, we pro-actively seek the improvement of such provisions e.g. providing facilities for CHUMs Family Wellbeing services to effectively deliver parent workshops and support.
Our Christian Values based Education strives to create a strong learning environment that enhances academic attainment, and develops children’s social and relationship skills that last throughout their lives. The positive learning environment is achieved through the positive values modelled by staff throughout the school. It also provides social capacity to the children, equipping them
with social and relationship skills, intelligences and attitudes to succeed at school and throughout their lives. Values are an integral part of our school…as one child said “Values are our DNA”.
We work closely with Making me a Bedford based charity working in schools in the Bedfordshire area with a focus on the prevention/early intervention of children and young people's mental ill health. Making Me offer workshops to pupils around emotional well-being and resilience and equip teachers with tools to promote emotional literacy and wellness.
The Making Me Strategies we adopt are focused on two main objectives:
- Firstly, that in order to feel emotionally secure, and thereby engage in academic learning, children need to feel 'seen, heard and held'.
- Secondly, in a world where mental health difficulties are becoming increasing prevalent and affecting children of ever younger ages, we believe that teaching children how to stay mentally and emotionally well, equips them with life-long skills that will help to safeguard them from mental health difficulties in the future.
Making Me’s Emotional Literacy Programme for children in Reception to Year Four develops children's emotional literacy, teaches resilience skills and encourages children to use their words rather than their behaviour to communicate how they feel.
The Emotional Literacy Programme includes the following aspects - the Feelings Flower, Caterpillar Club, the Shield of Resilience Workshop and Talk Time.
The Feelings Flower:
The Feelings Flower forms the basis of the Making Me Emotional Literacy Programme and acts as a barometer by which staff can assess the emotional well-being of each child on arrival at school. Each day, children will place ‘their caterpillar’ on the feeling they have at this time. Whatever this emotion, children will be empowered to be ‘seen’ and ‘heard’, and where needed, ‘held’.
“The flowers mean I can tell the teacher how I feel, without speaking.”
“I put my caterpillar on the feelings flower during the day and my teacher asked me to talk and it helped me.”
Caterpillar Club involves a weekly story in which any one of 18 feelings are discussed and analysed by way of a simple story about a caterpillar. The story includes aspects around how each feeling is experienced, how best they can be managed and how to practice being calm. By relating the accompanying caterpillar to feelings of well-being and communication, feedback has indicated that Caterpillar Club is a tool that can be used throughout school to help children manage difficult feelings and behaviours. In our school, each class has its own Casey Caterpillar which can be held by children when they want to feel calm. We will use it to help us breathe slowly and feel safe.
Shield of Resilience:
The final element to the Emotional Literacy Programme we will be adopting involves the Shield of Resilience workshop. This is a one-off workshop delivered by Making Me staff in which each child builds up a shield outlining who they are and what they can say or do to help build their resilience. This workshop is designed to be loud and fun so that children see resilience as a positive asset supportive of children’s lives in modern Britain.
Casey Calm Time Boxes:
Every classroom has access to a Casey calm time box. This provides children with sensory toys, activities and materials which children can use to support themselves to self regulate when they are struggling to manage their emotions and feelings.
Casey Calm time -Supporting Playtimes:
Staff use the Casey calm time script to help children regulate outside during playtimes and encourage the children to sit on the Casey bench and hold Casey to support them in managing their emotions.
Rigorous Intervention for SEMH:
At Cranfield Academy we work tirelessly to ensure we make reasonable adjustments, where necessary, in the classroom in order for children to reach their full potential. Should children require further support for their emotional wellbeing and mental health there are a number of interventions we use. You can see these below. We also work closely in collaboration with external agencies to ensure the best possible provision for the child.
Through the lens of our Christian Vision, we design our curriculum to focus on children’s development spiritually, morally, socially, culturally, academically and physically, providing the very best introduction to the essential knowledge they need to be educated, well-rounded individuals in a modern world.
“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old
he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6
We are passionate that our school’s Curriculum intent significantly supports the delivery of our Christian Vision. Our Curriculum intent is therefore ‘to enable life in all its fullness by enjoying, achieving, learning and living God’s love’. This is at the heart of all we do. We pride ourselves on our ambition for every child to be an independent learner who thrives in our stimulating, supportive and safe Christian school. We believe that all children, whatever their abilities and capabilities have the right to receive a broad, balanced, relevant and stimulating education.
You can find out much more information about our curriculum by clicking here.
Whole School enrichment days further widen opportunities for awe and wonder. R.E. days challenge children’s spiritual development and reflection and Happy and Healthy Me Days allow children time to enjoy learning beyond the constraints of the normal curriculum, in addition to having ‘time to be’.
Another integral ingredient in ensuring positive mental health and wellness at Cranfield is our PSHE curriculum. At Cranfield Church of England Academy, we believe in offering a curriculum which is balanced. Part of this belief involves the promotion of our children’s personal, social, health and economic development, in addition to preparing them for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life. PSHE education develops the qualities and attributes pupils need to thrive as individuals, family members and members of society. PSHE also serves to make a significant contribution to pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development. The three core themes for PSHE at Cranfield Academy are Health and Wellbeing, Relationships and Living in the Wider World.
Commitment to Safeguarding
At Cranfield Church of England Academy we believe that a caring school promotes the welfare, health, safety and guidance of every child. We recognise our statutory duty and pastoral duty to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our pupils. Cranfield Academy is committed to ensuring every child feels safe and secure both within and beyond our school community. As part of this commitment we feel it is important to actively educate children about ways to stay safe under the wider umbrella of safeguarding demonstrated below.
To ensure pupil’s confidence to share their wellbeing experiences, we regularly promote and discuss Cranfield’s ‘Helping Hand’. Our pupils use this to seek support from their trusted adults and friends when they are concerned.
Please click here to see further information about how we teach safeguarding to our children.
We are proud of our Physical Education and emphasis on being active at Cranfield Academy and are inspired to achieve through the ‘Olympic Legacy Values’. It is our belief that sport and physical activity enables our children to build confidence and inspires all children to succeed and excel in physical activities as well as living a physically and mentally active and healthy lifestyle; evidence shows us that through being active, children’s brains will work better, children feel more connected to school, and children feel happier and attain higher levels. From our efforts both in and out of school we always aspire to do our very best.
Please see our staff wellbeing policy by clicking here.
Pupil Voice & Leadership:
At Cranfield Church of England Academy we ensure a rich wealth of opportunities for children to express themselves and impact positively on change.
Our active Academy Parliament, including members of parliament for worship, safeguarding and culture, strive to review our school’s strengths and next steps. Our Parliament shares their feelings on wellbeing of their friends and classes, and work with Senior Leaders to make our school a better place to be. In weekly ‘Hot Chocolate Fridays’, children are given the opportunity to discuss what they like about the school, how it could improve, who they appreciate and how safe they feel; they also like the hot chocolate!
Our older children embrace the opportunity to support the wellbeing of others in wider roles in school which include, Play Leaders, Sports Ambassadors, Values Ambassadors and Assembly Monitors
Engagement with the Wider Community:
Cranfield Church of England Academy is at the heart of the village in which it serves. Both school sites are seen by the community with favour and as a centre for wellbeing opportunities beyond the school day e.g. Pilates Classes, Zumba Classes, Tae-Kwan-Do Classes, Drama and Dance Classes etc.
Strong relationships with our village Churches ensure the spiritual wellbeing of our community. Our community actively volunteers to contribute to the life of the school and the positive impact on our children is similarly reciprocated to these valuable adults. Our children’s sense of their community is strengthened further in commitments to community life; our pupil’s
exceptional respect at Remembrance Parades or participation in the bi-annual Christmas Tree Festival are examples of this. We know that it takes village to raise a child!
Restorative Approach to Behaviour Management:
At Cranfield Church of England Academy we are proud of our approach to behaviour management. We are committed to creating a very positive and motivational learning atmosphere within the school. Our pupils right
to learn in a safe, orderly and calm environment ensures our children’s emotional wellbeing and, in turn, their capacity to learn well.
Our children appreciate rules that are linked to their rights and responsibilities. The school ‘Golden Rules’ are positively phrased, clear and visible across our school. They link clearly to our Values Education Programme. Our Golden Rules are intrinsic in our positive school vocabulary. Our Golden Rules are:
Useful Websites & Resources:
- Supporting Children's Mental Health Leaflet
- Understanding the Sexual Development of Children Under 5
- Understanding the Sexual Development of 5 to 11 Year Olds
- Central Bedfordshire Local Offer for Emotional Wellbeing - shown below: