At Murrayfield, we believe positive mental health and wellbeing is key to learning.
We know that everyone, both children and adults, can face pressures which affect their wellbeing and so we work hard to support staff and pupil mental health, raise awareness of mental health issues and overcome stigma in our local community.
We provide all our teachers and support staff with the training they need to understand, identify and respond to the emotional needs of our pupils. This includes laying the groundwork for managing anxiety in the classroom, a practice which came into its own when integrating pupils back to school after the long Covid lockdown.
We teach our children to be able to look after themselves physically and mentally in several different ways, such as the ‘five ways to wellbeing’, and by putting speaking and listening at the heart of our curriculum. Another way in which we are supporting our pupils’ health and wellbeing is by using our Skill Zone programme. We have developed it to allow the children to explore choices and consequences, emotional intelligence, managing authority, equality, bullying and making a positive contribution. It also gives them the language to express themselves and provides a safe space where they can talk about things they would not get a chance to at other times of the school day.
It goes without saying that every child is different, and has different ways of learning and expressing themselves, so the exact manner in which we help pupils varies depending on their age, needs and preferences. We have a learning support worker who gives extra support for pupils with additional emotional needs and we also use external specialist services to support our most vulnerable pupils and families with complex needs. One of these specialists is Teenage Mental Health which – despite the name – helps both primary and secondary school children and their families struggling with anxiety and disruptive behaviour.
There is no doubt the importance of mental health and wellbeing has been pushed into the spotlight by the coronavirus pandemic. However, even outside the current circumstances, we know it is essential to have a school that is healthy and balanced for children to grow into confident learners who are able to build positive relationships and cope with any worries which come their way.