Schools in Kent are now able to apply for a Kent School Award for Resilience and Emotional Wellbeing, which recognises and celebrates everything they do to support young people’s emotional wellbeing through the whole school approach.
The first two schools to succeed in their application are Homewood School in Tenterden and Westlands School in Sittingbourne.
The Quality Mark has been led by Kent County Council through HeadStart Kent funded by The National Lottery Community Fund.
Achieving the Award is a way of endorsing the standard of work that has been carried out in schools to meet the guidance provided by ‘Promoting children and young people’s emotional health and wellbeing – whole school and college approach’ by Public Health England.
By using a self-directed toolkit and online resources schools have assessed their approach to emotional wellbeing and resilience, and have identified and actioned change with students, staff and parents They then measure the difference that has been made as a result of their whole school activity.
The toolkit is freely available to schools and settings and has a growing web resource, the Kent Resilience Hub, which will continue to host tools, resources and best practice for Kent, including targeted resources for individual work with students.
School staff, through the HeadStart Kent programme, have attended training including resilience, youth mental health and implemented mindfulness in the classrooms. Students have been supported to access peer mentors, safe spaces, online support and counselling and adult mentors. Young people have been undertaking community projects and accessing resources so they can pursue their talents and interest in the local community.
The first Award was presented at Homewood School’s end of year awards, on Friday, July 19, by Roger Gough, Kent County Council’s Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Education.
Mr Gough said: “I am delighted to be able to present the Kent School Award for Resilience and Emotional Wellbeing to Homewood School. It is excellent that Kent schools support the resilience and emotional wellbeing of their pupils and that we now have a quality mark that recognises this progress. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate everyone from HeadStart and Homewood who has helped make this happen.”
Wendy Brown, Wellbeing Coordinator at Homewood School, said: “I am really proud that we have been recognised with this award. I’m especially proud of our students and their unfaltering enthusiasm for all wellbeing projects we or they lead on.
“Embedding a whole school approach to resilience and wellbeing has been a team effort and I’d like to thank my colleagues for their ongoing support and commitment to this. Staff and students have been positive throughout our journey and have embraced all opportunities to improve the wellbeing of our community. Thank you for this recognition and all the support provided through HeadStart.”
On the same day, Mike Whiting, a KCC Cabinet Member, representing Swale West, and chairman of the Swale Youth Advisory Group, presented the award at Westlands School.
Mr Whiting said: “It gives me great pleasure to present the Kent School Award for Resilience and Emotional Wellbeing to Westlands School. The fantastic work staff do, in partnership with HeadStart Kent, to support pupils’ emotional health and wellbeing, and build up their mental resilience, gives them the best possible start in life and prepares them for their journey into adulthood and the world of work or further or higher education. Well done to everyone involved.”
In Kent so far:
- 2,509 school staff have received training in resilience, mindfulness or young people’s mental health first aid
- 5,881 young people have taken up additional support
- 10,000 young people in Kent completed the annual Wellbeing Measurement Framework survey
Notes to journalists:
- Kent County Council was awarded £10 million to support young people’s emotional wellbeing and resilience over five years. The funding is from The National Lottery Community Fund, which is the largest funder of community activity in the UK
- HeadStart Kent is part of Children, Young People and Education Services and aims to help young people cope better when faced with difficult circumstances in their lives, preventing them from experiencing common mental health problems
- HeadStart Kent aims to make changes through schools, families and within communities and has been designed with young people at its heart to make young people’s mental wellbeing everybody’s business
- The HeadStart Kent Mission Statement was developed by young people and their families and is as follows: “By 2020 Kent young people and their families will have improved resilience, by developing their knowledge and lifelong skills to maximise their own and their peers’ emotional health and wellbeing; so to navigate their way to support when needed in ways which work for them.”
- Children and young people living in Kent, together with their parents, have told HeadStart Kent what support they need to build their resilience:
- My Wellbeing is not impacted by the pressure to achieve and be perfect
- There is always someone for me to talk to
- People around me understand wellbeing and how to promote it
The programme is on track to deliver the programme to the planned number of 133 schools over the five years
- The National Lottery Community Fund is the largest funder of community activity in the UK. It puts people in the lead to improve their lives and communities, often through small, local projects
- It is responsible for giving out 40% of the money raised by National Lottery players for good causes. Last year it awarded £583 million and supported around 12,000 projects across the UK for health, education, environment and charitable purposes
Since June 2004 it has awarded over £8 billion to projects that change the lives of millions of people