Third school receives Kent School Award for Resilience and Emotional Wellbeing

A third school has been recognised with a Kent School Award for Resilience and Emotional Wellbeing in celebration of the support it offers its young people.

St John’s Catholic Comprehensive School in Gravesend was successful in its application and received the Award from Kent County Council’s Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Education, Roger Gough.

Schools have been able to apply for the award, which celebrates everything they do to support young people’s emotional wellbeing through a whole school approach, since the beginning of the year. The Quality Mark has been led by KCC through HeadStart Kent and funded by The National Lottery Community Fund.

Roger Gough presents the Award to head teacher Matt Barron, senior assistant head Odette Kelham and pupils at St John’s

St John’s joins Homewood School in Tenterden and Westlands School in Sittingbourne, which both received their awards in July.

Head teacher of St John’s, Matt Barron, said: “It goes without saying that we are both delighted and honoured to have received the Kent School Award for Resilience and Emotional Wellbeing in recognition of the extensive work we undertake at St John’s, in conjunction with Headstart, to develop and nurture positive mental health and wellbeing amongst all of our stakeholders.

“Being one of the first schools across Kent to receive this prestigious award makes this achievement even more special. Congratulations to all of our staff and students, in particular Mrs Odette Kelham who leads our welfare team, for their continued efforts in promoting the benefits of positive mental health across our school community and for providing such wonderful care and support on a daily basis.”

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.

From left, head teacher Matt Barron, KCC’s Roger Gough, senior assistant head Odette Kelham

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.

Mr Gough, who presented the Award on Tuesday, October 8, said: “I’m very pleased to be able to present the Kent School Award for Resilience and Emotional Wellbeing to St John’s Catholic Comprehensive School. It is very important that everyone in a school community feels they have a voice and knows where to go to get support should they ever need it. HeadStart and St John’s have been working together for a number of years now and have developed a range of measures that support both student and staff wellbeing. There are also ample opportunities for every member of the school community to give feedback and become involved in shaping the support they are then able to receive.

“I would like to congratulate everyone who has worked towards achieving this award and I hope the students and staff will continue to offer one another the same fantastic support moving forward.”

St John’s Catholic Comprehensive School has been part of the HeadStart Kent programme since inception and has embraced and committed its school and community in training including resilience, youth mental health and implemented mindfulness. 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. There is also a focus on staff wellbeing, and teachers and support staff can take part in sessions to enhance their own mental wellbeing.


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:

Further details about HeadStart Kent can be found at or alternatively, email


About HeadStart

  • 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

Third school receives Kent School Award for Resilience and Emotional Wellbeing was last modified: October 17th, 2019 by Suz Elvey