More Schools and Colleges receive AcSEED Accreditation
Many congratulations to the following schools and colleges that have recently achieved AcSEED accreditation:
- Cedars Upper School in Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire
- Lordswood Girls' School in Harborne, Birmingham
- The Beacon PRU in Redditch, Worcestershire
AcSEED founder Charlotte Gatherer noted that all of these organisations had demonstrated a strong commitment towards the emotional wellbeing and mental health of their students, and have implemented a range of innovative and effective wellbeing provisions.
Head Teacher of The Beacon PRU, Mrs Lesley Hatton, receives The AcSEED Award on behalf of the school.
Wellbeing Support at Trinity School and College, Rochester, Kent
By: Mrs Elizabeth Baines, Executive Head Teacher
Trinity School and College has enjoyed a period of change and development in its provision of Emotional Wellbeing support for young learners. Most learners who attend Trinity have suffered significant difficulties with social and emotional challenges. This was recently recognised by the AcSEED award achieved in November 2015 to the delight of parents, students and staff.
Executive Head Teacher Elizabeth Baines (left)
receives the award from AcSEED principal assessor Helen Galsworthy.
So how did this change impact so positively on learners, parents and staff? Students are taught within a holistic approach and have access to personalised curriculum pathway which includes Personal and Social Development, Certificate of Personal Effectiveness and Key Skills for life within ASDAN. These programmes have been able to show clear progression with their emotional intelligence and resilience, which are being identified by examination boards, parents and most importantly the learners.
The school provides a team of professionals who have completed training in Mental Health, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Anger Management, Mentoring and Mindfulness and together with providing access to this CPD for those who work in the educational sector of the school and college. Excellence has been achieved with close working collaboration with agencies and organisations who support Emotional Wellbeing practices within the community both to enhance our knowledge and understanding as well as ensuring the commitment to a person centred approach.
Trinity encourages close working relationships with parents, and have engaged parents in the reviewing of policies around Mental Health, Emotional Wellbeing and Behaviour to name a few.
A key aspect of dealing with young people with mental health and emotional wellbeing challenges, is to create an atmosphere and environment where learners feel that they can be accepted, understood and supported. Trinity does this through its commitment to the holistic approach to the curriculum, the provision of boards which provide information about support for mental health and emotional issues and a supportive family feel to the educational facility. The development of the student voice beyond the traditional 'school council' has ensured that learner's feel valued and most importantly listened to within Trinity.
As a result of AcSEED and listening to the voice of learners, Trinity has now developed the creation of therapy garden with communication hotspots, quiet areas and wildlife section. Whilst achieving the AcSEED did not make us a better provision, it is valued as an award because it has enabled us to reflect on our practice, set clear targets for sustaining and improving our provision and has acknowledged our commitment to our vulnerable young people.
Engaging Governors in Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health
As part of its whole school approach, AcSEED promotes the need for school governors to be actively engaged with the wellbeing needs of both staff and students. They should play a key role in putting relevant and effective policies in place, and in supporting the leadership team to ensure that wellbeing is embedded into the ethos of the organisation.
The ‘Hampshire Governor’, a newsletter which informs and supports governors in the region, recently included a three-page report on ‘schools and mental health’. The report leads with an article on The AcSEED Initiative and an interview with AcSEED founder Charlotte Gatherer. It also includes a review of the wellbeing approach at Horndean Technology College which was the first organisation to achieve AcSEED accreditation, and a personal account from a current Hordean student which describes their wellbeing experience at college.
This edition of Hampshire Governor can be found at: http://swanmore-school.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/Hampshire-Governor-Final-Spring-2016.pdf.
Focus on AcSEED assessment criteria: ‘Working with Parents’
The AcSEED assessment criteria are partitioned into a number of different areas which reflects the need for a whole school approach to emotional wellbeing and mental health support. In this article we examine the criteria of ‘Working with Parents’ (“parent” used to signify both parents and carers).
One of the key aims of The AcSEED Award is to provide a simple indicator that enables parents to identify schools that have excellent mental health and wellbeing support. The AcSEED criteria also recognises that emotional wellbeing must be supported through both the home and school environment, and that a collaborative approach can be mutually beneficial. Schools can facilitate the dissemination of emotional wellbeing information and support advice, and can initiate targeted communication on specific wellbeing issues if/when appropriate (and whilst respecting a young person’s right to confidentiality). Parents can provide on-going support, and are well positioned to notice any changes in behaviour that could signify an emerging mental health issue.
Examples of the assessment criteria included within this AcSEED category include:
- The school informs parents of emotional wellbeing policies, procedures, and services.
- The school encourages and values parental involvement in all aspects of student wellbeing.
- The school offers opportunities for parents to learn about emotional wellbeing and strategies to effectively support their child.
The AcSEED Initiative, together with representatives from CAMHS and Solent MIND, recently attended an evening event for parents and pupils held by Crofton School in Hampshire. The event focussed specifically on anxiety. Presentations highlighted some of the physiological aspects of anxiety which helped to demystify many of the common symptoms, and provided a range of practical suggestions for coping strategies. The event was very well attended, and was an excellent example of a school providing the opportunity for parents and students to enhance their knowledge of this common concern.
New resource addresses the wellbeing impact of acne and other skin conditions
The Spring term newsletter included a blog highlighting the potentially far-reaching impact that acne and other skin conditions can have on a young person’s school life. Michael Willcocks, supported by The British Skin Foundation and the British Association of Dermatologists, has since initiated a project aimed at supporting young people affected by such conditions.
“It is important that teachers understand the specific challenges that students with skin conditions face if they are to offer the right support”, says Michael. ”To help with this, I have produced a downloadable resource, which contains a list of everyday examples of how skin conditions can affect a young person's whole school life.”
These resources, together with more information about the ‘School Derm Time’ initiative, can be found at: https://www.tes.com/news/school-news/breaking-views/how-reach-out-teens-acne.