At SVS, we believe that the health, wellbeing and happiness of our students are critical to their development and success. We regard Pastoral Care as an integral feature of a pupil's education at Sandwell Valley School.
Pastoral care is at the heart of all that we do and we aim to create an environment where students feel valued and supported so that they can make the most of their time here and achieve more than they imagined possible.
Form Tutors are central to the pastoral life of the School and work closely with the students and their teaching staff to monitor progress both academically and socially. Any concerns that staff have about a child will be shared with his Form Tutor and they are also the key contact for parents.
Supporting the role of the Form Tutor are the Curriculum Head and Behaviour/Pastoral Manager, who are able to provide an overall view of their year groups. Form Tutors meet regularly with the Curriculum Head to review the progress of all students.
We have a school counsellor to provide confidential talking therapy who comes every Friday. We recently appointed a full-time Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL). In total, we have one full-time DSL, one part-time DSL, two Deputies, three full-time mentors, one counsellor and a new part-time mental health support officer (2 days per week). The postholder is an experienced mental health support officer to help some of our most
vulnerable pupils to make a successful transition back to school through counselling, media technology and creative writing therapy.
The relationship between our staff and students is built on trust and mutual respect. The staff show genuine care for all of the students they work with and the whole school community works together to ensure mutual wellbeing.
If a student does need support, there are several ways in which it can be provided. Academic support can be provided through subject help lessons, mentoring and intervention lessons. The School First Aiders are available during school hours for the immediate treatment of injuries and minor illnesses.
There are a number of mechanisms in place to support the mental health of the students. The Mental Health and Wellbeing agenda has been fully embraced by the school and has continued to be a significant focus.
SVS delivered Level 1 Mental Health First Aid training for Year 11 pupils and learning mentors. This is an Ofqual accredited qualification, and it offers credits for students if entering further education. It is important to acknowledge that this course was made accessible to both students and mentors and that they all learned, and passed, the course together. The school's intention was to use these students as mental health ambassadors in the school and so facilitate students supporting students; both a progressive and supportive ethos is being encouraged across the school.
In addition, we have a Mental Health and Wellbeing action plans that pertain to both staff and students. The Aims of these action plans centre around the need to champion efforts that promote positive social and emotional well-being, mental health, resilience and wellness for the school community; to provide the knowledge and the skills so that staff and students can support their own wellbeing and that of their peers; to signpost support, for staff and students, at the earliest possible stage, so that timely intervention can take place; to continue to promote positivity around mental health and emotional well-being and reduce the stigma associated with mental health issues and to provide a safe, stimulating and positive environment which encourages a sense of belonging and promotes respect and values diversity. The school appreciates that people cannot function in highly stressful environments and so, moving forward, these action plans will be fully shared with all staff as a refresher at the beginning of the new academic year because this is very much viewed as a collective responsibility at Sandwell Valley School.
We are working with MADE (Music Ain't Diverse Enough) to deliver a music therapy and talent development programme for young aspiring artists aged 15-17 living in the Black Country area. The programme provides an introduction to the music industry for targeted groups of young people who are interested in developing their skills/interest in music-making, to transition them into becoming emerging artists (open to producers, lyricists, songwriters and performers). This programme will develop key soft transferable skills e.g. confidence, communication and teamwork.
Mental Health and wellbeing
We hope that the resources will help to facilitate conversations at home and at school about issues that can be difficult to talk about. Many barriers exist which prevent meaningful and worthwhile conversation with our young people: maybe we do not understand the technology that they are using, perhaps we have different concerns to them, or maybe we just do not make enough time in our day for a conversation to happen.
Our Pastoral Team and Form Tutors work hard to support the pupils in all manner of ways in order that they are able to enjoy their school life, make the most of their time at SVS and achieve their potential.
Mental Health and wellbeing
Mental Health and wellbeing is one of the biggest growth areas of concern in schools and, of course, this has been exacerbated by the pandemic and the multiple lockdowns that we have now had to face. This is an area that we address in school through PSHE lessons. At its most basic level, our advice to pupils often centres on consideration of the following key components:
The lockdown has had, and is likely to continue to have, a detrimental impact on some or all of these areas for many people and so it is very important for pupils (and indeed all of us) to learn ways of managing and coping and hopefully even thriving. Resilience is frequently referred to in schools, although it is hard to define exactly. We tend to regard it as the ability to respond positively to change; and it can be developed. The internet is awash with mental health and wellbeing sites and advice, so the following list is by no means exhaustive. However, it is a good place to start looking for support and beginning to have healthy conversations about wellbeing at home.
Many parents referred to children lacking in motivation and struggling with the lack of social contact during the first lockdown survey. We would advocate having a look at the following resources from Inner Drive:
Mental Health Awareness for Parents (see attached) - focussing on socialising, working from home and mood.
Mental Health Awareness for Students (see attached) - focussing on resilience and support, fear of missing out and managing perfectionism.
Each of the above resources offers further links to the research and other areas of interest.
Other sites and resources that we would recommend are as follows:
1.MindEd for Families - an e-learning platform funded by the Department of Health to support parents and carers when they are concerned about a young person's mental health.
2.Young Minds - this link to the parents' section has a lot of advice on supporting your child through the coronavirus pandemic.
3.Charlie Waller Memorial Trust (CWMT) - This organisation was set up to help equip young people to look after their mental wellbeing and spot signs of depression. The resource on self-harm is particularly good.
4.Time to Change - this link is to a useful list of different types of mental health conditions and how to access support for each of them.
Important Links :
CAIS (0808 808 4994) - View Page
Child Bereavement UK - View Page
Childline (0800 1111) - View Page
Cruse Bereavement - View Page
Grief Encounter (0808 802 0111) - View Page
Hope Again (0808 808 1677) - View Page
KOoth - Pride Awareness - Download File
Support After Suicide Partnership - View Page
Winston's Wish - View Page
Child Bereavement App - View Page
Grief (App) - View Page
Happiful - View Page