Linthorpe Community Primary School (LCPS), based in Middlesbrough, have been a HeadStart school since 2016. LCPS were the first primary school in the area to achieve the HeadStart Gold Standard as part of the School Quality Standard in November 2017, highlighting the work that has been done to create effective and sustainable support for the emotional wellbeing of students and further building on the good practice already in place at the school prior.
Following the pandemic and full return to school, a new cohort of LCPS HeadStarters have undertaken the HeadStarters Educational Pathway, supported by school Emotional Wellbeing Practitioner Sarah Dale. 12 Year 5 and 6 pupils have completed their Bronze and Silver Award sections of the training.
The HeadStarters obtained the Bronze award by completing 8 hours of guided learning of mental health and wellbeing topics including developing coping strategies, forming positive relationships and managing stress.
They have then used their learning to positively impact the mental health and wellbeing of other people in the school and wider community. The HeadStarters have organised a number of litter picks in the local area and have also been using their knowledge of mental wellbeing to support their peers within school.
One of the LCPS HeadStarters told us that “During lunchtimes, we help with clubs at the SHACK so other students can talk to us about their feelings, speak about problems they might have and be in a calm environment if they need someone to play with”. This work has seen the HeadStarters achieve their Silver Award on the Educational Pathway.
The SHACK (Super Happy and Calm Kids) is Linthorpe’s intervention space which was part-funded by the School Sustainability Grant the school received upon achieving their Silver Award within the HeadStart School Standard. As well as acting as a base for the peer support work delivered by the HeadStarters, the school’s Care Team also uses the SHACK as an additional intervention space where they can for periods of self-soothing for students that need time outside of the classroom and for mentoring.
As part of the school’s wellbeing week in this month, the HeadStart team were invited to two events at the school. Firstly, the team attended a whole staff meeting where Head of School Mrs Mitchell launched the school’s Wellbeing Strategy. The meeting gave all staff the opportunity to speak with the organisations that work closely with the school to fully understand the services and support that is offered to their students and to them as staff.
The work that LCPS have done to achieve the Gold Standard and the core HeadStart values linked to the Resilience Framework featured heavily in their wellbeing strategy as did the work being done by their HeadStarters as peer supporters.
We were then invited to a special launch morning where Middlesbrough Mayor Andy Preston opened the school’s new Learn Care Play Space – an additional play area in the school playground that places particular emphasis on physical activity and resilience which are both key components of being mentally healthy. The name for the new space was democratically voted on by the students.
During the opening, the HeadStarters showcased the 5 ways to wellbeing to the entire school to further highlight this. A video explaining the role of the HeadStarters and the impact of HeadStart on school life was also broadcast in every classroom during the day.
Additionally, the HeadStart team and the HeadStarters were asked to re-open the SHACK, which has received extra funding which has been used on additional seating and equipment.
The HeadStarters are now developing several projects for the summer term and next academic year which will further complement the fantastic work being done within the school around mental health and wellbeing.
Published: May 20