The responsibility upon an excellent school in the delivery high impact pastoral care is no longer to merely prepare their students for leaving school, i.e. ‘beyond the white gates’.
It is essential that we consider the Old Forester at 25 and beyond. Therefore, we take an extremely pro-active approach to the promotion of mental health and wellbeing at Forest School. Since 2016, we are proud to say that we have successfully embedded comprehensive counselling provision in partnership with Place2Be.
Furthermore, to ensure that mental health and Wellbeing is at the very top of our agenda, we have a very extensive programme of staff training, Wellbeing representatives amongst the student body, robust safeguarding procedures implemented by a highly trained team, excellent support from the School Medical Centre, up-to-date and relevant PSHEE and our commitment to positive mental health is clearly demonstrated in that every member of teaching staff at Forest School attends Mental Health First Aid Training delivered by MHFA England.
Wellbeing Education at Forest is designed to allow pupils to actively work on improving their own wellbeing whilst at School and also allow them to prepare for life beyond the school gates. We want to give them a safe, nurturing environment to consider some of the issues that might affect them as they mature into adults.
Our aim is to promote positive wellbeing and equip pupils with the skills and tools to lead fulfilling and enriching lives. Rather than trying to make sure pupils are happy all the time, we want to ensure that they have the resilience and decision-making skills to overcome obstacles if and when they occur.
We are passionate about ensuring that all pupils have a positive experience at Forest School and through our Wellbeing Education programme we are confident that our pupils will be well-positioned to make the most out of their time at Forest School and beyond our white gates. We want to ensure that Wellbeing is something that is talked about both in school and at home: starting conversations is a key element of Wellbeing!
We aim to do this through:
- Wellbeing Lessons
- PDM (Personal Decision Making)
- Drop down days
- PPS (Politics, Philosophy and Sociology)
- Themed weeks
- Parental events
- Staff training/conferences
- Integration of Wellbeing into our everyday lives.
The foundation of our approach to Wellbeing is based on the THRIVE programme (Tolerance, Health, Relationships, Independence, Values and Engagement).
What is THRIVE?
Our Wellbeing lessons are based on the principles of THRIVE. We believe these are the core elements of ensuring positive wellbeing. Each of our lessons or drop down sessions will incorporate at least one of these principles.
Tolerance creates a culture of wellbeing. We want to ensure that Forest pupils understand and accept one another and people in the wider community. This will help promote positive wellbeing amongst our pupils and ensure that Forest is a community in which people feel accepted for who they are.
Physical and mental health are both equally important in promoting wellbeing. We want pupils to be physically healthy and also ensure that they have techniques to maintain good mental health as well.
Building strong relationships with family and friends helps pupils to improve their wellbeing. Considering what a healthy relationship with a partner could look like and having the tools to deal with changing circumstances in all these different relationships ensures that pupils can maintain positive wellbeing when things, perhaps, go wrong.
Feeling prepared for the next step beyond Forest creates positive wellbeing. Making independent choices, showing resilience and being equipped to deal with ‘real life’ ensure that pupils feel confident and assured.
Holding a set of moral values allows pupils to develop their own sense of wellbeing. Subscribing to a shared set of values promotes community and belonging. We also encourage pupils to explore their own individual values and thus allow pupils to create their own identity, as well as consider where their views fit in with wider society. A sense of self nurtures wellbeing.
Being active and engaged in a community helps to foster wellbeing. Being part of a bigger whole and contributing to wider activities shows teamwork and gives a sense of belonging.