Stanstead Nursery & Primary School win Carnegie Silver Award for Mental Health

Stanstead Nursery & Primary School in Rise Park have been awarded the Carnegie Centre of Excellence for Mental Health in Schools, Silver Award.

Louise Nicholls is Class Teacher and Wellbeing Lead at the school and said, “I was delighted to hear we had been awarded Silver! As we were starting out on the process, we actually hoped to attain Bronze, but it soon became clear that we were doing more than the basic requirements and so were in with a chance of the higher award. The news we had Silver was a delightful recognition for all we do to help the Stanstead family concerning mental health and wellbeing.”

Louise says that the criteria for the award was thorough, and though initially daunting in its remit, said she quickly realised that the school was already meeting many of the requirements. “The award looks into different areas of school life, from Leadership and Governance, staff and pupil wellbeing, to working with outside agencies. There are many levels of achievement and to attain Silver schools need to prove they are embracing Mental Health and Wellbeing throughout school life.”

In the assessment validation report concerning Stanstead Nursery & Primary School, the school is described as having ‘…an ethos of honesty and approachability between the staff, pupils and parents. Parents are welcomed and regularly take the opportunities to speak to a wide range of staff. They appreciate the accessibility into school and feel listened to.’ The report also quoted one parent describing their child being ‘engulfed in kindness’ at the school.

Louise says that the process has helped to make the school’s systems stronger in response to mental health awareness. “Completing the award challenged us to go beyond what was already in place and implement new ideas. In particular, staff received training in recognising and responding to mental health difficulties and a session was arranged for parents too, - delivered by Gemma Fieldsend from the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust. This is something we are hoping to repeat on the request from parents.

“We are careful to recognise the need to normalise talk about Mental Health, that we all have mental health, good and sometimes poor, and we are providing children, staff and parents with skills and strategies to help those whose mental health is suffering.

“Hopefully this award demonstrates to families that we take mental health and wellbeing seriously, that we want to support and signpost people who are in need and that it is important to create space and opportunities to talk about how we are feeling and how that affects us.”

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