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Bexley school awarded after implementing mental health improvement strategies

PUBLISHED: 11:57 25 June 2018 | UPDATED: 11:57 25 June 2018

Mayor of Bexley councillor Brian Bishop attended the presentation of the award. Picture: Lessness Heath Primary School

Mayor of Bexley councillor Brian Bishop attended the presentation of the award. Picture: Lessness Heath Primary School

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A Belvedere school was last week awarded with the Wellbeing Award for Schools after putting mental health at the heart of its community.

Lessness Heath was the first school nationally to be awarded with the title by Optimus Education and the National Children’s Bureau. Picture: Lessness HeathLessness Heath was the first school nationally to be awarded with the title by Optimus Education and the National Children’s Bureau. Picture: Lessness Heath

Lessness Heath, located on Erith Road, was the first school nationally to be awarded with the title by Optimus Education and the National Children’s Bureau.

The school has implemented several strategies such as monthly wellbeing workshops; mental health training; regular monitoring of mental health and more.

Sue Stirling from the National Children’s Bureau summarised that it was evident that the impact of wellbeing has been a very positive driving force in the school and that it had touched all aspects of school life.

The Mayor and Mayoress of Bexley attended the presentation of the award, along with other visitors from various mental health charities and service providers in the borough.

The wellbeing drive started from a vision that head teacher Kate O’Connor and wellbeing leader Kelly Hannaghan had - that ‘every stakeholder within the whole school community should have good quality mental health and wellbeing support, which ensures the best possible outcomes and a culture of people who grow resilience in life’.

The school also offers a variety of parent interactive empowerment workshops, and families have since reported that they feel, heard, supported and empowered.

The children at the school have said that they feel liked and cared for within the school community.

Ms Hannaghan said: “our most valuable learning was to recognise that wellbeing can look very different for individuals, therefore prescriptions for wellbeing are uniquely grown.

“As a result of our wellbeing focus this year we have noticed that staff are presenting as being happier and have seen a decrease in staff absences. “The pupils are happy and engaged and are now able to recognise their thoughts and feelings and are able to seek help available.”

Teachers are now able to recognise symptoms and triggers of emotional health issues within their classrooms and feel more confident in signposting pupils and their families for support.

Lessness Heath has developed a strategy for the coming year, and its vision will continue to be embedded across the school.

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