Uckfield school scoops pioneering mental health award

An Uckfield school has achieved the School Mental Health Award which is delivered by the Carnegie Centre of Excellence for Mental Health in Schools.

Holy Cross C of E Primary School were awarded a Silver standard for its outstanding mental health and wellbeing provision.

Holy Cross provides a wide range of activities to boost the wellbeing of pupils and staff, including following an empowerment approach to behaviour, mindfulness, kindness calendars, guardian angels, well-being meetings and working closely with social services and the NHS’s Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services.

The school provides a wide range of opportunities to understand the importance of good mental health and well-being with explicit teaching in PSHCE and across the curriculum, which teaches pupils about resilience, values, and acceptance. The school celebrates mental health week each year. The children wear an item of clothes inside out to raise awareness that it can be difficult to know how a person might be feeling and that it is important to be kind. The school also supports many local charities from Brighton Housing trust to Uckfield Food Bank.

Holy Cross Cof E Primary School’s Mental Health lead and Senco Mrs Griffin said: “Since embarking on the journey of obtaining this award, we had no idea how useful this award would be with going into a pandemic. As a school, we have pulled together to think outside of the box, about our role and practices and how to support everyone from pupils, parents, agencies, and staff during a very tough time. I am very proud of everyone!”

First for Dreams

A focal point of the school’s mental health and wellbeing provision is their motto ‘First for Dreams’. The school believes that every child should be nurtured and have their needs met so that they can access learning and create a future for themselves. They believe building strong mental health early in life can help children build their self-esteem, learn to settle themselves and engage positively with their education and future. Holy Cross make sure that mental health has a high profile by planning it into their values, policies and school improvement plan. They make it a priority!

The award was established in 2017 by the Carnegie Centre of Excellence for Mental Health in Schools – part of Leeds Beckett University – and social enterprise Minds Ahead.

The Carnegie Centre of Excellence for Mental Health in Schools aims to strengthen pupils’ mental health by supporting schools to make a positive change at all levels of the UK’s education system, improving students’ outcomes and life chances.

Professor Damien Page, Dean of Leeds Beckett’s Carnegie School of Education, said: “Achieving this award is not just recognition of a whole-school approach to mental health, it’s a recognition of the school’s commitment to improving the life chances of children.

“We’re truly proud to have worked with Holy Cross CofE Primary School in this vital work and look forward to further collaboration.”
Nationally, more than 800 schools have signed up to take part in the mental health award.

Dean Johnstone, founder and CEO of Minds Ahead said: “This award shines a light on the excellent work schools are doing to promote mental health for their community of children and adults. “It is thrilling and humbling to learn about Holy Cross CofE Primary School and the many other schools engaged in the quality award process. I’d like to offer my congratulations on this deserved recognition.”