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Wellbeing Award for Schools (WAS)

A National Children’s Bureau survey in 2016 showed many school leaders reported dramatic increases in the number of students suffering from mental health and wellbeing issues over the past five years.
  • More than half (55%) said there had been a large increase in anxiety or stress.

  • Over 40% reported a big increase in the problem of cyberbullying.

  • Nearly eight out of ten (79%) reported an increase in self harm or suicidal thoughts amongst students.

The Wellbeing Award for Schools (WAS) recognises schools that have embed a culture which values the happiness and emotional welfare of all its pupils. Both the Department for Education and Ofsted have supported this approach, stressing that promoting good mental health is the responsibility of all members of a school community: its staff and governors, parents and pupils, and partner organisations beyond the school gates.

The Wellbeing Award supports schools to create a culture in which mental health can thrive, helping them to:

  • Show the school’s commitment to promoting wellbeing as part of day-to-day school life
  • Develop a whole school strategy for improving the wellbeing of pupils
  • Attract and retain high-quality staff.

We are delighted to announce that our WAS Verifier has recommend that the school be awarded the Wellbeing Award for Schools for a period of three years.

Here are some of the things they said about Isebrook in their report.

  • The School has a clear, detailed vision statement with emotional wellbeing and mental health at its core.
  • The words spoken by key stakeholders reveal a school that is trying hard to put wellbeing at the heart of what it does:

“Students really like coming here” 

“Staff are committed."

“Communication is really good.”

“The school goes out of its way to support me. They are really open and share all concerns they have with families.”

“I’ve been blown away by the innovations.”

  • From students:

“It’s been really good."

“Best school I’ve been to.” "

"Different to other schools. Different lessons.”

“The new build is way better!”

“Teachers are really, really good and they help with your problems and with friendships!”

  • The School works hard to build trust between pupils and staff.  Students appreciate the staff’s support and say that ‘you can talk to anyone – even if you don’t know them’.  They report that staff understand ‘what causes our behaviour’. They also report liking the range of sports and trips that the school provides.
  • The school is on a journey to make parental engagement a priority. They have reviewed their curriculum and redesigned it, identifying risk factors and feel that they are better able to now recognise early signs of disengagement and to intervene to provide tailored support to improve pupil wellbeing. 

  • Staff are looked after with support from a counsellor (Dan). There is evidence of supportive staff morale with improved attendance and decreased sick leave and grievances, but the school is committed to continued support in this area, recognising that happy staff work smarter and with more energy to support the students’ many and varied needs. The counselling available in times of need are all signs of a school caring for its staff. Many staff shared their personal stories and struggles praising the school’s absolute unwavering support in their time of greatest need. 

  • The school has made better multi-agency links and works closely with the Local Authority and their support structures including good and well-established links with CAMHS. 

  • Governors commented on the real change in school culture that puts wellbeing at the core of the school’s work and thinking. 

  • Staff work hard to build self-esteem and resilience.  They are very aware of the need to develop confidence for when students leave the provision. Parents confirm that the school works hard to prepare children for future life.

  • The college has strong strategic links with a range of outside agencies, services and forums.  In addition to the usual mainstream services, they are represented on groups linked to Local Authority services. 

  • There are wellbeing notice boards and mindfulness messages, helplines and other key info to support wellbeing around the school and messages promoting positivity and empathy in classrooms.  The environment around the school felt calm during the tour and relationships between students and staff appeared trusting and respectful.

  • There is a clear system for sharing information about pupils.  Any member of staff reports concerns which are then referred to relevant colleagues.  Actions are recorded and monitored for effectiveness.  Information is also shared at meetings.

  • Governors appreciate the importance of a whole school approach to EWMH, are ambitious for the students (“they have so much to offer”) and appreciate the challenges they face. They work tirelessly to promote wellbeing and are a robust critical friend to the school. 

Attached is a copy of the full feedback report.