Social Emotional Mental Health (SEMH) is a key priority at Cornerstones. We fully understand that positive mental health is the bedrock of all learning, and enables children to thrive both in school and all through life. Our sensitive and pro-active approach to the well-being of pupils and staff is something we are very proud of, and having small cohorts enables us to engage with and understand the social and emotional needs of our pupils intimately. We are a school that cares very deeply about the aspects of children that cannot be measured or easily observed through academic assessments.
The World Health Organisation defines mental health as a state of wellbeing in which every individual achieves their potential, copes with the normal stresses of life, works productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to their community. Mental health includes our emotional, psychological and social wellbeing. It affects how we think, feel and act.
Good mental health helps children:
- Learn and explore the world
- Feel, express and manage a range of positive and negative emotions
- Form and maintain good relationships with others
- Cope with, and manage change and uncertainty
- Develop and thrive.
Children’s social and emotional development underpins our curriculum, and bespoke lessons and projects are planned with these elements in mind. Whether it’s through challenging texts in English, philosophical thinking in RE, connecting mind and body in PE or specific teaching in PSHCE, our highly skilled teachers are able to lead conversations about a wide range of mental health topics with ease and sensitivity.
In classes children work on a bespoke programme of learning that equips them with a set of skills and strategies for emotional regulation. We draw on a broad range of stimulating texts and resources, and regularly share book lists with parents.
“I love having big in depth discussions in English lessons and exploring the complex characters and
emotions of the characters in the books we read.”
(Year 5 pupil)
“I find the feelings bears cards really help me to understand my own feelings and the feelings of other children.” (Year 2 pupil)
“My favourite time of the week is when we all curl up on the floor and listen to the
guided meditation about the magic treehouse. It’s so calming and makes me feel so good.”
(Year 3 pupil)
“I know I can talk to the teachers about anything that is troubling me.
They really care and always know what advice to give.”
(Year 5 pupil)
“I think everything we are learning about emotions is going to really help me when I start secondary school.”
(Year 6 pupil)
“I love doing forest school because it teaches you a lot about being resilient and overcoming obstacles,
that’s a really important thing for life.”
(Year 3 pupil)
Staff Mental Health and Wellbeing
Our Cornerstones Senior Mental Health Lead Mrs Hume, also leads the Strategic Mental Health Team for the Dales Academies Trust. This means we are able to draw widely on the expertise from our other Trust Schools, and benefit from effective training partnerships and cutting-edge research. Clear Mental Health roles have been established across the Trust including a Mental Health Champion and Junior Mental Health Lead in every school, as well as a specifically nominated and trained governor.
The Dales Academies Trust have a strong commitment to staff mental health and wellbeing, and at Cornerstones we are firmly of the belief that mentally healthy children and mentally healthy adults go hand in hand. As a staff we benefit from bespoke mental health resources developed for the Trust, including signposting for support.
Mental Health Roles and Responsibilities at Dales Academies Trust
|Dales Mental Health Team|
Senior leaders working at strategy and policy level across Dales, in close partnership with CEO, Trust Board and Headteachers.
|Mental Health Lead Practitioners (Across whole schools/collaborations)|
Senior teachers working at strategy level in individual schools/across federations/collaborations.
(In small schools they will likely adopt the role of Mental Health Champions too)
|Mental Health Champions|
Well-trained, knowledgeable and experienced SEMH practitioners.
First point of contact for children and staff in school.
Well-trained and knowledgeable about SEMH, skilled at embedding mental health themes/knowledge into curriculum planning and lesson delivery.
|Junior Mental Health Champions|
Children and young people in school, championing mental health within classrooms, families and communities.
If you would like any further information please contact Mrs Hume at Kirkby Fleetham.