Schools and Colleges continually strive to provide high quality pastoral care and a broad and balanced curriculum to support and educate the pupils and students in their care. Maintaining each of these features in the ever-changing modern world is proving increasingly difficult and these changes are nowhere more apparent than when we come to the mental health and wellbeing of students and staff; a topic which has never been more in the spotlight with recent NHS research (NHS Digital, November 2023) showing that 1 in 5 children and young people aged 8 to 16 years, and nearly 1 in 4 aged 17 to 19, now have a probable mental disorder.
The Intersection of Wellbeing and Academic Performance
High quality education is about producing happy, healthy, productive young adults who can make a positive contribution to society. This is sometimes forgotten in the context of exam results. If we don’t equip young people with the skills and coping strategies they need for life – both social and emotional – a life can be ruined, no matter the level of academic success.
The Role of Mental Health in Learning
What’s more, academic performance and wellbeing are inextricably intertwined. We could provide a student with the best teacher in the world, superb resources, and teaching their favourite topic, but if they’re struggling with their mental health and their mind is elsewhere, their learning will be significantly affected.
And yet for many schools a greater knowledge, understanding and focus on mental health and wellbeing is something which needs to be prioritised if we are to truly provide first class pastoral care.
Brightcore Consultancy's Commitment to Wellbeing in Schools
Our team of expert consultants and trainers spend the majority of our time supporting schools in doing just that; providing training and consultancy support to enable senior leaders and staff to prioritise their own mental health and wellbeing as well as that of their pupils and colleagues. At Brightcore Consultancy we provide a range of highly commended consultancy and training services to the education sector. These range from our detailed Safeguarding and Mental Health and Wellbeing Audits, our highly acclaimed Designated Senior Mental Health Lead Training programme, and Accredited Mental Health First Aid Training, to bespoke consultancy support for Senior Leaders and Governing Boards, as well as a large range of other training and support services.
Key Components of an Effective Whole-School Approach
Appointing a Designated Senior Mental Health Lead is a great start as there needs to be someone influential who can coordinate a whole-school approach. However, the most important element of any successful whole-school approach is training; it needs to be effective, engaging, and give staff and senior leaders the confidence and skills make a difference in promoting their own wellbeing, as well as that of their pupils.
Prioritising staff wellbeing is crucially important. It’s imperative we understand the stresses of working in education and ensure teachers don’t appear hypocritical when educating students about how to deal with stress.
The Collective Responsibility of School Staff
Whilst any successful approach needs to be directed by the Senior Leadership Team, the bottom line is that tackling this issue needs all staff to be involved.
At Brightcore Consultancy we believe that if we are truly going to make a difference then training and support needs to not only be of a very high quality but also as available and affordable as possible - that is why we provide a free mental health audit tool as a starting point for all schools along with highly subsidised MHFA England accredited training courses. We work closely with school leadership teams providing flexible and bespoke support, practical evidence-based strategies, and cost-effective training.