To mark World Mental Health Day, children at one of York’s biggest primary schools have launched their own dedicated space to explore their emotions.
All pupils at Robert Wilkinson Primary Academy, in Strensall, now have regular timetabled access to a safe, controlled environment called the HUB, which stands for Helping Us Belong.
The school held a special assembly on the theme of it’s OK not to feel OK and were encouraged to wear yellow instead of school uniform to reflect the national message. Clips from TV show Britain’s Got Talent, which addressed mental health and emotional wellbeing, were played to the children as part of the presentation.
Rebecca McGuinn, Lead for Safeguarding, Personal Development, Behaviour and Welfare at Ebor Academy Trust, which operates the Strensall school, said: “We fully endorse the campaign messages that everyone needs to talk about how they feel and it’s important too for children, so they can see how they fit into the wider community and the world. Pupils now know what mental health means and what it looks like – now we’re learning what to do about it.
“Here at Robert Wilkinson we have a wellbeing team of four members – Becky Fleming, Ruth Greaves, Louise Clixby and Jo Wilson – and they’re linked to every year group, helping children increase their emotional resilience and supporting positive wellbeing.
“This is so important for our children and their future.”
A focus on monitoring wellbeing at school has shown to decrease negative behaviour. Three-quarters of the 24 schools in Ebor Academy Trust have wellbeing HUBs and it is the trust’s aspiration for there to be one in each school eventually.
The wellbeing plans have been positively received by parents and carers and there is to be an opens doors event soon for them to call in and see the HUB.