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Wales High School Scoops Pioneering Mental Health Award

Hannah Feerick, SLT Lead for Wellbeing & Personal Development and Pepe Di’Iasio, Headteacher.

Wales High School has achieved the School Mental Health Award which is delivered by the Carnegie Centre of Excellence for Mental Health in Schools. Wales High School were awarded a Gold standard for its outstanding mental health and wellbeing provision.

Wales High School provides a wide range of activities to boost the wellbeing of pupils and staff, including mindfulness and self-esteem sessions, the Mental Health Ambassador Scheme, and working closely with the local Mental Health Support Trust, ‘With me in Mind’.

The school has also raised awareness around mental health issues as part of its PSHE (Personal, social, health and economic) lessons, by promoting weeks such as ‘Mental Health Awareness Week’ and signposting support for staff and students daily through email bulletins.

Pepe Di’Iasio, Headteacher at Wales High School said: “As a school, we have always placed a high priority on the wellbeing of our staff and pupils, and this award has allowed us to evaluate and celebrate our whole school approach to wellbeing. We are looking forward to sharing these successes and good practice with others in the near future”.

Staff and Student Mental Health Ambassadors outside of the Wales High School Reception with the newly received Mental Health Gold Award.

A focal point of the school’s mental health and wellbeing provision is the Mental Health Ambassadors Scheme whereby students apply to become an ambassador, receive training on mental health, safeguarding and active listening, and then are paired up to support other students in the school with issues such as friendship or exam worries.

Hannah Feerick, SLT Lead for Wellbeing & Personal Development said: “The process of applying for the Schools Mental Health Award has been a great chance to embed even further our philosophy and culture around wellbeing; working with staff, students and parents to listen and continually improve, and offer the best support and advice we can”.

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.

Rachel C. Boyle, Dean of Leeds Beckett’s Carnegie School of Education, said: “The achievement of the Mental Health award is a demonstration of the school’s significant commitment to improving children’s and staff’s mental health and wellbeing. It is also a commitment to developing practices in school that seek to improve awareness and expertise in creating safe and secure learning environments in which all children can truly fulfil their potential. This award is one that all staff can be truly proud of”.

Nationally, more than 1200 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 Wales High School and the many other schools engaged in the quality award process. I’d like to offer my congratulations on this deserved recognition”.