What is World Children’s Day?
World Children’s Day was established in 1954 to be seen as a day to promote and celebrate children’s rights. Today Monarch Education would like to highlight how well-being is being promoted and nurtured among children and young people within schools, and how teachers and support staff make a difference to children’s lives on a daily basis.
What does well-being mean?
A good or satisfactory condition of existence; a state characterised by health, happiness, and prosperity; welfare, comfort, contentment, happiness, health, prosperity, protection, safety, security, success, eudemonia.
When I asked the assistant head of one of our secondary schools how she would sum up well-being in one sentence, she said, “it is the centre of everything. It allows students to emotionally develop, to socialise and to grow as positive and happy individuals”. How true that statement is and how fortunate I was to interview her. I wanted to find out more about how the school promotes well-being and how the staff, including ours, make a difference to the students’ lives.
For over 6 years the school have had a specialist provision in place called ‘Opportunity’; a centre where students have the opportunity to move on from things that may be holding them back. The centre focuses on mental health, well-being and happiness. It is run by a pastoral lead, a youth worker, counselling support staff and additional specialist staff who offer unique opportunities to students. Students can be referred to the centre by their teachers, parents or can just drop in if they feel the need to talk to someone.
To run in line with the centre all staff have access to a safeguarding database, where they can input any concerns they may have about a student’s behaviour, mental health, physical wellness or change in personality or character. The interventions used internally offer a wide range of opportunities for students to seek counsel in non-conventional ways; it may be that a specialist member of staff can offer a creative workshop, which allows freedom of speech and expression – a safe haven for students to feel free to talk openly about something that is bothering them.
This is where Monarch Education has had the privilege of providing specialist staff to the school; staff who can contribute to the extra-curricular activities and offer a welcoming ear to students. The specialists we have placed come with very interesting work histories; one was a circus performing aerialist and another was a semi-professional ballroom dancer – not the average Teaching Assistant by any means! Upon speaking to the Monarch Education staff placed in the Opportunity centre they informed me just how much the school focuses on well-being and how much they enjoyed working in such a place. They commented on how well the students were supported and that they felt part of a family.
The school ensures that all members of staff have mental health and well-being at the heart of their teaching. They are regularly updated with new strategies to use and are informed of new topics to be aware of and focus on, they are always reminded that the Opportunity centre is there to be accessed by anyone who needs it.
As well as the specialist provision the school ensures that children are taught to be open about mental health and not treat it as a taboo. In years 7, 8 and 9 Health & Well-being is taught through PE and classroom-based lessons; in the upper parts of the school students access the Life Curriculum where they learn life skills and can discuss future careers; the school have an excellent area for outdoor learning which all students are encouraged to be part of and this space includes a quiet area for thought and reflection.
Due to the exceptional ethos of this school, the training provided and the dedicated staff they employ this is an environment where all students feel they are cared for, listened to and understood. They feel safe, secure, and content and they can prosper through their teenage years knowing they have such support in place. Monarch Education is proud to work within an industry that promotes well-being to such a degree and is committed to providing excellent staff to schools such as this one. Please join us today on World Children’s Day to acknowledge all children and their right to a happy and healthy childhood.