At St Michael's we are passionate about the well-being of our children and our staff. Good mental well-being can help to increase confidence, resilience and self-esteem. It is good to feel, and be able to express, a range of emotions and to build and maintain positive relationships with others whilst feeling engaged with the world around you.
A SENCo (special educational needs co-ordinator, is the member of staff who is responsible for assessing, planning and monitoring the progress of children with special educcational needs (SEN). At St Michael's this person is Mrs Vaneesa Sudan. Mrs Sarah Holden is our SENCO Assistant who supports Mrs Sudan and coordinates the day to day approach both with the children and external support organisations. If you have any concerns about your child's wellbeing, please do contact our SEN department using the following email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mental Health Leaders
In 2019, a five-year plan was drawn up by the county council and its health and education partners to transform mental health services for children and young people living in Hertfordshire, calling it the 'CAMHS Transformation' (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services).
Part of this plan involves every school nominating and training a Mental Health Lead and Deputy. The MHL responsibilities include:
Mrs Sarah Holden is our Mental Health Lead at St Michael's and she has received the DFE funded training through NESSie. She has facilitated colleagues in accessing online mental health modules to increase awareness throughout the school.
Families First in Hertfordshire
Families First is the term used in Hertfordshire for services that work together to support families who need extra help. These are also known as early help services.
We all experience difficulties at some point. Families First can help you find early help and information to prevent issues from getting worse.
If you need more help than your usual support network - for example your health visitor, school, doctor or family centre - we can work with you and your family to create a package of support.
Families First is available to all Hertfordshire families with children under 18 (25 if they have a learning need or disability).
We have 11 school values at St Michael's, each of which is linked to a relevant verse from the Bible. These are Friendship, Sharing, Courage, Love, Perseverance, Curiosity, Hope/Reflection, Imagination, Trust/Honesty, Cooperation and Peace. Time is put aside in the school day for reflection and interactive discussion about each value. Relevant displays are visual all around the school and it is clear to visitors that they have entered a school where values are at our core.
My Personal Best
This is an initiative set up by the Youth Sport Trust, which is a national charity working to ensure every child enjoys the life-changing benefits that come from playing sport. The aim is to achieve the personal development of the whole child through PE, giving them skills that they can transfer into other lessons, to life in school and to their wider environment. We have adopted this scheme into our curriculum and have made it part of the ethos of our school. For more information about My Personal Best please follow the link below to our curriculum page.
'The Zones of Regulation'
'The Zones of Regulation' is a framework designed to foster self-regulation and emotional control.
"Life is 10% what happens to us, and 90% how we react to it" - Charles Swindoll.
We all find ourselves in situations that test us to our limits from time to time, and if we are able to recognise when we are 'struggling', we are more able to do something about it to manage our feelings and get ourselves to a healthy place. Some people find this easy to do, but others need to be taught. This is the aim of "The Zones" framework.
There are four zones:
RED is used to describe extremely heightened states of alertness and intense emotions, eg anger, rage, devastation or maybe terror.
YELLOW is used to described a heightened state of alertness and elevated emotions, eg stress, frustration, anxiety, excitement, silliness or nervousness.
GREEN is used to describe a calm state of alertness. This person may be happy, focused, content or ready to learn. This is where optimal learning occurs.
BLUE is used to describe low states of alertness and 'down' feelings such as when one feels sad, tire, sick or bored.
Lunchtime Nurture Group
We hold Nurture Group each day in our Arboretum, which is a 'calm' space with comfy chairs, cushions and beanbags and lots of 'play' resources in it. Lunchtimes can be a vulnerable time for some children, especially those with a SEN diagnosis. Nurture Group enables these children to share a space with a small group of others, with trained staff support, and get away from the hustle and bustle of the playground. We often play quiet, meditative music and the children can play games together, sit quietly and read, do mindfulness colouring or chat. The group is child-led and the staff will support them in whatever it is they need at that particular time. Nurture Group provides the children with familiarity and comfort when they are struggling with the unpredictability of the outside alternative.
Our children practise mindfulness in their classroom as part of their school day. It usually takes place at the beginning of the afternoon and is led by the class teacher. It could take the form of meditation, kids yoga, a calm activity (eg colouring an intricate pattern that would require focus and concentration), or perhaps just a quiet class chat.
Lego® therapy is a social development program for children with autism spectrum disorder
or other social communication difficulties. It uses children's love of playing with Lego® to help them develop communication and social skills. We have trained staff who can support children with Lego Therapy at lunchtimes, as part of a small group intervention or during Nurture Group.
Area for Quiet Reflection
We have a beautiful circular mosaic created on the ground at one end of our playground. The mosaic is very personal to our school as it was created by all the pupils at the time and represents all of our twelve school values. The pictures were designed by individual children and then included in our mosaic using tiny pieces of coloured ceramic which they all helped to put together. The mosaic also has 3 curved benches around it and a brightly coloured awning over the top. This area is sometimes used for outdoor learning in the good weather, but can also be used as a quiet area of reflection to be enjoyed at playtimes.
Staff Wellbeing Clinic
Our Mental Health Lead, Mrs Holden, organises a 'staff wellbeing drop-in' each half term. During lesson time, teaching staff and their TAs are encouraged to pop into our 'Blue Room', along with a cup of tea, for a chat, in confidence, about anything that they are feeling overwhelmed by. It is a chance to 'offload' about anything, whether it be something at home or within school. We have found it to be invaluable as it makes staff feel that they matter, are valued and are being listened to.
Questionnaires for parents, pupils and staff
At St Michael's we regularly request the opinions, perceptions and feelings of the children, their parents & carers and also the staff. We share the information that we collect with the Board of Governors and strive to constantly improve and develop our school using this involvement from our school community.
Wellbeing Day - At last we could celebrate and hold our postponed wellbeing day on Friday 21st May. We remained in our class bubbles in classrooms this year, apart from a ‘Be Active’ session in the hall with Joe from Premier Education. Activities included writing a positive message card that will be given to other children in the school; creating a piece of bunting with a wish for the future; listening to the sound from the gong bath and thinking about any concerns or worries, writing them down and throwing them away; making a section of the wellbeing triangle; learning a song and taking a Wow nature photo in the school grounds. A big thank you to all the children and staff!