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.
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 Mrs Louise Golding is her Deputy. Both have received external training, have presented it back to the staff and have facilitated their colleagues in accessing online mental health modules to increase awareness throughout the school.
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.
We have 11 school values at St.Michael's, each of which is linked to a relevant verse from the Bible. Time is put aside in the school day for reflection and interactive discussion about each value. Values 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.
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 SEND. 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.
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.