Place2Be Mental Health Practitioner Hayley Lake reflects on her time at Featherstone Primary School, and the impact Place2Be has had on the mental wellbeing of students, family and staff.
I am the Place2Be Mental Health Practitioner at Featherstone Primary, where I support pupils and their families, school-based staff, assessments, and whole class work. Featherstone has 410 pupils who embody many cultures, backgrounds, and religions. The school is located in Erdington, a deprived area north of Birmingham, and many children at the school receive Pupil Premium funding and Free School Meals.
At Featherstone, we are devoted in supporting every child’s emotional wellbeing by taking a whole school approach. We are values-based school and believe children should have the opportunity to thrive socially, personally, and culturally. These values foster the development of a healthy mind, and they all contribute to children’s overall emotional wellbeing – in and out of the classroom.
Since January 2022, we have held 290 Place2Talk group sessions – that enable children to express their concerns in a confidential space. Since the start of the year, we have also provided one-to-one counselling to 12 children. It is common for these pupils to present recurring problems around anxiety, loss and bereavement, family breakdown, body-image, transition and change, and self-harm.
Similarly, the mental health and wellbeing of school-based staff is at the heart of Featherstone. During the pandemic, our staff participated in Place2Think – group sessions for education professionals, supporting positive mental health in school communities. The sessions were really well received and gave our school staff the opportunity to talk about their concerns in a safe and confidential space during a time of uncertainty.
Place2Be is highly valued here at Featherstone, and it is evident that the service has shaped wider policy on mental health within the community. Our school-based staff circulate awareness of good mental health across the whole school, and Featherstone’s Head Teacher, Mr Gaibee, is on Place2Be’s advocated headteacher working part. He has attended many meetings alongside the organisations CEO, Catherine Roche, to champion the service.
These children are selected to work alongside the Deputy Head Teacher; to analyse and advice on the school’s values. Similarly, Featherstone has its own ‘Staff Champion’, who is responsible for advocating staff wellbeing and selfcare. This selected staff member was recognised due to her kindness and dedication to community wellbeing.
The Place2Be service at Featherstone Primary School has contributed towards a positive focus around mental health and wellbeing, whilst allowing our pupils and staff members to flourish with confidence and resilience.
Find out more about the services we offer in schools, which include one-to-one counselling, guidance and advice for staff and mental health training and support for parents. Our services are available to primary, secondary and high schools in England, Scotland and Wales.
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