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Meet Pritti

Meet Pritti

"At Ark Elvin Academy No-one gets left behind"

Place2Be School Project Manager Pritti reflects on her time at Ark Elvin Academy and the impact Place2Be has had on the mental wellbeing of students, family and staff.

Located in North West London, Ark Elvin Academy is a secondary school and sixth form with approximately 1110 students. The school is a melting pot of cultures and ethnicities from different social and economic backgrounds. Many of the students are deprived, while others are refugees from countries facing war.

In 2018, Ark Elvin secured the services of Place2Be to invest in the mental health and wellbeing of their school community. As the current Place2Be School Project Manager at the school, I provide counselling and mental health support to students, families, and staff members. There is an awareness of under-representation of Asian and Asian British families within the Place2Be services and my own cultural background is embraced in opening connections to these.

Since the pandemic, it was no surprise to see an increase in the number of young people using Place2Be. Some students sign up because they are experiencing low moods, while others present with friendship and family worries, low self-esteem, and exam stress.

The most popular Place2Be service at Ark Elvin is Place2Talk – a place for students to talk about their worries.

Since the start of the 2021/2022 term, I have held 512 Place2Talk sessions across 188 students. There have also been 365 one-to-one counselling sessions across 27 students, and according to self-assessments, 67% of these young people’s mental health has improved.

Committed to a whole school approach, I ensure that Ark Elvin’s staff members are equally as supported. Last term, 96 Place2Think group sessions took place - where staff members explored strategies that support Place2Be interventions for students. Staff also received guidance on how to manage a young person’s behavior.

The deep resilience and cohesion of the Ark Elvin community was seen in action when a student was tragically killed in a road traffic accident. Led by the headteacher, the school came together during these challenging times to support everyone, and Place2Be was engaged in providing Place2Talk and additional counselling for the affected individuals.

Having Place2Be services at Ark Elvin has shaped wider policy on mental health within the school.

The stigma around mental health is challenged during Form Time, which is now used as an opportunity to promote mental health and wellbeing. The school also runs breathing and yoga classes for staff and students at no cost.

In June, Ark Elvin was announced the winner of the Excellence in Mental Health – Secondary Award, at Place2Be’s Wellbeing in Schools Awards 2022. Staff had the pleasure of spending an evening at BAFTA in London, where Ark Elvin was celebrated for championing and utilising Place2Be services to improve the mental health and wellbeing of the school’s community.

At Ark Elvin the ethos of “No-one gets left behind” is a code that we live by.

More information

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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