BSCS recognised for student-led health and wellbeing work

Photo of Jemina Paramore accepting the 'Health in Schools' Gold Award from Sarah Godsell.

Staff and students at Bradley Stoke Community School (BSCS) are celebrating the achievement of an award which recognises excellent practice in the promotion of health and wellbeing for everyone within the school community.

South Gloucestershire Council’s ‘Health in Schools’ programme brings together the best evidence-based health promotion practice and sets achievable challenges to improve health and wellbeing. The potential benefits of the scheme also go beyond health, as research shows that when children are happy at school,
they achieve more.

The Bradley Stoke school had already been recognised with the Bronze (2016) and Silver (2017) awards, but it has now become one of only three schools across the local authority area to achieve the top Gold award.

One of the main initiatives to have been introduced at the school is the training of Year 11 peer mentors, focussed on supporting incoming Year 7 students during their transition between primary and secondary school. The older students attend transition days in the summer, as well as parent events. When initially launched, the scheme saw around ten students volunteering to be mentors, but this year the number has risen to over 30.

Other strands of student leadership that have been introduced at the school include anti-bullying ambassadors, time-to-talk mentors and EAL (English as an additional language) mentors.

In an effort to challenge the stigma around mental health, the school promotes the concept that body and mind are connected and it encourages conversations about health in general, defined to include both physical health and emotional health. Wellbeing ambassadors are recognisable to other students around the school as they all wear a distinctive pink lanyard.

Elsewhere, the school’s Student Council has had a say in changing the food supplier in order to improve the range of food options and a student support group has been established that meets weekly.

As part of their work towards achieving the Gold award, the student leaders created a video which explores the training they underwent and gathers feedback from some of the peer students they have supported.

Graphic showing feedback from Year 7 students on health and wellbeing initiatives at BSCS.

Susie Beresford-Wylie, director of student support and Olympus Academy Trust safeguarding lead, said:

“We are immensely proud of the student leadership in the school. The culture of students supporting students with their emotional health and wellbeing is a real strength in BSCS and we know it makes such a difference being able to talk to someone who is nearer to your own age.”

“It is fantastic to see the Year 11 peer mentors sitting and talking to groups of Year 7 students to help them settle in school and overcome any worries they may have. The development of student leadership for emotional health and wellbeing in the school over recent years has added to this and we now have a solid foundation of student-to-student support and students leading change in their own school. We know that our students will continue to develop this work and are 100 percent committed to working with staff to further improve the school’s provision.”

“As the only school in the locality to receive this Gold Award for Mental Health, we couldn’t be prouder of the student leadership team and their video has been shared far and wide and will, we know, help support other schools in developing their approach to tackling mental health and the support that young people sometimes need.”

Photo of BSCS student leaders along with some of the staff that support them in their roles.

Photos – Top: BSCS head girl Jemina Paramore (right) accepts the Gold Award from Sarah Godsell. Above: Student leaders along with some of the staff that support them in their roles.

Related link: Promoting health and wellbeing in school settings (SGC)

This article originally appeared in the November/December 2019 issue of the Bradley Stoke Journal magazine (on pages 14 & 15). The magazine is delivered FREE, EVERY MONTH (except August), to ALL 8,700 homes in Bradley Stoke. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.

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