Student Wellbeing at the Heart of the School
Wellbeing is crucial to success.
As a School we recognise that girls, staff (and boys in the Sixth Form) need to feel happy, healthy and successful to achieve their goals. Far too often the stresses, strains and pressures of everyday life hamper this. The pressures young people face today are far greater than those of their parents mainly because of social media and the fact that students are bombarded with images of what they should look like, articles on how to harm themselves and indoctrination by online groups targeting young women and men. Girls also put pressures on themselves to achieve highly and have very high expectations, comparing themselves to their peers. The government enforced changes regarding exams, league tables and assessment without levels mean that teachers face more and more pressures to ensure our students achieve even higher grades. This is not always healthy and we are looking at setting more realistic targets, without lowering our superb standards. There needs to be a balance where stretch and challenge are supported by support and guidance.
At West Kirby Grammar, we recognise that everyone is different and try to get the girls and boys to be proud of who they are and to develop and grow their own personal attributes without worrying about comparison. Staff are supported to develop their curriculum areas and we try to use the best of the old whilst introducing the new, without throwing the baby out with the bathwater!
Recently, we established our Student Wellbeing Committee. This is a group of girls who showed a real interest in wellbeing; a committed team of young people who wish to focus on improving well-being across the school. They have lots of energy and ideas.
Well Being Committee are pictured below - (Chairperson Fran Walsh was ill! when photo was taken!)
The Wellbeing Committee meet weekly to discuss how we can support all students and staff to be healthier in mind, body and spirit. They led assemblies last week, introducing the committee and explaining what well-being means to them. They run a drop in centre on Mondays where girls can go for a chat, do some activities and have a drink and a snack. They have written a policy with clear aims which will be displayed in each classroom and they have started showering the school with positive thoughts. It is wonderful that the committee want to take ownership of this initiative and have plans to support students and staff to make our community even more aware of what we can do to help ourselves and each other to be fulfilled, happy and successful.
Here is their policy and their statement regarding Wellbeing:-
West Kirby Well Being 2016
What is “well-being?”…….
Well-being is to feel happy, fulfilled, confident and comfortable in your own skin; - proud of who you are, your skills and achievements.
- To have a healthy fit and active body and mind – to eat, sleep, work and play well.
- To be able to bounce back even when things go wrong.
- To not feel stressed, to be content and able to cope with problems.
- To be positive – focussing on the good things that happen and able to deal with the bad
Pressures we face:-
- Being judged and judging
- True friendship? What is it – silly fall-outs often lead to bitchiness
- Appearance- thinking or being told we are too fat, skinny/spots/hair, make-up –
- Identity-everyone compares and judges so often we try to be something we are not.
- Friendships – arguments, jealousies, gossip, and social media-snap chat – trust
- Family – siblings-arguments, finances, health/illness – not being understood
- School- exams, achievements – A/B not good enough-not wanting to appear stupid so don’t ask for help – thick! Having to take GCSEs parents want not what girls want.
- Being singled out –scared of being different or getting things wrong in class or elsewhere.
- “The in crowd” – some students seem to be the “hip and popular” ones, fashionable and noisy – others feel left out or are made to feel like under-dogs -this shouldn’t happen or matter but it does.
- For everyone to be happy in school – staff and students-even when things go wrong -be able to bounce back.
- To promote kindness, tolerance and mutual respect across the School community and bring people together.
- Support others especially if they feel lonely or sad.
- Include others by accepting and embracing differences – be proud of our own and other’s identity.
- Nobody should feel alone or isolated.
- To help each other to be self-confident and not to be afraid of failure.
- Further develop positive student/student and student teacher relationships. -To ensure that help is on hand to support everyone deal with pressures.
- Ensure students feel comfortable in seeking help, know where to go for support and have appropriate help
- Develop a healthy understanding of “healthy” – life style, body image, diet – healthy eating and exercise.
- To provide help with time management and organisation where it is needed.
- Give guidance and share techniques to help students take responsibility and ownership for their own learning
- To help with managing targets – are they realistic? We are not all A* students….and that doesn’t matter!
- Enable students to make realistic career choices and have clear aspirations for the future…we are not all going to be doctors or vets so appropriate careers and pathways advice will be given.
They have many ideas and are keen to support students and staff to achieve these aims. The Wellbeing committee were behind the Christmas Classroom Decoration competition in their endeavour to get tutor groups to work together. They run a session every Monday where students can drop in for a chat or to do some activities and they have put positive thoughts around the School and issued a card with a “Thought for the day” on to all staff and students. This is only the beginning….we are determined to be the happiest school community in England, where all are valued and respected for what they bring to our family. If you have any ideas or wish to be more involved in helping us achieve our aims please contact the committee via the website.