Blog

Wellbeing should be timetabled alongside English and Maths, study suggests

23rd November 2018

A recent article published in The Telegraph recommended schools have a Head of Wellbeing. HKS have benefitted from the appointment of a Head of Wellbeing since January 2017. Mrs Stooksbury, has a background of safeguarding and child protection and oversees the wellbeing area of all pupils, staff and indeed parents. Since appointment, Mrs Stooksbury has up-skilled in a plethora of related courses, including domestic violence, bereavement,  and bullying. She also attended a course in Youth Mental Health First Aid which has given her the skills to counsel pupils and suggest ways to increase their resilience to everyday challenges. She is also a CEOP ( Child Exploitation and Online Protection) Ambassador and monitors and records all web based activity within the school.

Regular intervention within the classroom takes place with Mrs Stooksbury, for example, talking about mindfulness, wellbeing, online safety and anti-bullying. She is readily available for individual or small group chats, discussions and advice. She has an email wellbeing@hkschool.org.uk that we encourage pupils to use to send confidential messages or more general conversation.

At our school we all work together to promote wellbeing. PSHCE and enrichment lessons give pupils opportunities to rehearse life skills needed for the future. Twice a year all staff and pupils complete a wellbeing survey and results are collated and discussions had with pupils or staff who score below the average mark. Hopefully from that conversation any problems can be helped.

As a member of the senior leadership team, Mrs Stooksbury has responsibility for sharing concerns or patterns of behaviour that need addressing or responding to at senior level. She is highly valued and a key member of the school staff.

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Teacher's are the third biggest influence on people's lives

20th November 2018

According to a recent report by the Times Education Supplement. Teachers are the third biggest influence on people’s lives –after their parents.  64% of people surveyed say that they are grateful to at least one teacher for inspiring the person they are today.

At HKS our small class sizes and high teacher:pupil ratio all help to create strong and positive relationships. Our staff know the children well and our excellent pastoral team work hard to ensure any problems are quickly resolved. Tools such as the school council, wellbeing surveys and group pupil interviews allow pupil voice to be shared, responded to and celebrated as appropriate.

At our recent Alumni Dinner, stories were retold around the table, memories shared and photographs scoured for a glimpse of their younger self. The past pupils talked warmly about the staff, enthused about the trips and their time spent at school. All of the pupils who came have moved on and are pursuing careers in medicine, education and other professional roles.

As teachers and staff at a school, we occupy privileged positions in shaping the lives of children. We are all incredibly proud to think that we have contributed so positively to the lives of our alumni and we aim to continue to make that positive difference each and every day with our current pupils.

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Screen time

12th November 2018

Between 2011 and 2017 the number of hours dedicated to PE in state-funded secondary schools fell by 5 per cent at key stage 3 and by 21 per cent at key stage 4. PHSE lessons have also reduced dramatically; they have almost halved for KS4 pupils. PE and PSHE are not the only subjects to see a cut in hours. There has been a drop in the amount of time spent on music, art and drama.

The government has said that all pupils must be taught about good physical and mental health from 2020, with mental resilience, developing confidence and recognising when they or others are struggling with poor mental health among the subjects that pupils can expect to be taught as part of compulsory health education proposals.

Being all things to all people – particularly in the sphere of education – is demanding albeit not impossible. Is it just about HKS topping the Wyre Forest league of GCSE results?

At Heathfield Knoll School all pupils, including in Early Years, receive a balanced yet broad curriculum. PE specialist teaching starts in Reception and school representation across a plethora of sports begins in Year 4 - everything from triathlon to tri golf and hockey to horse riding. The two games / PE curriculum slots facilitate coaching and practice in addition to fixtures with other independent and local Wyre Forest schools. Music groups start in Early Years and the new Director of Music, Mrs Cain, is responsible for the vertical organisation of music across the school. The new position of teacher of drama and English is also strategically important as our creative curriculum develops further. Use of timetabled enrichment slots continue to be hugely popular and include, for example, wellbeing lessons (the donkeys, part of this programme for younger children, will make a welcome return to school in the near future)! Our pupil happiness survey has just been completed in school this week.

The pressures on our young people have never been more demanding. A 2018 study concluded that the average school pupil today is likely to have spent a staggering 20 years of their life on screen time by the time they reach 80 years of age – and this does not include screen time associated with ‘work’ of any kind. Keeping our children fit and healthy, in both mind and body, requires an holistic approach to education that offers breadth, challenge and (fun) engagement in equal measure. I believe we are achieving the right balance at HKS but there is no room for complacency; use of the newly installed astropitch and cross-curricular STEAM learning space are some of the developments that will help to ensure we continue to meet our vision.

 

  

 

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