How do we develop students’ confidence, resilience, and knowledge so that they can keep themselves mentally healthy?
All students from years 7-11 have a weekly PSHE lesson. These lessons are age appropriate and relevant to keeping our students safe and aware of potential risks online and offline which may affect their well-being.
Mental health and well-being support are signposted around the school, reminding our students how to access support, should they need it.
We run a project specifically for our Year 9 black boys that allows them to explore their identity, culture, masculinity and well-being. This project is run by the much-acclaimed artist and mental health researcher, Kay Rufai.
We also facilitate a programme run by the Kiyan Prince Foundation with students identified in Year 11 that would benefit from life-coaching. This programme looks at supporting students to have a positive outlook and consider their decision-making options to keep themselves safe.
In addition, the following also support the well-being of our students:
- Assemblies: These are held well-being led by our Mental Health lead and raised awareness of the ‘Ask Twice’ campaign. This is a campaign we support all year round.
- Year 7 & 8 mentors: Our Year 12 students become ‘buddies’ for Year 7 and 8 students and this helps those being mentored to recognise that they truly are known and loved in our school community.
- Five Fingers of Faith: In Year 7 our students are introduced to this concept. Students are encouraged to identify five members of staff they would be comfortable talking to if they had an issue they would like to discuss. The staff named might be a Form Tutor, Head of Year or a teacher/member of non-teaching staff they happen to get on well with. The key is being aware of who these staff members are so that they can talk to someone readily should they need to. This is something that is then reaffirmed in Years 8-11.
- Student Welfare Manager: In ‘The Hub’ we have a safe space away from the main school where students can meet with our Student Welfare Manager and have a quiet moment should they need to. Our Welfare Manager also organises our in-school counsellors where appropriate.
- Pastoral Assistants for KS3 and KS4: Key Stage 3 (Years 7 and 8) and Key Stage 4 (Years 9, 10 and 11) have a dedicated Pastoral A These assistants are non-teaching staff which means that they will be more available for students to talk to should they need to.
- Feeling Good Week: In February, we enjoy a week of activities and events centred around ‘feeling good’ and looking after our well-being. Our Mental Health lead met with the School Council to discuss what the students would like us to do during the week and together they came up with a schedule of extracurricular activities for the week to promote well-being for all.
- #WakeupWednesdays: We include all stakeholders in our well-being awareness work and to this end, every Wednesday we have #WakeupWednesdays which is produce by the National Online Safety. This is a one-page document on one aspect of well-being – it could be linked to online or offline issues – and makes all stakeholders aware of potential risks to the well-being of students in an accessible and informative manner.
- Extracurricular sport: Many studies have been carried out into the benefits of keeping active and enjoying sport. We encourage our students (and staff through ‘Football Friday’ amongst other things) to engage with sport outside the school day. The extracurricular sport on offer this year can be viewed here. In addition, the school has an equipped gym and students are given instruction on how to use the equipment in the gym and are encouraged to use the gym when it is open to their Year group.
- Extracurricular activities: We run a range of clubs and societies during lunch breaks and after school. These are attended by a wide range of our students. Our current list of activities is here.
At Verulam, the Pastoral Programme promotes self-care, how to build resilience and self-confidence, raise aspirations, and achieve better outcomes in life. Designed using the concepts of SUMO by psychologist Paul McGee, they support students in understanding themselves as well as others, encouraging positive mental health. Click on the link below to access the 7 S.U.M.O questions to share with your child to support them in developing resilience.
Students have access to our Mental Health and Well-Being boards, which are placed around the school site. On these boards there are QR codes, which our students use to access external support and also information about where students can access support in school.
Form tutors are the key members of staff when it comes to promoting positive well-being and will always be on hand to support students to develop into happy and healthy young adults.
At Verulam, our pastoral care system is designed to support students with a range of experiences that they may face. Sometimes, we may need to help students when they are suffering from poor wellbeing, whether that be emotionally, psychologically, physically or socially, and there are a number of ways both within the school and by utilising services outside of school that we can do this. Please contact the school to have a conversation with a member of the pastoral team should you want to find out more.
Safeguarding our students
Verulam School is committed to the safety and protection of all our pupils. Our Deputy Headteacher, Miss Perry, is our Lead Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL), who is supported by 7 other members of the Safeguarding team, also known as the Fab 8 click here.
Our DSLs can be contacted by calling the school on 01727 766100 or by emailing DSL@verulam.aat.school