A Middlesbrough school has won recognition for supporting its pupils’ mental health and wellbeing.
In achieving the prestigious HeadStart Gold Award Ayresome Primary School demonstrated its commitment to helping children develop resilience and learn about social, emotional and mental health issues.
HeadStart was introduced to promote good emotional health for all Middlesbrough’s children and young people through early support and prevention.
It is estimated that three pupils in every classroom will develop a diagnosable emotional or mental health condition.
Schools are awarded a quality rating ranging from bronze to gold, with gold demonstrating the school has embedded emotional resilience throughout school, from policy to practice. Achievement of the gold standard follows rigorous inspection and audit.
At Ayresome all staff deliver activities designed to raise awareness of emotional wellbeing, and where to go for help.
A dedicated team of pastoral staff is on hand as required, helping to identify vulnerable children and get them the support they need.
A wide range of extra-curricular clubs helps children develop their self-esteem and confidence and build positive relationships.
Pupils have also attended a conference to raise awareness of the issues and the school now has its own HeadStarters group.
The HeadStart programme is funded by Middlesbrough Council and South Tees CCG.
Ayresome Primary Headteacher Lisa Biggin said: “Emotional health and wellbeing are the cornerstones of a happy, well-rounded childhood, and that’s why we’re fully committed to embedding the principles and outcomes of HeadStart into everything we do.
“The Gold Award demonstrates our commitment to doing everything we can to support the mental health of pupils and staff to help everyone achieve their full potential.”
Councillor Jan Brunton Dobson, Middlesbrough Council’s Executive Member for Education and Skills, said: “Primary school years are the foundation that shape the lives of all our young people, and that’s why initiatives like HeadStart are so important.
“Ayresome’s commitment will ensure a great many young people are equipped with the resilience and emotional intelligence to deal with whatever life throws at them.
“Equally importantly, they will have the confidence to seek help when they need it.”