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St Walburga's Catholic Primary School


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Mental Health and Wellbeing

Mental Health and Wellbeing at St Walburga’s School.

One of our key focuses and passions at St Walburga’s is promoting positive mental health and wellbeing of our pupils, staff and school community.  This is such an important focus as it is vital to enable children to flourish in all aspects of life and we know that children learn best when they feel safe and secure.

Children's wellbeing is a combination of their physical, mental, emotional and social health. These aspects all contribute to wellbeing, and it's important for parents, carers and educators to foster positive wellbeing in our children from an early age.

We promote a whole school culture of positive wellbeing through:

  • Building positive relationships within our school community
  • Encouraging class discussions around mental health and strategies for promoting positive wellbeing
  •  Daily physical activity
  • Promoting our school mission statement and learning values  
  • Wellbeing areas, including worry boxes, in classes/around school to allow children to communicate with adults around them
  • Scarf PHRE curriculum
  • 10/10 PHRE curriculum
  • Encouraging a feeling of self-worth through children taking responsibility for helping within our school community

As well as providing children with opportunities to communicate openly about their worries, we also promote positivity across all aspects of school life. For example, frequent praise, stickers, housepoint rewards, green cards for good behaviour, weekly ‘learning champions’ and ‘super role models’ celebrated in whole school assembly.


Changes in children’s mental health and wellbeing.

Life experiences and difficulties can make us more vulnerable to developing mental health problems. There are a range of indicators that parents or school staff may notice in children, such as:

  • Changes in behaviour
  • An unwillingness to participate in things that children used to like
  • Withdrawing from family life and being with friends
  • Persistent low mood
  • Crying more than usual
  • Increased or persistent irritability or aggression
  • Ongoing or sudden onset of poor sleep patterns
  • Bed wetting
  • Lack of appetite

Open communication between school and home is key to addressing any wellbeing or mental health concerns. Our Pastoral Support Worker, ELSA practitioners, Inclusion Leader and staff work together to support children and their families.  Our ELSA’s have specialist training from Educational Psychologists and lots of experience in helping children with friendships, anxiety, bereavement, behaviour management and family matters. Their aim is to address barriers to learning and to have happy children in school and at home.

Please always come in and talk to us if you are worried about your child’s mental health and wellbeing.

We use a range of strategies to support children, such as ELSA/Pastoral Support Worker sessions, use of our sensory room, mindfulness and access to resources which are focused on promoting discussions about feelings.  



Although we try to focus on positive emotions, children often need help with managing more difficult emotions such as anger. ‘Young Minds’ state: ‘Anger is a normal and healthy reaction when things don’t go the way we expected, life feels unfair or people upset or hurt us. It can be a helpful thing - letting us know that something is wrong or not okay with us. It’s normal for children and young people to find it difficult to manage their angry feelings sometimes.'

Their website offers ideas and advice for parents and carers to help children manage anger:


Anxiety is a normal emotion in us all, but sometimes it can get out of control and become a mental health problem. It’s important to talk to your child about their anxiety or worries. Reassure them and try to think of solutions to help address the anxiety. Regular discussions about mental health and feelings at school and home can help to reduce the stigma around mental health by increasing our understanding of it.


Saying goodbye

Sometimes children may struggle settling into school or saying goodbye in the mornings, even as they get older. This book may help children to understand that their adults are not far away:  The Invisible String


These are the five main areas linked to positive mental health and wellbeing for children and adults.

· Connect - with each other, with friends, with family

· Be active – exercise, keep moving and be active

· Take notice - of what is going on around you  

· Give – your time to help others

· Keep learning – learn new skills



Sleep is important for everyone, especially young children. Sleep Foundation states that ‘Sleep is an essential building block for your child’s mental and physical health. In addition to having a direct effect on happiness, research shows that sleep impacts alertness and attention, cognitive performance, mood, resiliency, vocabulary acquisition, and learning and memory.’ Bedtime routines are vital to promoting good sleep habits. Their website provides some good ideas for ‘Bedtime Dos and Don’ts’.

‘The Great Outdoors’

Experiencing the ‘great outdoors’ is beneficial for both children and adults. Some of the ways we provide these experiences in school are

  • Forest School
  • Participating in the ‘daily mile’
  • Use of outdoor equipment at playtimes
  • Foundation Sport leading sessions at lunchtimes


Indoor games for winter. It can be hard to get outside, especially during the winter. Some ideas for active indoor activities can be found on the NHS website:

Grounding Techniques

Grounding is an effective way of helping children by using their senses to reduce anxiety. This video provides more information:


Five practical ideas for supporting children's wellbeing:

  1. Playing outside - explore, discover, climb and run.
  2. Help a friend or neighbour. Can you draw or make something that will make them smile?
  3. Use emotional language (I can see you look upset/worried/angry) to help children understand and name their own feelings.
  4. Go on a ‘senses walk’ - and think of all of the things that you can see, hear, smell and feel.
  5. Talk together to think of something you are grateful for at the beginning and end of every day.



Useful resources/websites:

Children’s mental health information - Place2be:

BCP Signposting for Mental Health

NHS Every Mind Matters

Mind and DMYH - Dorset Mind Your Head

Wellbeing activities:

Cosmic Kids Yoga:

Calm Zone, Yoga, breathing exercises and more: