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Boothroyd Primary praised for mental health initiatives

The Yorkshire primary academy has been awarded for its approach to ensuring the mental wellbeing of its staff, students and parents

Posted by Alex Diggins | July 27, 2018 | School life

Boothroyd Primary Academy in Dewsbury has been presented with the Carnegie Centre of Excellence Mental Health Award for Schools in recognition of its leadership of school-wide mental health initiatives

Boothroyd - an academy within Focus-Trust, a charitable multi-academy trust based in the North West of England - is one of the first schools in Yorkshire to receive the award which is organised by Leeds Beckett University.

“Our work is underpinned by a set of values in all fifteen of our primary academies which place importance on caring, sharing, being fair and daring to do things differently,” Helen Rowland, Chief Executive at Focus-Trust. “This is why we place huge emphasis on mental health and wellbeing; we understand that mental health is just as important as physical health, and is crucial to building our staff, parents and pupils’ individual resilience so that they can achieve their goals.”

Recognising that prevention is better than a cure, the school has worked to develop a whole school wellbeing strategy embedded in the curriculum which includes daily relaxation and mindfulness sessions, stress buster workshops to highlight relaxation techniques and mindfulness methods ahead of SATS examinations; as well as investments in a pastoral farmyard unit with live animals, and play therapy and sensory rooms to provide pupils with a safe haven.

Staff and parent wellbeing were also high up on the agenda, with a host of activities set up, including a relaxation room, free yoga and fitness sessions and ‘happiness’ workshops for staff, and a wellbeing fayre for parents which introduced mindfulness techniques and links to local support groups.

Headteacher Kyrstie Joslin said: “Looking after the mental health of staff and pupils is as important as their physical health, and has a massive impact on their achievement. Our whole school focus on mental health has raised awareness and taught our staff and students vital skills in resilience and critical thinking. We are delighted to have our efforts recognised with this award, a true testament to the hard work of our students, staff and parents on an incredibly important issue.”

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