Here at The Priory School we are keen to cultivate the emotional, physical and cognitive development of our students. This work pervades all areas of the community from the delivery of the curriculum to the support the year teams provide.
Each year group has a team consisting of form tutors, a Head of Year and an Assistant Head of Year. This team moves with the student from Year 7 to Year 11 allowing time for the building of relationships and trust. In addition, there are non-teaching pastoral staff: Julie Laycock (Wellbeing Manager) and Sam Brazier (Attendance & Behaviour Manager). The team tracks the academic progress of each student and they liaise with Lawrence Foster (Deputy Headteacher Behaviour & Attendance) and Katie Southall (Head of Student Wellbeing) as well as the Heads of Department in order to ensure that appropriate interventions are in place to support our students.
The team closely monitors and supports the emotional wellbeing of the students in their year group.
Emotional and Physical Wellbeing Surveys
All Year 7, Year 8, Year 9 and Year 10 students complete an annual Wellbeing Survey. The survey is composed of questions that have been discussed and modified based on the needs or areas of concern of a cohort. Results of these surveys are closely analysed by the Head of Year and Wellbeing team in order to ensure that students are receiving the support that they need and that whole school issues are being addressed. Actions are agreed with the Wellbeing Manager (Julie Laycock) and the Assistant Headteacher for Student Wellbeing & Personal Development (Katie Southall).
Support and Information
At school, we have a dedicated Wellbeing base that students can use for break and lunchtime “drop ins” as well as to access 1:1 mentoring and counselling support. This resource is invaluable and has enabled students to worry less and engage with their learning. We have a range of external services that work in school to deliver counselling, dramatherapy as well as CBT.
We utilise services such as Phase, Step 2, GRIT, CAMHS and Tilehouse Counselling to name a few.
Our in-house provision is excellent. We have a Wellbeing Manager who is also a fully qualified counsellor (Julie Laycock) as well as a second counsellor (Adam Laycock). We are also a successful counselling placement school where we accept Level 4 and Level 5 trainee counsellors. Our in-house Wellbeing team work with students, parents and staff.
Students also receive assemblies and form time sessions around wellbeing and mental health. Annually, we run a wellbeing day for our main feeder primary schools and we have events such as wellbeing week, feeling good week and a mental health awareness fair.
Staff also receive training in LGBT+ support and self-harm awareness. The Assistant Headteacher for Student Wellbeing regularly reviews the training needs of staff, ensuring the pastoral staff in particular receive Mental Health First Aid training. Every half term parents have an opportunity to attend “parent information evenings” on topics such as the teen brain, LGBTQ+, Online Safety, general wellbeing, CAMHS services, exam support and dealing with anxiety. In early 2020, we were lucky enough to welcome Professor John Coleman to school to deliver a session to both parents and staff on the teen brain.
For more information and support, please see the full list of websites and material detailed below in the parent section.
Since 2015 we have been a proud Stonewall Champion school and in 2017 we welcomed Sir Ian McKellan to our school to meet with students and talk to them about LGBTQ+ related issues.
Since 2016 we have held and chaired the North Hertfordshire Pastoral Leads network in order to bring together colleagues to share good practise in the area of wellbeing and mental health.
In 2016 and 2017 we held a successful Wellbeing Conference for teaching staff and students where we welcomed more than 20 schools and over 400 people to learn more about wellbeing provision in secondary school. Professor Jim McManus opened the first conference by saying “bringing students and staff together to work on a mental health strategy had never been done before” and that he was proud to be part of it.
In February 2019 we were the first school to be awarded the Health & Wellbeing award from Hertfordshire County Council.
Citizenship (delivered during form time) and RSHE incorporate mental health and physical health. The RSHE curriculum starts with discussions around the 5 Ways to Wellbeing and how students can actively use them to support their own wellbeing. Year 9 also have a sex education day (for more information please see the RSHE & Citizenship section of the website).
If you would like more information on our RSHE & Citizenship programme please contact Katie Southall (Assistant Headteacher for Student Wellbeing & Personal Development).
If you are looking for more information to look after your own wellbeing and emotional health or you feel you need some support, this is a comprehensive list of services, websites and charities that are able to give you the support, information and help that you need.
www.likeitis.org.uk (Sexual Health)
www.fpa.org.uk (Sexual Health)
www.thesite.org (General Info)
These websites have been checked for suitability but we cannot be responsible for the pages or suitability of the links.