Update: Student Well-Being at The Romsey School

At The Romsey School we are very keen on our students having a proactive approach to their physical and mental well-being. Our well-being provision includes many aspects of ‘Romsey’ which have been part of the fabric of the school for years such as:

  • Having an inclusive and supportive culture which allows students to be confident to be themselves
  • Outstanding pastoral care which is frequently cited as a ‘model’ to visiting schools
  • Superb and respectful working relationships between staff and students
  • Excellent Teaching and Learning which engages students in each lesson
  • An excellent tutor programme
  • A well-established extra-curricular programme which includes a wide variety of clubs to suit all tastes and give our students a plethora of opportunities
  • A wide range of student support programmes through Learning Support, The Inclusion Unit (now called The Student Support Centre) and Pastoral Office (now called The Student Support Hub)
  • Close links with external agencies should our students need further intervention for their well-being that is beyond the scope/expertise of our school

In addition to the above, we have also embarked on a number of new developments recently which we hope will further enhance our students’ well-being. Our mission statement is very clear:

All members of the Romsey School community actively value, educate and support young people and each other on their journey to well-being, enabling all members of the community to flourish

The current initiatives that are supporting this vision are explained below and we welcome further suggestions from you as we seek to further cultivate student well-being over time.  

  1. The Romsey Rewards:

Our ‘Romsey Rewards’ is a brand new system of celebrating students’ achievements so that they feel pride in their efforts. This idea evolved from a Y10 and 11 student survey that took place during last Summer 2019.  Students said that they would like to feel that staff valued their efforts even more than they already do (particularly in the Upper School), and hence The ‘Romsey Rewards’ was established. These also tie in the house system, which we hope, will also help to establish a sense of belonging for our students.

Staff are given a number of ‘Romsey Reward’ tokens each half term and are expected to give these out for ‘exceptional’ effort by the end of each timeframe. When a student receives a ‘Romsey Reward’ token, the hope is that they feel very proud of themselves, and they then put the token into the correct ‘box’ for their house. The house with the highest number of tokens at the end of each half term wins! The results last half term are below, and Ashton had a non-school uniform day to celebrate.

  • Ashton (Blue) – 379
  • Marsham (Green) – 375
  • Stoke (Red) – 336
  • Templer (Yellow)- 315 

There will be an afternoon of Christmas fun for the winning house at the end of the next term. The points will accumulate throughout the year and the overall winning house will have the opportunity to attend a trip (more details to follow)!

Token Voting Point
  1. Well-Being through the ‘Tutor’ and ‘Hidden’ Curriculum:

As a school, we have adopted the NHS’ five steps to well-being and we will address these during assemblies, in tutor time and also in our conversations with students around the school. Each step is listed below and they give ways in which people can manage their own well-being in a proactive manner.

We will be taking each step in turn throughout this academic year and students will have the opportunity to learn about the importance of each one and then practice each during their tutor time. Staff will also seek to follow each of the steps as well and act as ‘role–models’ to our students where we can. Parents are warmly invited to promote these steps at home as well as at school.

Evidence suggests there are five steps we can all take to improve our mental wellbeing:

  1. Be active – you don’t have to go to the gym. Take a walk, go cycling or play a game of football. Walk or cycle to school. Find an activity that you enjoy and make it a part of your life. (Autumn 1)
  2. Give to others – even the smallest act can count, whether it’s a smile, a thank you or a kind word. Larger acts, such as volunteering at your local community centre, can improve your mental wellbeing and help you build new social networks. (Autumn 2)
  3. Be mindful – be more aware of the present moment, including your thoughts and feelings, your body and the world around you. Some people call this awareness “mindfulness”. It can positively change the way you feel about life and how you approach challenges. (Spring 1)
  4. Keep learning – learning new skills can give you a sense of achievement and a new confidence. So why not sign up for that cooking course, start learning to play a musical instrument, or figure out how to fix your bike? (Spring 2)
  5. Connect – connect with the people around you face to face: your family, friends, colleagues and neighbours. Spend time developing these relationships. (Summer 1)

We started with ‘Be Active’ during the first part of the Autumn Term, and each year group and Progress Leader took on the challenge with great enthusiasm as explained below!

Year Group Progress Leaders’ Reports
Miss Marlio Year 7 have taken part in trying to be the tutor group with the highest average steps. Pupils have been participating in clubs, outside sporting events and encouraging each other to be as active as possible in order to be top of the leaderboard. 7T and Mr Provan have been top of the leaderboard nearly every week! Well done to all involved! 
Mr Hampton Year 8 have been pledging to make a small change in their day to day activities. For some this included walking to school or taking the dog out. Others looked for inspiration further afield by completing cycle rides or other extracurricular activities. Pupils have understood the importance of small life changes in a bid to improve their activity within the working week, some have even led tutor activities and shared photos of their achievements with their fellow tutees! 
Mr Bettiss (for Miss Sherburn) Year 9 have been engaged in a step counting competition with weekly prizes being awarded to the tutor group with the highest average on any individual week. The overall prize will be awarded to the tutor group with the highest total steps after half term. It has been brilliant to see nearly every student in every tutor group making a contribution no matter how big or how small!
Miss Lloyd Year 10 have been actively participating in a bench ball tournament. This has proved very successful and we will be continuing this until Christmas. Tutor groups have also been working as a team to complete the ‘Year 10 Be Active challenge’ where they have 30 activities to try to complete.
Mrs Miller   What an energetic first half-term for Year 11 students who have thoroughly enjoyed taking part in the ‘Be Active’ challenge! They have been completing a series of mini challenges ranging from ‘cutting the grass’ to ‘taking part in a yoga session’, or being able to do ‘a wall-sit for 1 minute’ or ’40 star jumps’ with each activity being worth a certain amount of points and many Year 11 students and Year 11 tutors have commented on how fun this Be Active challenge has been! Well done Year 11!

Our current ‘step’ is ‘Give to Others’. We are hoping to use the opportunity of the new ‘Carers Together’ shop and café in Romsey. This will be linked to the school and will be a way in which our students can ‘give’, along with mission Christmas and our connection with Kenya. More details to follow!

  1. Think Ninja

We are launching an app called ‘Think-Ninja’ to all of our students during assemblies this week. This is free and has been designed to support young people’s mental well-being. It has been developed by a company called Helios and has been developed by the NHS clinical commissions group alongside NHS and CAMHS. It is a confidential service that has been designed to help students to learn to regulate and manage their emotions.  It includes:

  • Lots of tools which help the child to identify their feelings, thoughts and behaviours and raise their awareness of these, so that they can manage them
  • Exam Tips
  • Ideas to help sleep etc. 

It also includes a ‘step up’ service depending on need:

  • Level 1- A chat-bot which is an ‘automatic robot’ called Wise Ninja who directs the child to different information within the app. At level 1, the child is asked to rate their mood on a daily basis. If this is low two days in a row, then the child has the option to step up to Level 2
  • Level 2- Live chat with ‘coaches’ who are real psychologist via text. This can then be escalated to Level 3 if the psychologist identifies an additional need
  • Level 3- Telephone conversations or video counselling with parental permission. This would then be 4-6 sessions with clinicians who are not CAMHS level but trained in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. If Helios have concerns about a child’s well-being they will then be able to contact the parents.

To download the app, students should sign in with their school email account, then there is a registration form that they need to complete. It is open to all 11-18 year olds in Hampshire, so your child should enter their Date of Birth and a Hampshire postcode. If you live in Southampton, your child would need to use the school’s postcode which is SO51 8ZB and this will give them access. Please encourage your child to use the app if appropriate as it has a lot of potential to be very helpful.

  1. Group Therapy

We are lucky enough to have Miss Cope (Mental Health Practitioner) working at the school from next half term. Miss Cope has been working as an LSA and now her role will evolve to be able to support Mental Health. Miss Cope has an extensive history of working with vulnerable people with complex Mental Health needs, including working for CAMHS and it will be superb to have her expertise on board.

One of the ways in which she will be deployed is to lead student Group Therapy sessions with specific foci. These groups will be carefully devised by working closely with the Student Support Team. The sessions promise to really support those students who may need some extra intervention.

Miss Cope is also tasked with leading the staff body to have a deeper understanding of emotional regulation, so that tutors, teachers and support staff can work with students to help them to firstly be more aware of their emotions, and secondly to manage them to better effect.  We have already enjoyed two training sessions which have been very successful.

  • Mindfulness of Protected Characteristics

At The Romsey School we aim to be fully inclusive of all students including all protected characteristics such as disability, religion or belief, age, race and LGBT+ etc. We have strengths in celebrating many of these areas, but recently we have had feedback that there is some work to do with regard to catering for the LGBT+ community. As a result, we have set up a LGBT+ group for students who meet weekly to support each other and to propose ways in which the school can enhance our provision for this protected characteristic. If your child would like to join this group, please let Mrs Eagle know.

In addition to this, some staff have volunteered to wear rainbow lanyards to symbolise our inclusivity for all protected characteristics. This lanyard also tells any student who wants to talk about the possibility of being LGBT+ that those members of staff are approachable and happy to help. These colleagues have been trained to support in a non-judgmental manner. We welcome your thoughts as to how we can also develop our provision for the other protected characteristics.

  • Parental Communications

Our mission statement says ‘all members of the community’ and this includes parents. In this increasingly challenging world, it is important that we work with you as parents to help to enhance the well-being of all of our young people. It should be noted that we are not a health care provider (medical professionals are the best people to liaise with about any high level Mental Health concerns) but within the limits that we work, we hope to make a difference. One way to do this is to set up some communication with parents as to how you can help your child’s well-being. This will include information evenings to which parents are invited and more regular correspondence such as ‘tips to help’. Please let us know if you have any specific requests and we will do our best to accommodate these needs.  Many thanks in advance for working with us on these important developments.

Extra links which may be of interest:

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/mental-benefits-of-exercise/

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/improve-mental-wellbeing/

https://www.nutrition.org.uk/healthyliving/an-active-lifestyle/incorporating-activity-into-daily-life.html

www.raceatyourpace.co.uk – Challenges for cycling, swimming, running, walking and kids

Free cycle rides are available at www.letsride.co.uk These are brilliant fun and no one gets left behind.  The rides are led by a trained leader who plans a route, it is risk assessed by British Cycling and graded as to whether it is easy, steady or challenging. You can set up an account and add in your postcode and then book away.