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This award, led by Carnegie School of Education and Minds Ahead CIC, ensures schools are using evidence-based approaches, aligned to the latest professional guidelines surrounding mental health.
Through its competency-based framework, Harrogate Grammar School has been able to use the structure of the award to evidence the way it has embraced leadership and strategy, support for staff and students as well as its work with parents, carers and external agencies.
In looking through the evidence presented, and in speaking with the school lead, the external verifier has commented on the many strengths of the school’s approach, one being the effect it is having on the school’s culture.
There has been a cultural shift in terms of commitment to wellbeing and mental health. Leaders, including governors, are very supportive of the mental health and wellbeing agenda. They are very clear this is the right thing to do.
The award also acknowledges that Harrogate Grammar School has used the process to very good effect in developing mental health strategies, structures and practices. This includes the work with St Michaels Hospice in piloting the Just B emotional wellbeing service, training a number of staff, including all of the Senior Leadership Team, to be Mental Health First Aiders (MHFA) as well as its work with the Alex Timpson Attachment and Trauma Programme, which has directly influenced a new relationships and behaviour policy. The school has also been very fortunate to work with Pat Sowa, a MHFA Trainer, who is a great advocate for this agenda but has also been a huge supporter of the school and Red Kite Learning Trust.
Tim Milburn, Deputy Headteacher, who has co-ordinated work towards this award, is pleased with the recognition it brings, but is also keen to use it as a driver to do even more.
Tim Milburn, Deputy Headteacher, said:
Mental health and wellbeing are intrinsically linked with schools. We take great pride that we have received this award and that it recognises the good work we have begun.
However, we also know there is more that we can do and working as a school, within the Red Kite Learning Trust and with our community partners, we know we can achieve even more for the community we serve.
Harrogate Grammar School is working with a software company to develop an app that measures wellbeing, but also signposting students to appropriate and tailored support. It is also involved in work with the DfE to trial new resources to support relationship and sex education.
Neil Renton, Headteacher, said:
We are very proud to achieve the Carnegie Centre of Excellence for Mental Health Award at silver level, recognising the impact of a number of initiatives and changes that have been implemented at Harrogate Grammar School. We appreciate that mental health and wellbeing constantly changes as young people face challenges in their daily lives and hope that our future work in this area will help us to further develop and achieve the gold award.