MILLBROOK Primary School, Stalybridge, has won an important award for looking after the emotional wellbeing of its pupils and their families.
AcSEED, a national charity concerned with promoting emotional wellbeing in schools, has formally recognised Millbrook’s excellence following a stringent process of looking into how the school supports its pupils and their families.
The Bank Road school runs music and art therapy for its pupils, as well as grief counselling for both children and adults.
The school has arranged pastoral groups for children who have experienced having parents in prison and every class has a forest school session each week.
The school has ‘bubble time’ which allows children to check in with the relevant school staff if they are worried about any issues.
It has also organised MASK – Millbrook Ambassadors Support for Kids – which helps children to support other pupils which might impact on their emotional wellbeing, which could be anything from illness, bereavement or the stress of a move to their parents’ relationship breakdown or the loss of a pet.
As well as its routine wellbeing activities, Millbrook holds an annual health and wellbeing week when children and families participate in activities to do with mindfulness, yoga, meditation and play therapy.
Expert visitors are invited into school to run workshops for children and their parents and carers.
Leanne Connelly, pastoral lead at Millbrook School, said: “To achieve their true potential, children must have their emotional needs met, and we aim to give the best support we can.
“We’ve been really grateful for the support we’ve had from other organisations.
“For instance, Tameside and Glossop MIND ran mindfulness training with staff, and advised us on how to work with vulnerable parents.
“We were able to increase the confidence of the parents and their relationships with their children and the school, and as well as helping in practical ways it was fun.”
Leanne herself is currently training to be a counsellor. She has undertaken grief counselling, art therapy, play therapy, mindfulness and attachment therapy training as well as a level two counselling course and is now working towards her level three certificate.
Cllr Leanne Feeley, Tameside Council’s executive member for lifelong learning, added: “Tameside Council is proud of Millbrook Primary School for receiving this award and for the high standards of care and education its children benefit from.
“The support Millbrook provides for its pupils and their families has meant that no external referrals have had to be made for them, because the school itself has been able to address their needs and work with their families to help support that need.
“It’s about relationships with parents, and prevention rather than cure, and the school very much has a holistic approach to ensuring the wellbeing of the children and their families.
“The children learn useful techniques, such as asking effective questions and active listening skills, so they’re better able to help and support each other through difficult times.
“They’re learning life skills which will benefit their mental health in the long term.”