Hendon School has redesigned and renamed its Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) programme calling it ‘Smart Futures’. The voice of pupils is the cornerstone of the school’s approach.
Hendon School is a co-educational secondary school based in the London Borough of Barnet. It has a tradition of strong pastoral support. A traumatic event within the school instigated a change in the way the school supports mental health. A broad, whole-school preventative approach was introduced, focused on issues of mental health among pupils and staff. The voice of pupils is the cornerstone of the school’s approach. Enabling children and staff to talk about emotional wellbeing is welcomed and encouraged.
The personal, social, and health education (PSHE) programme has been redesigned and rebranded as SMART Futures, with lessons devoted to developing resilience and emotional wellbeing. Across Years 7, 8 and 9 pupils receive 17 dedicated mental health and well-being lessons. There are also a range of targeted activities in mentoring time, dedicated theme days and guest speakers which pupils in all year groups can take part in. Pupils in key stages 4 and 5 have tailored experiences, particularly centred on resilience and exam stress. Suitable books, including those on the recommended book prescription list, and other published material, is made available to pupils, and this runs alongside a wide range of more targeted support for pupils and staff.
Pupils in Years 9, 10 and 11 have worked over the past 3 years to establish an annual Conference promoting emotional well-being and mental health. This has become a major event attracting over 350 delegates from across the education and health sector and considerable media interest. The young people at the heart of the Conference organisation gain a huge range of skills in leading and managing the event and continue to help keep the issues around emotional well-being central to the School. Through the Conference Barnet Council and Barnet, Haringey & Enfield Mental Health Trust have signed a Mental Health Charter to work together to improve services for mental health. The young people intend to hold them to their promises.
Hendon School also have a peer mentoring scheme and a school counsellor to further support mental health. They have commissioned a children and adolescent mental health service (CAMHS) worker and a member of staff is trained as a mental health first aid (MHFA) youth instructor. The MHFA youth instructor can train staff and students and is developing a range of additional specialist skills to support well-being. The annual well-being survey of students and staff in the school community shows the positive impact that investment in this work is having.
For further details, please contact Noelle Doona at DoonaN@hendonschool.co.uk