children talking outside sat on benches

Mental Health Awareness Week

Posted: 20th May 2024

Mental Health Awareness Week this week is celebrated by millions around the UK and has become increasingly visible since its launch by the Mental Health Foundation over 20 years ago in 2001. 

There is no doubt that we have come on leaps and bounds as a society in our discussions, awareness and empathy for mental health. 

Central to this is the key role schools play in discussing mental health and why it is just as important to preserve, protect and nurture your mental health as much as your physical health. 

Here at Hampton Court House, this belief is in our DNA and we are proud to say that our thinking on mental health has always been central to our culture and ahead of the times. 

And where we have led, others have followed, vindicating our approach to children’s mental health. Our longstanding belief in prioritising wellbeing as part of our pastoral care provision is now becoming more mainstream because more and more schools now understand the simple fact that happy children learn best. 

Nevertheless, what we do here – our particular brand of what we like to call “purposeful informality” – is still very unique. So how would we define it? 

First, we are proud to be neither a hothouse school nor too liberal. Pupil voice is a vital part of what makes us tick, giving our students of all ages a say in the running of the school and on issues which are important to them.  Being heard and listened to boosts self-esteem and wellbeing for all of us but is particularly important for children who are growing up. 

Our staff are called by first names to boost the cohesion of our school community and break down barriers which all too often can be imposed by an approach which is too rigorous and invokes anxiety. 

Similarly, children do not have to wear uniform. Again, we believe a strict adherence to uniform can create unnecessary barriers and restrictions when children need to lean in and be happy in class and around the school in order to get the very best out of the holistic education we provide. 

Hand in hand with this, we have an extensive PSHE programme with twice weekly lessons for all pupils to discuss a variety of issues such as gender inequality and cyberbullying and wellbeing and concern boxes, which are stationed around the school, as well as a Tootoot app for all pupils which encourages them to report any mental health issues.  

We are also very proud that we are one of the only schools in the country to provide inhouse sessions from children’s mental health charity, Place2Be. 

This means children can and are encouraged to discuss their feelings in a safe environment. 

In the last year, we have also scored another first for our pupils’ wellbeing with the introduction of our concert-style ‘Yondr’ pouches so pupils’ phones are locked away during the school day, giving them freedom from their devices so they can learn and interact more freely. 

We believe that measures like these and our approach add the purpose into that informality and we will be celebrating this Mental Health Awareness Week knowing and being extremely proud that what we do at Hampton Court House makes a difference to our pupils’ mental health 365 days a year. 

Categories: News