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Mental Health & Wellbeing

We believe mental health & wellbeing should be a holistic approach including physical and emotional.  We believe to be successful, mental health & wellbeing strategies must be seen as the tread that links all of our work in school and the community together; from the welcome and transition in the morning, the relationships children develop with adults and peers, through to the curriculum that is taught. 

At Birch Hill we are committed to supporting the mental health and wellbeing of our pupils and staff to ensure that the school is a community where everyone feels able to develop their aspirations.  Positive mental health and wellbeing is essential if everyone is to flourish and lead fulfilling lives.

We know that everyone experiences life challenges that can make us vulnerable and at times anyone may need additional support. We take the view that mental health and wellbeing is everybody’s responsibility and that we all have a role to play. 

All classteachers are able to provide children with support and encouragement.  They are empathic and good at listening able to manage the majority of children's needs.  In addition, with programmes such as PSHE and Circle Time classteachers will support children's emotional and developmental well-being.  

In addition to this we can offer;

Emotional Support Literacy Assistants (ELSA)
Emotional Literacy Support Assistants are Teaching Assistants (TAs) who have attended a 5 day training course, via the Local Authority.  Examples of things covered by ELSAs are Social skills, emotions, bereavement, therapeutic stories, anger management, self-esteem, counselling skills such as solution focused and friendship.


Brodie (and Gaye) - Read with Dog 
Reading to Dogs is a programme offered by Pets As Therapy and has been proven to help children build confidence, through both the calming effect the dogs' presence has on children and the fact that the dog will listen to the children read without being judgemental or critical.  Brodie and his handler come in weekly.  

Play Therapy Counsellor 
Counselling offers children a safe space to express and think about things which are troubling them. The counsellor facilitates this, through a range of creative play, talking and listening; thinking with the child about how they make sense of and manage their difficulties and how they might do it differently.

We can provide a professional, confidential counselling service based in school. It offers one to one therapeutic counselling for pupils, consultation and support to parents and support in enhancing the pastoral systems across the school.

Wellbeing Advice from NHS for Parents

We work closely with the local Mental Health Support Team (MHST) and use many of their resources.  The Thrive Model is well recognised and referred model by the MHST.  Many of the services and advice we offer will stem from the Getting Advice and Getting Help aspect of this model.  We offer Parent Anxiety Workshop run by the Getting Help Team. 

Useful links

Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families -

Every Mind Matters -

Dealing with anxiety - minds

Children's Mental Health Week Resources -

Parents’ survival guide -

Department of Education - Mental Health in School Information -