Secondary school scoops pioneering mental health award

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Outwood Academy Hasland Hall has achieved the School Mental Health Award which is delivered by the Carnegie Centre of Excellence for Mental Health in Schools. The academy was awarded a Gold standard for its outstanding mental health and wellbeing provision.

The Chesterfield-based academy provides a wide range of activities to boost the wellbeing of pupils and staff, including the development and implementation of a menopause policy for staff and a ‘Call it out culture’ which empowers students to challenge harmful language which has driven a change in unkind incidents. Praise culture is a priority in the school community with a focus on positive language and the ‘proud podium’ which showcases outstanding work done by students every week.

The school also has a well-embedded ‘Life’ curriculum which covers topic areas such as stress management, resilience, independence and self-esteem. Numerous national awareness days are also observed and celebrated in the academy.

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Ian Cooper, Principal at Outwood Academy Hasland Hall, said: “This recognition is a testament to our ongoing dedication to creating a supportive and nurturing environment where everyone feels valued and has the resources to thrive.

Photo by Element5 Digital on UnsplashPhoto by Element5 Digital on Unsplash
Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

“The award validates the hard work we’ve done to embed a culture of mental health awareness and to develop effective strategies for supporting those who may be experiencing challenges."

A focal point of the school’s mental health and wellbeing provision is their Academy Conduct and Expectations (ACE) programme which is in place to ensure that Year 7 students have a smooth transition from primary education to secondary. The programme includes sessions covering uniform, teaching and learning, language and respect – all of which have impacted student behaviour and significantly improved the wellbeing of students during their first year at the academy.

Hayley Keenan, Vice Principal, added: “We are extremely proud of this achievement as it reflects the journey we are on as an academy to ensure students and staff can all feel supported to achieve their very best. I’d like to thank everyone who made this possible.”

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The award was established in 2017 by the Carnegie Centre of Excellence for Mental Health in Schools – part of Leeds Beckett University – and social enterprise Minds Ahead.

The Carnegie Centre of Excellence for Mental Health in Schools aims to strengthen pupils’ mental health by supporting schools to make a positive change at all levels of the UK’s education system, improving students’ outcomes and life chances.

Rachel C. Boyle, Dean of Leeds Beckett’s Carnegie School of Education, said: “The achievement of the Mental Health award is a demonstration of the school’s significant commitment to improving children’s and staff’s mental health and wellbeing. It is also a commitment to developing practices in school that seek to improve awareness and expertise in creating safe and secure learning environments in which all children can truly fulfil their potential. This award is one that all staff can be truly proud of”.

Nationally, more than 1400 schools have signed up to take part in the mental health award.

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Dean Johnstone, founder and CEO of Minds Ahead said: “This award shines a light on the excellent work schools are doing to promote mental health for their community of children and adults.

“It is thrilling and humbling to learn about Outwood Academy Hasland Hall and the many other schools engaged in the quality award process. I’d like to offer my congratulations on this deserved recognition.”

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