Mental Health Awareness Week falls between May 15th and 21st and we are acknowledging this year's theme of "Anxiety" with a special focus on providing tips and advice to relieve exam and test anxiety.
WELLBEING AT RHS
"For some these will be small but for others they may be significant, and this is why our approach to pastoral care is interwoven with all aspects of our provision and is seen as a collective responsibility of all members of our community."
Simon Lockyer, Headmaster
Our aim is to help our pupils build strong foundations that foster good wellbeing for life by:
- Helping pupils learn and embed strategies for their own self-care and positive wellbeing.
- Monitoring each pupil’s wellbeing through our pastoral structures and systems.
- Supporting our pupils if they struggle, with personalised, appropriate, school-based and/or external specialist services.
- Communicating with parents as to how to support their children’s wellbeing.
A large support network underpins the care for each pupil, which includes a house parent, tutor, teachers, matron, chaplain, peer counsellors and school prefects plus a Health & Wellbeing Centre and counselling service.
We recognise the importance of pupil wellbeing across the following five areas:
RHS Wellbeing PUPIL NEWSLETTER
We are pleased to share our pupil-led wellbeing newsletter RHS Wellbeing. It shares some of the moments of support from around the school that we might not always see as well as reporting and highlighting some of the programmes, activities and networks pupils can access.
We are finalists in the Happiest Boarding School category of the Muddy Stilettos School Awards 2023! These national awards are judged by highly respected senior educators across the UK, with many schools jostling for their nomination.
Our teaching staff recently took part in a highly valuable two-day Wellbeing INSET programme. Dr Dominique Thompson, multi award winning GP and national mental health expert, started the day as our keynote speaker, with a session titled “Degrees of Sanity - the mental health of students in 2023”.
Today we are sitting down with Isabel and Luca, two of our prefects this year. In this inspiring interview we hear about how they have led the pupil element of the school’s wellbeing initiative this year.
Our winter edition of RHS Wellbeing is now available, showcasing a variety of pupil articles covering topics such as coping with homesickness by Luca B, an article on sports and wellbeing by Daisy C, and keeping well in winter by Izzy S. Additionally, we have a piece by Rose P on coping with Year 7 prep projects, and a valuable read from Ayoola O on managing exam stress.
A commitment to the wellbeing of pupils, parents and staff has led to us being granted with the prestigious national Optimus Education Wellbeing Award! We have developed our wellbeing programme over the past year through an ambitious initiative to engage the whole school community in activities designed to raise awareness of the importance of good mental health.
The week before half-term was Children’s Mental Health Week and one of the activities was a competition between houses to create the most eye-catching ‘word cloud’ using words relating to ‘positive connections’.
The theme for this year’s Children’s Mental Health Week is ‘Let’s Connect’. Acknowledging national mental health events such as this is important to RHS pupils and staff, because raising awareness gives our RHS pupils the opportunity to think about their own mental health as well as those around them.
Kelly Wilcock, Head of Psychology, has had an article published in School Management Plus Magazine, highlighting the importance of supporting women in the workplace, specifically in an education setting, who are experiencing the symptoms of menopause or perimenopause.
A new pupil wellbeing newsletter has launched! RHS Wellbeing, Edition 1, has been distributed to pupils online and in print to all the boarding and day houses. The newsletter discusses progress with the school’s application for the Optimus Wellbeing Award and highlights the school’s work with pupils to promote a positive wellbeing culture.
Our Hawke boys addressed pupils in Chapel last week on ‘Movember’, wearing fake moustaches to demonstrate the tradition of men growing their facial hair in November to raise awareness for men's mental health.
Happy Thanksgiving to our RHS community who celebrate this holiday. Thanksgiving is an annual national holiday in the United States and Canada celebrating the harvest and other blessings of the past year. The word Thanksgiving means the act of expressing or feeling thankful; in other words, it is the act of giving thanks for what you're grateful for.
Last week was Anti-Bullying Week and on Monday our pupils and staff were all invited to wear odd socks to celebrate individuality. There were some fun photos from some of our departments, and our day and boarding houses who were encouraged to take part in an Odd Socks Day ‘Catchy Caption’ competition.
"Wellbeing at RHS is more than just helping a young person find a solution to their problem. It's about encouraging and supporting them to develop an individual set of skills to look after their wellbeing throughout their school years and beyond."
Our Peer Mentors spoke in assembly this week about their role as Peer Mentors, the school’s wellbeing aims and what the school community is doing for Anti-Bullying Week, under their theme ‘Reach Out’.
Our sailing weeks are an integral and exciting part of the first term for all our Year 7 pupils, where they learn to sail as a beginner or improve their skills over the course of a week-long programme at Alton Water, led by our experienced Director of Sailing, Mr Sibson, and his team.
In recognition of World Mental Health Day today, Monday 10 October, and the fantastic work that Young Minds do in support of mental health in young people, all pupils and staff were invited to accessorise with a yellow item of clothing or accessory in support of the Young Minds #HelloYellow campaign.
Captain Rob Watson and his wife Sandra from Good News for Everyone (formerly known as Gideons UK) visited the Royal Hospital School on the 15 September to gift bibles to our Year 7s.
A new wellness room has been created for our RHS Sixth Form pupils in Nelson House. The space has been designed to provide a peaceful relaxation and reflection area for Year 13 pupils.
Our next episode features Zoë King, our Deputy Head (Pastoral) at RHS. Discover how she oversees the pastoral care and wellbeing of our pupils, and how the school achieved a BSA Supporting Excellence Award.
This half term in Year 9 Compass lessons the pupils have been developing their own original apps.
Three Blake Pupils, Emily H, Theo S and Joshua M were invited to attend Suffolk’s Children Emotional Wellbeing Festival as part of Mental Health Awareness Week.
RHS will be hosting its fifth Parents' Conference at the end of May, inviting external experts to come and talk on the challenges young people face.
For this year's Anti-Bullying Week, 'One Kind Word' has been chosen as the overall theme. Being kind to one another is so important, especially after the difficulties we have all faced over the last 18 months or so.
WHO CAN I TALK TO?
WORLD MENTAL HEALTH DAY 2022
In recognition of World Mental Health Day 2022 and the fantastic work that the charity YoungMinds do in support of mental health in young people, all pupils and staff were invited to wear a yellow accessory or item of clothing in support of the Young Minds #HelloYellow campaign.
In January 2023, RHS was awarded the prestigious Optimus Wellbeing Award. This involved a rigorous process of self-evaluation, action planning, portfolio building and verification to show that we meet the standard for the award. Led by Zoë King, our Deputy Head (Pastoral) and supported by a network of highly skilled advisers, the award is built on eight objectives which epitomise best practice. Amongst these objectives, the school must:
- be committed to promoting and protecting positive emotional wellbeing and mental health
- regard wellbeing and mental health as the responsibility of everyone
- actively promote positive staff wellbeing.
Four groups were formed to work on the eight objectives, with involvement from Governors, pupils, parents, teachers, support staff and external advisers.
This Award is worthy recognition of the framework that is now in place to promote the positive wellbeing of our pupils. However we also recognise that it is part our a continuous journey where we will strive to create an environment that promotes the wellbeing for our whole school community.