The Halley Academy is proud to have been awarded the Wellbeing Award for Schools for the work we do to support our students, staff and our parents/carers in promoting better mental health and emotional wellbeing across the whole Academy. During the verification for the award the Academy was praised for its holistic approach to supporting the wellbeing of students and staff.
The Halley Academy Wellbeing Pledge - Time to grow
The Halley Academy aims to be an inclusive place where our students love to study. This can only be achieved if the adults who work with our young people are also happy and thriving in their place of work. We want to create a great place to work for our colleagues, which means providing an environment where everyone feels supported to reach their full potential. This support takes different forms, but one of the most crucial is supporting each other to look after our mental health and the health of those around us. This can only happen in an environment where people feel safe to acknowledge their feelings and where stigma around admitting when we might feel that we are struggling has been challenged.
For The Halley Academy to be an inclusive place where our students love to study we must protect and nurture their wellbeing. We want to provide a safe and supportive environment for our students to acknowledge, explore, understand and learn how to positively impact their mental health. It is important that we aim for our students to feel uninhibited by emotional struggles and reach their full potential in both their studies and shaping who they are. This is achievable in an environment where students know how and where to ask for help but are also guided towards information and opportunities to share, participate and be a part of the academy community. Protecting and navigating our mental health is challenging for adults let alone students; this is why we aim to implement a number of actions that will nurture opportunities for all students regardless of how self-aware they are.
In order to build a sense of belonging and community, we also believe that parents and carers should be continuously informed about the progress of their children and the opportunities available to them. We ensure that communication with parents and carers is open and consistent. There are numerous and varied opportunities for parents and carers to meet with teachers and school leaders, through parents’ evenings, regular phone calls, emails home and transition events. This allows a sense of trust to be built between the academy staff and students’ primary carers. Students will also feel a greater sense of security knowing that both their academy and their care-givers have shared aims and concerns.
As a result, the academy pledges to implement a number of actions, including:
- Leaders will earn trust by being reliable, consistent, credible, honest, humble, courageous and kind.
- Provide information and raise awareness of mental wellbeing among staff, students and parents and carers. Students will receive this through tutor and values sessions, the student bulletin, student voice and leadership programmes and other opportunities for participating in the academy and community.
- Develop skills in managers to promote the mental wellbeing of staff and recognise and deal effectively with mental health issues and stress.
- Develop skills in staff to promote the mental wellbeing of students and recognise and flag issues.
- Ensure inclusion and opportunity for all. For students this will be promoted through student voice and opportunities to participate.
- Provide opportunities for employees to look after their mental wellbeing, including a range of clubs and activities throughout the academy year including fitness, yoga, Zumba and team sports which are free to all.
- The academy provides a number of opportunities for students to look after their mental health through enrichment programmes. We will continue to provide additional opportunities such as the Halley Heroes workshop.
- The academy consistently informs parents about student progress and wellbeing and provides opportunities for parents to communicate with staff regularly.
- Counsellors and our Wellbeing and Participation team are proactive and available to all members of staff and students, in addition to small school support.
- We will develop a Sanctuary – a dedicated relaxation space where staff are able to take time to use a massage chair or just sit and reflect, meditate or colour to help rebalance their mind and body.
We will provide a workplace in which staff can come together and thrive
This is only the start, and we acknowledge that stigma is only ended by open and honest communication, without the fear of reproach or our feelings being dismissed.
We have a vibrant and diverse community where we aim for individuals to feel valued for their individuality and their contribution to the wider academy family.
The Wellbeing Team is dedicated to continuing to improve the wellbeing of students, staff and parents. The core team is made up of three teaching staff and one member of the Academy Leadership Team. The core staff have different roles with the aim of ensuring that staff, students and parents feel supported. The team works to provide a range of participation opportunities for students and staff, as well as to create learning opportunities that address and remove the stigma around mental health and wellbeing. Recent opportunities for students include our creation of the Student Action Group, Student Council and Peer Mentors who work closely with the organisation Humanutopia to grow their leadership skills.
We have an incredibly strong and dedicated inclusion team who provide a range of in-class, one-to-one and small group support for any students who may be in need. The inclusion team also runs a range of interventions. These interventions include, Talk and Draw, Zones of Regulation, Think Good, Feel Good, Literacy Intervention, Lego Therapy and Girls Group.
At The Halley Academy we are very lucky to have an in-school counsellor who provides one- to-one sessions with students. These sessions provide one-to-one support for students who are struggling with their mental health or coping with different life stresses. The students are referred for counselling via their tutors, teachers or Small Schools. Parents and students can also request counselling through the Small School Team.
The Halley Academy is made up of four different Small Schools. Small Schools are the pastoral team that students can access. They include Directors of Progress, two Small School Managers and an Administrator. The Small School staff know students and families exceptionally well and provide a clear point of connection and communication for families. The Small School staff are also part of the wider safeguarding team and can offer support to students. The team monitors attendance, behaviour, wellbeing and progress for the students in their care. Importantly the Small Schools also provide our students with a sense of identity and belonging within our large community.
Tutors provide pastoral support to their tutees and the tutor is the adult the students see everyday in the Academy. Tutor time takes place daily and remains a space in the day for students to talk about their days, how they are feeling and how they are coping at school. Tutor activities include a focus on the importance of wellbeing and breaking the stigma and taboo around mental health. Tutor activities also involve student voice and leadership opportunities, with tutees recently voting for student representatives, prefects and student leaders. Small Schools and tutors meet as teams at different stages in the year to discuss strategies around individual pupils.
We have a school nurse who visits the Academy weekly. She is available to discuss a range of health issues with students. She provides one-to-one support for students who are struggling with health issues and can give sexual health advice to those who need it as well as signpost parents and students to outside organisations who can provide further help.
Values sessions are delivered weekly by tutors. These are age appropriate sessions which discuss a range of issues from Relationship and Sex Education to local and global concerns. Students are encouraged to ask questions within a safe and supportive environment established through ground rules. There have been a number of specific sessions focused on mental health issues and wellbeing in young people. There have also been a range of sessions focused on challenging taboos around mental health and wellbeing in young people.