Deputy Headteacher Julie Hunter has been on BBC Radio Oxford to discuss the innovative approach to mental health and wellbeing we have at Aureus School.
Presenter Howard Bentham interviewed Julie on the Hometime show regarding the recent Gold Award for mental health awarded to the school by the Carnegie Centre for Excellence, part of Leeds University.
He asked Julie how the school, which has been open for 18 months, was able to incorporate a range of mental health strategies for both pupils and staff.
"We had the opportunity of a blank canvas,” she said.
Julie told listeners how the school ‘re-imagined’ the school day so pupils started the day with half-an-hour of calm activities from mindful art to reading all aimed at nurturing the ‘inner curriculum’ so students were ready to learn.
Howard also asked about the school’s nurture, sensory and thrive rooms which all provide support for students who can self-refer if they feel the need.
The school’s nurture manager triages the student and sees if they are ready to return to the classroom or if they need further intervention to ensure they are in the best emotional place for their education.
Staff also benefit from a wellbeing room where devices and posters outlining targets and learning are banned to leave a calm area with plants and cushions for staff to have ‘tea and talk’.
Recruitment and retention of teachers is a national issue and the facilities at Aureus School are built around ensuring staff as well as pupils are nurtured in terms of wellbeing and mental wealth.
The interview is available to listen to until around mid-February via the BBC Radio Oxford website: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p06x6bt6 and Julie is on air from 22 minutes.