Aureus School makes headlines for Childrens Mental Health Week
Aureus school made headlines this week when Headteacher Hannah Wilson appeared on BBC Radio Oxford Breakfast Show and cameras from BBC South dropped by to focus on Aureus’ award-winning work on improving children’s mental health.
The events coincided with Children’s Mental Health Week and gave those outside the school a chance to see the innovative work being carried out inside, addressing one of the biggest issues affecting schooling and parenthood today.
Hannah said mental health was not taken seriously at the start of her teaching career but the school was prioritising it because of the long-term benefits.
“It wasn't something that was on the agenda when I was at school, or when I trained to teach, but society has changed a lot and we as schools have a responsibility to prepare our children for life,” she said.
She explained that having seen so many teenagers struggle with exam pressure had convinced her to take a “preventative, preemptive and proactive (approach) rather than reactive and responsive,” and as a result, mindfulness is part of our curriculum to ensure stress and anxiety never became major issues.
“We do things from the get-go - in Year Seven, they're building up resilience and skills so when they hit stressful points in life, they know how to deal with them rather than react to them,” she said.
As well as Hannah’s radio appearance, deputy head teacher Julie Hunter and pupils Holly and Patrick appeared on the regional BBC South news to showcase some of our school’s mindfulness teaching tools, and talk about the effect they have had – with Patrick even revealing that he had used what he had learnt at school to help his younger sister get to sleep.
Julie said our efforts as a school were having real rewards: “Last year some Year 7s came out of their exams and said that when they felt they really couldn’t go on any more, instead of walking out, they did mindful breathing,” she said. “No-one knew, they didn’t need to ask anyone for help and they managed to cope themselves.”
This local media attention is just the latest example of our school’s proactive approach to mental health winning praise – last month, we became one of just six secondary schools across the whole country to receive a Gold Status award from the Carnegie Centre of Excellence Mental Health Award for Schools.
Speaking after the BBC South news was shown, Dan Knowles, the chief executive of the Oxfordshire branch of mental health charity MIND, said we were “doing a fantastic job.”
I’m sure everyone will want to join in applauding everyone at the school for all their efforts in helping our school lead the way and set the standard for others when it comes to the issue of mental health among children.
Click here to listen to the BBC Radio Oxford broadcast (about 7 minutes in)