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Tackling Stigma in a Primary and Nursery School

Dale Community Primary School and Stonehill Nursery School
Designated Senior Lead for Mental Health: Louise Foster, Headteacher

Dale Primary and Stonehill Nursery schools both sit under one Designated Senior Lead for Mental Health (DSLMH), Louise Foster, who is also the Headteacher for both schools. Before joining Cohort 1 of the programme, they were already investing in CPD on wellbeing for their staff and so were able to use the Emotionally Healthy Schools Programme to review their strengths and weaknesses in this area at both schools and to build on existing foundations.

The schools have now accessed the first two grants available and used the money to top up their own investment and obtain resources that will allow the learning to be implemented and become business as usual within the settings.

In order to assess how the money would be spent, the first grant of £500 has been used to free up time to engage fully with the programme, including completing the diagnostic and conducting and analysing whole school questionnaires. The outcome of these informed the new Mental Health and Wellbeing policy. An INSET day was also planned for both schools to brief staff on the steps the school is taking and gain whole staff buy into the programme.

An action plan was then developed, which identified how the second grant of £1000 would be best spent in order to have whole school impact. These activities include:

  • Improving displays in staff rooms, to include information about out of hours support and staff counselling.
  • Installing ‘I think my teacher should know’ boxes in all KS2 classrooms and in the community rooms.
  • Developing areas within classrooms with a mental health focus, including books linked to mental health and wellbeing that are age appropriate.
  • Investing in resources for parents, to be used in half termly coffee mornings. These will support parents to identify and support their child when they may need additional support with their mental health and wellbeing.

By improving visibility of mental health resources across the school, Dale and Stonehill schools are tackling the stigma surrounding this issue and making it normal and ok to talk about. This will then allow staff to better identify those in need of extra support.