The River Thames outside DLD College London

6 Ways Schools Can Promote Positive Mental Health

12th October 21

DLD College London Students Relaxing Outside Of The College

In November 2020, DLD College London became the first boarding school in the UK to receive a gold standard for our outstanding mental health and wellbeing provision.

The award is organised by the Carnegie Centre of Excellence for Mental Health in Schools – part of Leeds Beckett University – and social enterprise Minds Ahead. The framework has allowed us to drive our own practice and ensure that the wellbeing of our students and staff is at the heart of what we do.

As people across the globe recognise World Mental Health Day (October 10), we share some of our multi award-winning work in this area to help influence and inspire others.

  1. Create a Wellbeing Team
  2. Develop a Coaching Culture
  3. Deliver Mental Health First Aid Training
  4. Empower Students through Encouraging Self-Awareness
  5. Implement Systems to Track Student Wellbeing
  6. Help Students to Improve Sleep

Find out more.

1. Create a Wellbeing Team

Female Student And Teacher In Science Class At DLD College London

In recent years, DLD College London has made student and staff mental health and wellbeing central to everything we do. Pupil wellbeing is important to us – happy children succeed in life.

A focal point of the school’s mental health and wellbeing provision is the work of the wellbeing team within the school, ensuring that each student has measures in place to safeguard them and improve their overall sense of wellbeing.

Deliberately positioned in the very heart of the school, our dedicated and award-winning Wellbeing Centre is our school’s beating heart and is a warm and welcoming environment where people can find the School Nurse, Counsellors, Learning Support team, Head of Wellbeing and the school’s very own Life Coach.

2. Develop a Coaching Culture

Male DLD Student Chatting Outside Of School

At DLD College London, we are committed to practicing coaching within the school, driven by our vision to offer unique learning opportunities and to empower students understanding of Diversity, Leadership and Development.

Since 2019 we have worked in partnership with Graydin Coaching School to train dozens of staff members in coaching skills, recognising that it can enhance resilience, wellbeing and mindfulness. The training has recently extended beyond teaching staff to include students, with Student Council members now applying their coaching skills to their leadership roles, offering clinics for students using coach-like conversations.

By equipping each member of the college community with the tools to have conversations around mental health, we hope to further empower our students and staff to create a mentally healthy, supportive environment in their family, peer or friendship group.

3. Deliver Mental Health First Aid Training

Students Inside DLD College London

Alongside our coaching training, DLD College London has been at the forefront of developments in training staff and students in Mental Health First Aid.

More than 40 students and over 70 members of staff and parents at DLD College London are now Mental Health First Aid trained and are actively supporting the community to spot signs and symptoms of mental health concerns through assemblies, events and student-led clinics.

As a leader in the independent school sector in mental health and wellbeing, we have also provided training in mental health and coaching to other schools, demonstrating our passion to support the wider community.

4. Empowering Students through Encouraging Self-Awareness

Male Student And Teacher In Photography Class At DLD College London

Central to the ethos of DLD College London is the belief that an education is about developing future leaders in a challenging and diverse world. Academia is one aspect of this education but just as important to DLD College London is the development of a person’s character and equipping our students with transferrable life skills.

During 2019-20, we developed a selection of new courses for students which impact specifically on their character development, aimed at not only increasing self-awareness, but also allowing development of the students as leaders. These included specialised training in peer-coaching, sleep training, inclusion and diversity.

The long-term impact on these combined initiatives is to develop the self-awareness in our students, developing an understanding of how their mind, body and spirit impact on their sense of wellbeing, so that they can manage levels of stress and anxiety at DLD College London and beyond.

5. Implement Systems to Track Student Wellbeing

DLD Student Relaxing In Between Lessons 2

Pastoral care of our students is a key strength of the DLD College London. The Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) rated us ‘Excellent’ for personal development in our 2019 ISI inspection.

We pride ourselves on the willingness of staff to understand the motivations and challenges that each student faces and have recently successfully implemented two key pastoral tracking systems in the school which have allowed a more proactive approach to the wellbeing of pupils.

Firstly, we developed an internal pre-induction wellbeing questionnaire to capture key data which we can share with key stakeholders to ensure the pupil’s transition to the school is as informed and smooth as possible.

Secondly, we are proud of our use of the AS Tracking tool, developed by the STEER company. This year we became one of only 29 schools in the world to be handed accredited status for the tool, allowing us to pre-emptively identify students who may develop mental health challenges, ensuring we can intervene and support them. We are now a beacon school assisting others with their implementation of this system.

6. Help Students to Improve Sleep

DLD Students Relaxing In The College Boarding House

Recognising the importance of sleep to mental health and wellbeing, DLD College London has recently worked with the Sleep Charity to train staff to support our boarders to improve their sleep, the first school in the UK to have developed such an initiative.

Over 30 members of staff undertook Sleep training, and we used a sleep audit to highlight the practices for all students to take a more active understanding of the importance of sleep toward their own mental health and wellbeing. This audit produced recommendations to improve the sleep environment and to enhance the boarding space, including establishing sleep stations and initiating a programme of preparation for sleep which helps effective sleep patterns.

We now have three trained professional sleep practitioners on the staff and are working with the Sleep Charity to develop a bespoke boarding qualification, due to launch in the coming months.

Want to learn more?

We are delighted that you are interested in DLD College London.

The best way to learn more about our special and unique college is to contact us to arrange a visit.

We look forward to welcoming you.

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