Whilst many schools worldwide will have their own strategies on tackling the topic of mental health and wellbeing, the concern for acute and longer-term challenges to emotional wellbeing in students has certainly been heightened by the global COVID-19 pandemic, restrictions and the resulting back and forth switches between onsite and virtual learning.
So how can international schools shine the spotlight on improving wellbeing and ensuring high quality of care for every student?
Having a Pastoral Support System for Each and Every Child
Ideally, a school will assign every student to a class teacher (Early Years and Primary) or Form Tutor (Secondary), whose responsibility is to monitor academic development, advise on opportunities beyond the classroom and encourage social and emotional wellbeing.
Offering a Confidential Counselling Service
Having an experienced school counsellor as an integral part of the school system to offer daily guidance and support for any student who wishes to confidentially talk about things causing them a concern either in or out of school.
Collaborating with Mental Health Organisations to Share Practical Guidance on How Best to Support Staff and Students
The wellbeing of staff and students should be fundamental to every school’s culture. Nord Anglia Education schools work in collaboration with mental health organisations, such as the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families, supplying staff with regular and up-to-date training courses and opportunities to learn about promoting and supporting student wellbeing.
Demonstrating a Commitment to Further Improve Practice
The Wellbeing Award for Schools (WAS) was developed in partnership with the National Children’s Bureau (NCB). Schools that work with WAS are committed to further preparing and equipping themselves to put emotional wellbeing and positive mental health at the heart of what they do.
Finally, look for a school that incorporates all of the above key features in their core offering. The school’s responsibility for your child should extend beyond academic success to their social and emotional development, and so the provision of a caring environment is essential.
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