A north-east school has been honoured for its commitment to promoting emotional wellbeing and mental health.
Kintore primary has secured a Wellbeing Award for Schools (WAS) which is a scheme run by Optimus Education in partnership with the National Children’s Bureau.
It sets a national standard for promoting positive mental health and emotional wellbeing.
Kintore is the first school in Aberdeenshire to have received recognition.
The award highlights the school’s efforts to ensure emotional wellbeing is a responsibility for all, to actively promote positive mental health among staff and pupils.
In a recent survey, 100% of the Kintore School staff team agreed their wellbeing has been impacted positively as a result of their focus over the last two years.
The Castle Walk school also found that as a result of their efforts the number of skills pupils know how to support their own emotional wellbeing has increased from none to five.
Kintore School headteacher Scott Anderson said: “A big thank you to my wonderful staff team, our parents and carers and of course our young people for really embracing our focus on mental health and wellbeing and getting us to where we are today.
“The children learn how important it is to talk about our feelings and emotions through focused wellbeing activities, assemblies, promotion and use of decider skills and class discussions.
“The team has developed so many fun learning opportunities and I think a personal highlight for me was seeing the pupils applying their skills independently to a variety of situations, especially during the recent period of remote learning.”
School bosses began by engaging pupils, parents and colleagues on school values: Kindness, Respect, Wonder, Wellbeing and Community.
Pupils have created their own calmness corner, have buckets filled with positive quotes and a collection of morning greetings that are in their classrooms.
The school has invested in training to bring colleagues up to speed on The Decider Life Skills, a tool developed by Good2Go, and continue to work in partnership with a number of other organisations including Aberdeen Football Club’s Community Trust to ensure health and wellbeing is a priority for everyone.
Laurence Findlay, Director of Education and Children’s Services for Aberdeenshire Council said: “The lengths Scott and the team at Kintore School have gone to connect with children and young people and have a positive impact upon their health and wellbeing is exemplary.
“Coronavirus or not, healthy and happy learners are productive learners. The interactive tools Kintore sent out during Lockdown are excellent and I also love the simple ideas – like encouraging random acts of kindness and seeing the hugely positive feedback the school received after children engaged in writing letters to elderly members of their community.
“I also cannot press the importance enough of colleagues taking the time to focus on their own wellbeing. It is absolutely brilliant the team at Kintore clearly feel very well supported and I think that’s the first step in supporting positive mental health and wellbeing for children and young people too.”