Wellbeing, Health & Safety
This is a school year unlike any other in our history. We recognise the need to prioritise safe, supportive, culturally-sustaining, and equitable learning environments that promote the social and emotional competencies of both students and adults in order for ACS schools and the communities they serve to thrive.
As well as the below resources from ACS International Schools and partners, The Department of Education has issued guidance and resources for parents and carers on supporting children's and young people's mental health during COVID-19. To access this please click here.
Mental Health Tips For Parents During Coronavirus
How Students Can Maintain Motivation To Work At Home During Lockdown
How Students Can Get Ready For Their School Day During Lockdown
Supporting Home Learning
How can parents help to support their children, and manage distance learning?
ACS International Schools have partnered with inrehearsal, an organisation that produces broadcast quality film connecting users to industry-leading trainers and experts through video learning, who address this very question in this video.
In addition to this video, an FAQ document has been created to further support our community and families with home and distance learning.
BBC Bitesize Support – Support & tips for children and young people
Bitesize Support is a hub with advice, tips and resources for children and young people around school, mental health, and lockdown learning that may be helpful to refer to. Recent articles include ‘nine nifty ways to study remotely’ and ‘five ways to tackle loneliness when you are social distancing’, you can find out more here.
BBC Bitesize – Support, tips and resources for families
BBC Bitesize have released videos for parents with advice and tips from adolescent psychologists on supporting the mental health of secondary school children during the lockdown period which may be useful to signpost to. There are episodes on coping with uncertainty, handling lockdown emotions, limiting screen time, sleep and more. The link for the videos is here.
They have also put together a collection of top tips, useful links and expert advice to support you and your child's wellbeing and learning in a changing world. The link for the Parents’ Toolkit can be found here.
Mind UK Coronavirus and your Wellbeing
Many of us are struggling to maintain our mental wellbeing during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. Tips to help yourself cope, including ways to support yourself during winter can be found here.
Ready to Thrive
Ready to stay healthy and safe
We will remain fully compliant with UK Government guidance through the school year: following public health advice, revisiting all aspects of school operations, planning robust contingencies for further outbreaks, and carefully assessing all health and safety risks.
We are working together to ensure a COVID-secure school for all members of the ACS community by:
- reducing the risk of transmission
- limiting personal contact through social distancing
- introducing new procedures for cleaning, hand-washing and hygiene.
ACS schools will implement all essential measures for prevention and managing infection, including:
- a requirement that people who are ill stay at home
- expectation that ACS parents, students and staff follow government guidelines
- robust hand and respiratory hygiene
- enhanced cleaning arrangements
- active engagement with NHS Test and Trace
- formal consideration of how to reduce contacts and maximise distancing between those in school wherever possible
- reduced opportunities cross-contamination so far as is reasonably practicable.
Ready to be well and to thrive
We understand that for some the period away from school during 2020 will mostly have been a safe and enjoyable time, whilst for or others, it will have been challenging or even traumatic. To help our students thrive in school, stay in school and resume their learning we will create safe, supportive, and equitable learning environments that promote students’ social and emotional development through:
· cultivating a sense of belonging and community
· providing the necessary structures for physical and emotional safety
· provision of support systems to meet the needs of our students
· creating space for student voice and agency
· offering opportunities for students to develop collaborative solutions to address inequalities
· engaging in practices that affirm diverse social and cultural identities
We will do this by providing access to internal and external experts, including school counsellors and our ACS wellbeing partners at Renner Wellbeing and the Family Wellness Practice. We will also ensure that, at all times and across all grade levels, we are educating for wellness in a dynamic programme of personal. health, social, and relationships education, along with advisory groups for personalised pastoral care. And, in order to ensure that the systems we have in place are successfully impacting on our entire student body we will monitor the wellbeing of our students, through self-reported measures such as the Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Health Scale.
Student mental health
ACS Student Mental Health policy aims to ensure that our schools:
- promote positive mental health
- increase the understanding and awareness of common mental health issues and reduce the stigma attached to them
- cultivate a culture of inclusion that welcomes students whose mental health challenges can be effectively supported in ACS schools
- provide a secure environment that encourages openness and trust
- can respond effectively and in a timely manner to concerns about students’ mental health
- provide appropriate support to staff working with young people who are experiencing mental health problems
- help students develop the knowledge, understanding, skills and attitudes they need to make good decisions about their own mental health and wellbeing
- offers high quality school counselling, pastoral care and medical support.
Our approach to mental health is transparent, empathic and positive. We work to eliminate the misinformation, stigma and social isolation often associated with mental health concerns. We recognise that developmental challenges are a part of the human life-cycle, and that it is normal and expected for students to encounter and learn to overcome many issues. We promote good mental health hygiene and self-care.
ACS believes that supporting student mental health is a partnership with parents and carers, and is vitally important for the best care of the young people in the ACS community. We work with our local communities to support students and their families, including public and private mental health professionals, agencies and institutions.
Our wellbeing expert advisors
Family Wellness Practice are group of expert mental health practitioners, Counselling Psychologists, Psychotherapists and Psychiatrists qualified to the highest standards. FWP practitioners work individually and together as part of a team with a common passion for therapy and a commitment to emotional wellness and intellectual wellbeing.
Rener Wellbeing helps organisations to support their employees to sustainably improve their wellbeing. through a holistic four-pronged approach, focusing on: mental health, physical activity, sleep and nutrition.
Dragonfly Impact Education provides Mental Health First Aid Training for ACS pastoral care teams
BelievePerform Applied mental health & wellbeing content for students, teachers, parents, coaches & the wider community - the world’s leading source of performance psychology, well-being and mental health content with a wide range of educational material developed to build coping skills, resilience and to help you improve performance on and off your field of play.
Youth Truth Student perceptions are linked to academic outcomes, so it’s smart to know what our students are experiencing in our schools and classrooms. Through their validated survey instruments and tailored advisory services, YouthTruth is partnering with ACS schools and to enhance learning for all our students.
The Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families Anna Freud have created an evidence-based five steps framework – 5 Steps to Mental Health and Wellbeing - developed by mental health experts and teachers, for teachers. It's interactive, it's simple and it will help ACS to support staff, lead change, and engage with parents, carers and the community so that we can meet the wellbeing needs of our school communities.
The Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scales – WEMWBS The Warwick-Edinburgh Wellbeing Scales were developed to enable the measuring of mental wellbeing in populations, and the evaluation of projects, programmes and policies to improve mental wellbeing. ACS is using the scale for monitoring, evaluating and investigating the determinant of mental wellbeing across all members of the ACS community
Mental health resources
These online resources available to help you and your child with mental health, including:
- MindEd, a free educational resource from Health Education England on children and young people’s mental health
- Rise Above, which aims to build resilience and support good mental health in young people aged 10 to 16
- Every Mind Matters, which includes an online tool and email journey to support everyone to feel more confident in taking action to look after their mental health and wellbeing
- Bereavement UK and the Childhood Bereavement Network, provide information and resources to support bereaved pupils, schools and staff
- Surrey County Council’s Schools Alliance for Excellence has published a brief on Supporting Young People to Return and Recover: Wellbeing & Mental Health
During 2020-21, we plan to develop a Staff Wellbeing Charter, continuing the work we launched at the WELL-come Back virtual conference. Our staff wellbeing partners and other useful resources are accessible through the conference website.
The Health and Safety Executive has noted teaching as a high-stress profession. ACS is committed to helping teachers understand the importance emotional health and wellbeing, learn about and use strategies and techniques to promote positive emotional health and wellbeing, and develop self-directed approaches to stress management.
ACS provides formal clinical supervision for Safeguarding, Counselling and Pastoral Care staff who are responsible for supporting student mental health, as well as coaching and professional guidance from designated group leaders for Safeguarding and school nursing. Our Employee Assistance Programme is available to all ACS staff, providing 24/7 clinically-led guidance and LifeManagement support.
Addition support and guidance is available from