Northumberland primary school one of just FIVE in UK to scoop award for pioneering mental health work

Warkworth Primary School has become one of just five schools across the UK to be awarded a gold standard for its outstanding mental health and wellbeing provision.

By Ian Smith
Saturday, 6th March 2021, 7:00 am

It has achieved the School Mental Health Award which is delivered by the Carnegie Centre of Excellence for Mental Health in Schools.

Its work has included mindfulness clubs, yoga, a therapy dog, mental health and wellbeing areas in each classroom and daily opportunities to talk about how everyone is feeling.

The school has also made mental health and wellbeing awareness central to its PSHE and RSE curriculum and all staff have mental health training as well as access to dedicated mental health first aiders - an offer which extends to pupils and parents.

Pupils from Warkworth Primary School with their wellbeing bags.

However, it was Warkworth Primary School’s work to not only support its staff and pupils, but the local community too during lockdown that commended the school to the independent assessor from the Carnegie Centre of Excellence.

“The implementation of the third national lockdown has affected everybody’s mental health and wellbeing in a big way,” said Laura Ritson, head teacher.

“While our school remained open to vulnerable children and the children of key workers, the majority of our pupils have been taking part in live daily lessons from home.

"To help maintain a sense of ‘togetherness’ while we had to stay apart, we organised a community heart campaign where our children designed and delivered a series of paper hearts to residents for them to display in their windows.

Pupils from Warkworth Primary School with their wellbeing bags.

"As part of Children’s Mental Health Week in February, we then completed a ‘walk to wellbeing’ around the village to see how many of our hearts we could find.

“We also sent wellbeing bags containing activities and resources home with pupils to help support pupils and their families, as well as organising weekly live wellbeing sessions to provide a safe space for pupils and their parents to discuss their thoughts and feelings during lockdown.

“I am extremely proud of everything our staff, pupils and parents have achieved and to see their hard work rewarded through the School Mental Health Award scheme is absolutely fantastic.

"We’re now working with all schools within the Trust to really celebrate the great work that is happening across Northumberland Church of England Academy and develop an inclusive wellbeing strategy to support everyone.”

Warkworth Primary School pupils with their wellbeing bags.

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An example of the ‘community hearts’ created by Warkworth Primary School pupils.