Oldham primary school scoops pioneering mental health award

Date published: 14 February 2022

An Oldham school has attained the School Mental Health Award from the Carnegie Centre of Excellence for Mental Health in Schools.

Woodlands Primary Academy were awarded a Gold standard for its outstanding mental health and wellbeing provision.

Woodlands Primary Academy, a member of South Pennine Academies, provides a wide range of activities to boost the wellbeing of pupils and staff, including a range of interventions; staff, child and parent access to their Reflection Room; and dedicated Mental Health First Aiders for both adults and children.

The school has also redesigned their curriculum following the Covid 19 pandemic, to ensure that recovery of their children’s wellbeing was made a priority across all classes, from pre-school to year six.

Woodlands Primary Academy Principal, Catherine Sharpe said: "I am extremely proud that Woodlands has been recognised as a leading school in the promotion of positive mental health and wellbeing for our staff, children and their families. The staff team have worked tirelessly to ensure that positive mental health is promoted through every aspect of our curriculum, both indoors and out. The development of our outside space is an ongoing priority to enable us to continue to build on this important aspect of school life."

A focal point of the school’s mental health and wellbeing provision is their Reflection Room. The school have recently refurbished their mental health and wellbeing hub and relocated the site to the front of the school.

Additionally, staff are supported by South Pennine Academies to ensure their own mental health and wellbeing is prioritised.

Laura Humble, Mental Health and Wellbeing Lead said: "Our engagement with the award has enabled us to gain a clear perspective on the areas of our provision which needed to be further embedded or developed since we were awarded Silver Status in 2019. Since then, staff, parents and children have worked together with passion and drive, through what has been a challenging couple of years for everyone, to ensure we deliver the very best outcomes for children at Woodlands."

The award was established in 2017 by the Carnegie Centre of Excellence for Mental Health in Schools – part of Leeds Beckett University – and social enterprise Minds Ahead.

The Carnegie Centre of Excellence for Mental Health in Schools aims to strengthen pupils’ mental health by supporting schools to make a positive change at all levels of the UK's education system, improving students’ outcomes and life chances.

Doctor Steve Burton, Interim Dean of Leeds Beckett’s Carnegie School of Education, said: "Achieving this award a recognition of the school’s commitment to improving the life chances of children and engaging with the wider community including staff and parents/carers.

“We’re truly proud to have worked with Woodlands Primary Academy in this vital work and look forward to further collaboration.”

Nationally, more than 1000 schools have signed up to take part in the mental health award.

Dean Johnstone, founder and CEO of Minds Ahead said: "This award shines a light on the excellent work schools are doing to promote mental health for their community of children and adults. “It is thrilling and humbling to learn about Woodlands Primary Academy and the many other schools engaged in the quality award process. I’d like to offer my congratulations on this deserved recognition"

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