Leading the way in children’s emotional health
Bedales Prep School, Dunhurst is featured in a recent article on mental health provision in Independent School Parent magazine.
The crisis in mental health care for teenagers has become increasingly well-known and talked about, but many people are unaware of a huge rise in very young children needing help. Accordingly, happiness lessons for children as young as eight are on the agenda for some maintained schools. The lessons will form part of one of three trials currently being planned by the Government to tackle the issue. Author Elizabeth Ivens suggests that the idea may have been borrowed from the independent sector where, she says, schools have long worked on the assumption that prevention is better than cure. And she identifies Dunhurst as one of a number of schools adopting an ‘holistic’ approach to pastoral care.
Nick Robinson, Dunhurst’s Deputy Head, Pastoral, comments: “There has been a definite increase in anxiety and stress related issues. Body image for boys has become more prevalent and concerns about sexuality. Social media and online communication means many children will never switch off from issues at school.” In response, Dunhurst has employed a counsellor for the last eight years, and getting close to nature is an important part of the curriculum through timetabled outdoor work. More specifically, all Year 8 pupils have been trained to be peer listeners, and Nick explains: “This has been very successful as pupils often feel more comfortable talking to other pupils initially.”
The full article can be viewed on the Independent School Parent website here.