Well-being at SC

Well-being is the experience of health happiness and prosperity. It includes having good mental health, high life satisfaction and a sense of meaning or purpose.

www.psychologytoday.com

young children meditating

Well-being of pupils, staff & our families is very important to us at Shoreham College. It’s an obvious statement, but true. It underpins all that we do. As a community, we are always working hard to take opportunities to enhance well-being here.

Mindfulness: mindfulness is a key part of well-being, and is something we have been actively developing at Shoreham College over the last few years. Mindfulness is the ability to notice and appreciate what we are experiencing consciously, as opposed to ‘mind wandering’, when we are on automatic pilot. We have developed programs for all ages at the College, both as part of the PSHE curriculum and within voluntary sessions, and full details can be found on our mindfulness hub pages.

Pastorally: our pupils have a form teacher in juniors, and a pastoral form tutor in seniors, who are always their first port of call for assistance, with anything. We have an assistant head, Head of Juniors and the senior pupils are looked after by heads of Key Stage 3 and 4, who are on hand to help our pupils. We have a resident counsellor from Dialogue YMCA on hand to assist with issues around anxiety. We have a qualified SENCO who is there to help pupils with specific needs. We have trained mental health first aiders and a matron who is there to deal with pupils who need some good ol’ TLC. We work closely with Allsorts, our local LGBTQ+ advisors and the Diana Award, a charity committed to developing anti-bullying strategies. We have a strong team ready to help at any time, including our designated safeguarding lead and deputies. The team is always there.

Academically: getting literacy, numeracy and other core skills in the junior school can sometimes be tricky and the GCSEs are no pushover. Both require a lot of memory work and skills practice. We introduce our pupils to mindfulness, which enables them to emotionally centre themselves and we introduce them to growth mindset, which empowers them to respond successfully to life’s challenges, generating optimism and resilience. We can’t control the government’s education policy, but we can help pupils to cope with pressure - a great skill for life. We also track progress carefully, working hard to ensure that the bespoke level of challenge set for them is, as much as possible, in the Goldilocks’ zone: not too much and not too little. This is complex and important work.

Creatively: we believe that the rounded person is the more content and grounded and so we encourage and expect our pupils to explore who they are through the creative arts. We introduce them to the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts (LAMDA), and instrumental music lessons. We offer painting, acrylics and ceramics, for fun and for national competitions. Our youngest junior pupils are encouraged to learn through play and first hand experiences, whilst those in the older classes are increasingly following a creative curriculum, linking and reinforcing learning in a coherent and meaningful way. Our junior and senior challenges are independent learning tasks that enable our pupils to explore topics independently and in creative ways: entrepreneurial upcycling, space travel, expressing the spiritual in art, have all been on display here at the College. This is all about the learning journey we enjoy here.

successful team having one the dodgeball competition

Sport/healthy life-style: we know that sport is not just about competing. It is also about developing our minds and bodies, boosting our immune systems, as well as learning key skills as part of our learning journey. Teamwork, resilience in the face of tough opposition, come rain or shine, develops our young people’s ability to overcome obstacles and find the strength in others. It’s food for the soul. Young people also learn how to fail, pick themselves up and to see themselves as part of a larger picture. Being in a team is an antidote to self-absorption and unhealthy narcissism. We need to encourage them to find a balance between the online world and the world out there too!

Outdoor education: neuroscientists see the huge benefits in people engaging with nature and learning while out there among the wild things. Our Little Lions (EYFS) love their outdoor areas, following a woodland learning experience, and our juniors and seniors have many opportunities to access our forest school. Juniors work with the local South Downs National Park undertaking the John Muir Award. All pupils access our extensive field on our 11-acre site. Our senior pupils get out into the Downs for the Duke of Edinburgh Award and mountain adventure training in Snowdonia, and this is not all about chasing pieces of paper for their own sake. It’s more about engaging the inner animal and remembering what it’s like to smell the wind, listen to the trees and get your hands dirty.

holding up the group work from a pshe activity

Personal Social and Health Education (PSHE): our pupils benefit from workshops and sessions on a huge range of topics e.g. the dangers of drugs, alcohol, child sexual exploitation, the importance of healthy emotional and, as age appropriate, sexual relationships, and through the Jigsaw package they explore issues around personal identity, a sense of self and the ever-changing world around them. We aim through classroom teaching, tutoring packages and outside speakers to prepare them for real life. We encourage discussion, raising a sense of understanding of self and others, diversity - developing inclusion and a firm grasp of fundamental British values. We also give our pupils help with thinking about their careers during their time here, enabling them to access pathways beyond Shoreham College.

Spiritual Moral Social Cultural: In addition to the PSHE programme we have assemblies for the pupils which introduce them to things spiritual and ethical. These are vital ingredients for the young person so often naturally curious about ethics, moral boundaries and also the awe and wonder of life. Religious studies, approached in a philosophical way here, is studied in juniors and seniors and forest school, for instance, presents our pupils with a chance to experience the joy of nature. We believe that all of this contributes to well-being. Our residential experiences in junior and senior school, trips abroad, drama and film clubs, art competitions and more, engage pupils in topics designed to inspire and engage young people to find out who they are.

Nutrition: our caterers are constantly looking for opportunities to provide our young people with healthy nutritious food in terms of lunches and snacks. Every year, our school council representatives talk to us about what we offer and we aim to please, if occasionally we point out the better option, nutritionally. We are very proud of our team here; we work with award-winning caterers. Our meals are often cited by visiting teams as something particularly wonderful. Food is not only about eating, either: we regularly debate dietary and moral ethical values related to food growth, consumption and sustainability. Eating together is also key to being a community.

Social skills: we encourage our pupils to socialise and learn all those ‘soft skills’ that will be so important to them later: discussion, speaking and listening and negotiation are important for all of our pupils. We have junior and senior Christmas parties, junior picnics, a Year 11 barbecue, a leavers’ ball. All are designed to put the pupils in new situations which are about learning to develop confidence with others. These skills are fostered through links with our local community, national and international charity work e.g. the Oscar Foundation, St Barnabas' Hospice. We aim to encourage a pupil voice here through our junior and senior school councils who contribute to discussions on charity projects, college facilities and equipment, food and nutrition and pupil well-being. Our pupils also work in teams as part of a vertical house system.

democracy, the rule of law, individual libery, mutual respect and tolerance of others

FBVs: fundamental British values are key to us here. We value each person’s democratic rights; we teach our pupils to respect others by upholding rules that protect us; we expect our pupils to value each other’s individual liberty and we insist that they respect each other’s religious positions. This is about creating a rainbow of human beings and creating a safe space for all.

And finally…….

The Golden Triangle: our headmaster talks about the golden triangle of communication here. He believes passionately that if we all talk – pupil, parent and school – this will lead to strong outcomes for our pupils. Genuine communication can help us all to remove obstacles before they become too big to climb over. We can get to where we wish to be, by cooperation and teamwork. His philosophy is: 'No one needs to panic at all. 99.9% of the time there is a solution to a problem.'