Mental Health & Wellbeing

Mental Health and Wellbeing at Capenhurst

Our Aims and Principles for Mental Health

At Capenhurst, we recognise that good mental health is as important as good physical health. Our pupils are taught self-care techniques, including recognising and managing emotions, exercise, relaxation and how to build relationships through a rich and varied curriculum. We teach our children how they can help others with their mental health in age-appropriate ways.

All staff are trained in the Our ways of Working Trauma Informed principles advocated by the local authority and used by many local authorities nationwide. Ms McColl is a trained ELSA (emotional literacy support assistant); she is supported in this role through supervision provided by an educational psychologist. She has also completed training in Youth Mental Health First Aid, Lego Therapy and Drawing and Talking. Mrs Green has completed the Mental Health First Aid training with the educational psychology team and is completing DfE funded Senior Mental Health Lead training with Creative Education. This is alongside training offered by the local authority from Beacon House and the Chester Diocese. Commitment to high quality staff training and on-going supervision demonstrates the priority we place on supporting all our children, families and staff with their emotional wellbeing.

A happy child is a child ready to learn.

A happy member of staff is someone ready to support, guide and teach.

A happy parent means a happy family.


We use the DfE's guidance, Mental Health and Behaviour in Schools, as a guide and work to their ideals:

  1. Prevention: creating a safe and calm environment where mental health problems are less likely, improving the mental health and well-being of the whole school population, and equipping pupils to be resilient so that they can manage the normal stress of life effectively. This will include teaching pupils about mental well-being through the curriculum and reinforcing this teaching through school activities and ethos.
  2. Identification: recognising emerging issues as early and accurately as possible. 
  3. Early support:helping pupils to access evidence based early support and interventions.
  4. Access to specialist support: working effectively with external agencies to provide swift access or referrals to specialist support and treatment.


What does support with mental health and wellbeing look like in our school?

We have a detailed Provision Map which identifies the support on offer in school as well as helplines and charities that also offer support. Some are local charities; others are national ones.

Wave 1 – Universal Offer

Most needs can be met using these whole school strategies. Effective use of Wave 1 strategies will prevent the need for intervention for members of our school community and provides the foundation for our mental health offer. Each member of the school community knows and lives our school vision – nourishing each other spiritually, emotionally, intellectually and physically with God as our companion.  Whole school ethos is evident and encompasses all interactions for all members of the school community.

Learning about mental health is part of our Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) curriculum for all children. This teaching and learning for all is part of the Prevention phase of mental health, mentioned above. Children receive a dedicated PSHE lesson each week using the Heart Smart resources (see PSHE within the curriculum tab on our website). Beyond lesson time, our school culture embeds good mental health. There are opportunities for regular exercise and play, time for reflection and class meditation.

Wave 2 – Targeted Approaches

There will be times when some member of our school community will struggle to manage their anxiety or social interactions even with effective Wave 1 strategies. They will have access to additional in-class support (overseen by the ELSA or SMHL) such as social stories, distraction techniques, positive affirmations, worry/fidget toys. The pathway to this support is via a teacher referral, completion of a SDQ (Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire completed by parent and teacher) or a request from the person, staff member of parent).

Where referral comments or SDQ scores deem it necessary the child or young person may receive direct support from the ELSA in-school or the MHST (Mental health Support Team) through school. This support could be delivered through sessions such as Lego Therapy, ELSA support intervention, personalised sessions to understand that worry is normal and build resilience. MHST offer programmes such as Worry Warriors and Rocky Resilience as well as Y6 transition workshops to prepare the children for their move to secondary school. They also offer parent workshops – a parent referral form is available on this page of the school website.

Wave 3 – Specialist Services

Some members of our school community will need specialist support and interventions which can be accessed via a referral led by the school SMHL (Mrs Green). This may occur where Wave 2 support has been offered, completed but anxieties remain. The person and/or family may have experienced crisis or significant trauma. One person’s significant trauma can be very different to another person’s and could also be a culmination of many traumas or unresolved, previous trauma. There may have been a disclosure which prompts the referral. SDQ scores may indicate needs are beyond those that can be met by Wave 2 support. Access to this level of support is through the SMHL and can also be at the request of social care interventions. The support may be provided by CAMHS, Behaviour Pathway and/or Early help and Prevention as well as local charity groups. Discussions between the SMHL and the family should identify the most appropriate pathway.


Working with Parents

Parents are an integral part of our Mental Health offer at Capenhurst. We actively promote good mental health for all and work with our parents about the benefits of good mental health. Parents are always included in any concerns we have about a pupils’ health. We ensure that parents have a voice and recognise their contribution.

We try to support parents who are concerned about their children’s mental health through our inclusive practice and family ethos across school.


The Environment

Staff aim to create calm and peaceful classrooms enabling all children to be in place that is supportive and conducive to learning. Classrooms have visual timetables, rules and procedures displayed so that pupils can feel secure in the expectations within the room. Adults understand the importance of creating spaces that are conducive to good mental health and reducing anxieties and worries.

We want our children to appreciate the awe and wonder that is the world outside their classroom and use all available outdoor space to support this. Being outside offers a time for stillness in a natural environment. The benefits of being outdoors are widely researched and reported. Our commitment to local visits to the farm and residential trips wider afield demonstrate our desire to give all children access to a space and opportunities that build resilience, leadership, the ability to think for themselves, support each other and take risks in a safe space.


We Are Here To Listen

If you are worried that your child may be experience mental health issues, please speak with your child’s teacher, Ms McColl or Mrs Green. Though our staff are trained to offer support at a school level, we cannot act as mental health experts and we do not try to diagnose conditions. We have clear systems and processes in place for identifying possible mental health concerns, including clear routes to escalate those concerns and refer to the appropriate professionals.

We endeavour to create a safe and calm environment and strengthen resilience before serious mental health concerns occur.

We aim to teach children that worry is normal and there will always be someone in school ready to listen and hear their worries.

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