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Gesher School scoops pioneering mental health award!

Posted: 16th December 2021

Gesher School has achieved the School Mental Health Award which is delivered by the Carnegie Centre of Excellence for Mental Health in Schools. Gesher was awarded a Silver standard for its outstanding mental health and wellbeing provision.

The award recognises that Gesher has positive mental health and wellbeing deeply embedded in its culture and practice; and that there is a whole school approach to proactively supporting students, staff, families, and carers, through a range of activities including mindfulness, yoga, dramatherapy, regular counselling, art therapy, celebration assemblies, family workshops, and Lego-therapy. Alongside this, the school works closely with a number of specialist services including social services and the NHS’s Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services.

Gesher has developed a mental health, wellbeing and happiness framework which ensures the school team has a range of strategies and approaches to promoting children’s positive mental health. They also demonstrate a strong understanding of the pressures placed upon staff within the SEN education industry and have a comprehensive wellbeing programme in place to support their team.

Tamaryn Yartu, headteacher of Gesher School, said: “I am extremely proud of Gesher achieving this award. At Gesher we believe that happy children learn, and that now more than ever, positive mental health and emotional wellbeing is critical to our children and young people being able to navigate the changing world’. A focal point of the school’s mental health and wellbeing provision has been access to creative arts psychotherapy for all students. The school has a full-time art therapist and dramatherapist, as well as a dedicated on-site educational psychologist who provides support for the school community including students, staff and families. Gesher also ensured it remained open for the duration of the COVID pandemic to ensure stability and to better support the mental health of all those within the school community.

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 is not just recognition of a whole-school approach to mental health, it’s 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 Gesher on 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 Gesher 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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