Implementing a whole-school approach at George Green’s School, Tower Hamlets, London.
George Green’s School is situated in the Isle of Dogs. It’s an area with high levels of deprivation sitting close by the Canary Wharf developments.
The school is co-educational and includes a sixth form.
The leadership team recognised that there were high levels of mental ill health amongst the pupils as well as a high incidence of parental mental health problems.
The overall school approach is one that concentrates on listening to children and respecting their rights. They have received the UN Gold Award as a Rights Respecting School. This informs their practice on all issues and is the firm basis for improving emotional wellbeing. There is an emphasis on supporting children to be able to fluently express themselves and their feelings.
Training has been delivered to staff on a wide range of mental health issues, for example on attachment theory. Staff are also offered support with their own mental health, whether that is related to school issues or not, through the opportunity to consult with an adult psychotherapist, who spends one day per week in the school.
The school decided to commission Place2be to provide a range of services. This was initially for children at Key Stage 3 but has been extended to Key Stage 4. Place2be offer an open access space where children can speak to a member of staff. They also offer on-going one to one counselling for children with a higher level of need. Place2be staff are also available for advice to staff when they are worried about a particular child and offer some additional training sessions for staff. They also offer an adult counselling service to parents.
After observing the practice of Place2Be, a group of 6th formers approached the Head with the idea of offering mentoring support for younger pupils and the school have taken up this idea and provided the young people with appropriate training.
The school had a long standing CAMHS worker embedded and have taken over the funding for this. The post is for one day per week and the worker liaises closely with Place2be. They mainly work on a family therapy approach, including parents.
The school sees it as important that therapeutic staff are well embedded and visible members of the whole staff group.
Overall, the Head Teacher sees this whole school approach as a fundamental part of improving the lives and outcomes of pupils.