Student Wellbeing

At St Bede's we take great pride in the level of pastoral care we are able to provide in order to support the development and wellbeing of our young people. 

Tutors, heads of year, chaplaincy team and our Behaviour and Student Support (BaSS) team offer varied approaches to support our students in school.

Our tutors meet with students daily and are well placed to build positive relationships and a sense of belonging through form time activities and citizenship lessons; they are the first point of contact for students' wellbeing and development. 

Heads of year oversee the academic and pastoral progress of every student in their year group and they work with tutors and the wider pastoral team to make sure students are able to take advantage of any support that may be required in their journey through school. 

Our chaplaincy team are available every day, throughout the day, to offer support and guidance to all our students and our BaSS Team offers a variety of support for students on a 1:1 or group basis, acting as key workers for students requiring additional emotional and behavioural support.

For more information about Child Protection and Safeguarding - please click here.

 

Counselling

Internal support

Dotty - School counsellor with the Valley Trust

The Valley Trust counselling service with Dotty is an internal resource. This means that students can self-refer without parental consent, but generally school will update parents and/or encourage the child to share information with their parents. Parents can make a request for their child to see Dotty (you can do this through a conversation with your child's Head of Year). Dotty is in school all day on a Tuesday and Thursday and can make provision for ‘emergency cases’, where necessary. Dotty usually does a 6 week intervention (one session a week), this can be negotiated depending on the need of the student. Primarily Dotty works 1:1 with students, but would consider offering sessions with a child and parents/carers where necessary and appropriate. This would be decided on an individual case basis. Dotty can also support a child whilst they are awaiting a more permanent avenue of support (eg: CAMHS). Please note that we always advise that a child only ever see one person in a therapeutic capacity, therefore, if your child is waiting to access support elsewhere, sessions with Dotty would only be appropriate until a time when the other support begins. Dotty will report any Safeguarding concerns to a member of the Safeguarding team at school.

Mental Health Support Team (MHST)

Mental Health Support Team provides a service aimed at supporting students experiencing issues like low mood, worries, stress, anxiety, and sleep problems. MHST is rooted in the NHS Mindworks Surrey provision as well as being linked to CAMHS (Children and Adolescent Mental Health Service). If you think MHST might be of help, please speak to your child's tutor in the first instance.

External support

YMCA Heads Together provides a free and confidential counselling service to young people aged 11-24 in East Surrey and works in partnership with Mindsight Surrey CAMHS.

www.ymcaeastsurrey.org.uk

CYPHaven provides a safespace to talk about concerns, worries, and mental health. They also run small group workshops discussing different mental health topics.

https://www.cyphaven.net/

Lucy Raynor Foundation - aims to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of depression and mental health challenges especially in young adults. They offer six sessions of free 1:1 counselling for people aged 14+.  https://thelucyraynerfoundation.com/free-counselling/

Fegans (https://www.fegans.org.uk/) is a registered charity, offering free counselling for children, young people and/or parents.

They work with children offering counselling and supporting parents with parenting.  Fegans is also able to provide Family Sessions in the Surrey Base, depending on individual needs.

The Head office is based in Tunbridge Wells and the service offers support across Surrey, East Grinstead, West Kent, East Kent, East Sussex Banbury and Oxford.  Ideally, self/family referrals are most appropriate and therefore, St Bede's will be recommending this service to our students and families, should they require support.

Self harm

What is self-harm?

Self-harm is the intentional act of harming oneself in order to release inner turmoil and is a very secretive act.

It is a flawed coping mechanism in which teenagers engage to release inner anguish and distress as they are unable, or afraid, to express verbally how they are feeling.

Engaging in self-harm can cause more distress as the person embarks on a vicious cycle of trying to hide his/her wounds and scars coupled with feelings of guilt and shame, thus exacerbating the distress and turmoil that prompted the self-harming initially.

Acts of self-harm include: cutting, scratching, breaking bones, biting, pulling out hair, hitting self, burning self and poisoning.

The tell-tale signs a teenager may be self-harming

  • Self-harming can be difficult to detect because of its secretive nature. The following signs may indicate that a teenager is self- harming:
  • Looking for excuses not to engage in PE and sports activities like swimming
  • Noticeable change in character
  • Talking about him/herself in a negative way
  • Unexplained wounds, scars and bruises
  • Wearing long-sleeved tops and long trousers even in hot weather
  • Disappearing more than usual and spending longer periods of time in his/her room, and locking the door
  • More frequent and longer periods of time spent in the bathroom
  • Lack of engagement with friends
  • Noticeable collection of instruments that can cause injury and facilitate cutting
  • A collection of plasters, soothing creams and antiseptics hidden in his/her room
  • Blood spots on clothing and bed linen (turn clothes inside out to check)
  • Refusing to go clothes shopping
  • Finding laxatives in room, plus weight loss, and vomiting
  • Reacting passively and retreating to room when challenged on an issue
  • Looking for reasons to avoid family functions and seeking opportunities to be home alone more constantly and frequently.

What to do if you discover your child is self-harming

Discovering that a teenager is self-harming can be a daunting experience. You may feel afraid, angry and disgusted.

On discovering a teenager is self-harming, action needs to be taken in a proactive rather than a reactive manner:

  • Attend to your own feelings; do not approach a teenager about your suspicions or observations until you are more relaxed and grounded.
  • Approach with compassion and understanding.
  • Time your approach; wait until you have the teenager alone and are sure you won’t be interrupted.
  • Engage in a dialogue and outline your concerns in terms of what you have noticed. For example, ‘Sarah, I wanted to have a chat with you. I have noticed that you are not yourself and I am worried about you.’
  • Now be direct: ‘I have noticed that you have marks on your arm and I am wondering if you are self-harming.’
  • Do not get into a power struggle. The teenager will probably become defensive. Expect this reaction and remain composed and empathetic.
  • Remember, the teenager will be struggling with his/her own feelings, which may include shame, anger and anxiety.
  • Keep dialogue going. Let the teenager know you are there to help, not judge, and that you appreciate this is difficult for them.
  • Outline what will happen next. For example, ‘We will make an appointment with the doctor. We will find a therapist that will help you and I will support you all the way. We are in this together.’

If you are a parent who has discovered your child is self-harming, do not ignore what you have discovered. You may need to get emotional support yourself. It is advised that you engage with a service that can support you and your child.

Listen, listen and listen! Do not get angry and judge; this will cause the teenager to close off from you and intensify his/her inner turmoil.  Let him/her know you are aware of what is going on and appreciate he/she is in pain and you want to help.

Do not issue ultimatums in relation to stopping the self-harming behaviours. The act of self-harming is a coping mechanism and teenagers will not be able just simply to stop until the reasons for their actions have been uncovered and coping mechanisms that are more positive/nurturing have been developed through professional intervention.

Get professional help by engaging with a service that can support the teenager appropriately.

Websites with helpful guidance for parents

Young Minds

https://www.youngminds.org.uk/parent/a-z-guide/self-harm/

This site also directs you to a number of common mental health and behaviour concerns in children and young people aged 1-25. https://www.youngminds.org.uk/parent/a-z-guide/

www.youngminds.org.uk/young-person/my-feelings/self-harm

www.nhs.uk/mental-health/feelings-symptoms-behaviours/behaviours/self-harm/getting-help

Harmless.org.uk

The Royal College of Psychiatrists

http://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/healthadvice/parentsandyouthinfo/parentscarers/self-harm.aspx

Bullying

St Bede's School will not tolerate any form of bullying. We believe that students and staff have the right to learn and work in a safe and caring environment which promotes personal growth and confidence for all. 

Please see our Behaviour for learning policy here.

Please look at the resources section below to find out more.

Advice from Childline
https://www.childline.org.uk/info-advice/bullying-abuse-safety/types-bullying/bullying-cyberbullying/

Advice from Bullying UK
https://www.bullying.co.uk/cyberbullying/what-is-cyberbullying/

Advise from kidscape.org.uk

Challenging behaviour

Talking teens parenting course - click here to find one local to you.

For advice and information for parents on challenging behaviour, see the guidance below.

challenging-behaviour-in-children-created-may-2020.pdf

Young carers

A young carer is someone aged up to 18 years, who has an unpaid caring role for a family member or friend, usually someone with a disability or a long-term health problem (including mental illness, or a drug or alcohol addiction). Young carers may help out in a number of different ways and often take on practical and/or emotional caring responsibilities that would normally be expected of an adult.

Although many young carers cope well, around a third experience difficulties which can impact on their education. These may include getting to school, concentrating in lessons, meeting schoolwork deadlines, and completing assignments. Over time, this can have a considerable impact upon their ability to achieve qualifications and to move into further education and careers.

St Bede’s supports young carers, who may be identified via self or parent referral. If you think that your child, or any child at St Bede’s is a young carer, please let us know and we can offer support. One in twelve young person is a carer, so they are not alone.

Examples of type of support in place at St Bede’s:

  • Talking to a teacher at St Bede’s who will listen and act as an ‘advocate’ in school, to assist, represent the young person with their teachers and signpost to additional support services;
  • The possibility to speak to our school counsellor.

The chaplaincy team lead in this area and liaises with ‘Surrey Young Carers’, who may be able to provide additional support out of school. Please contact the school using the email address amo@st-bedes.surrey.sch.uk.

Surrey Young Carers (SYC) is a charitable service working across the county to support young carers. Surrey Young Carers employ education advisers who can go into school and talk with young carers. SYC also works with schools to help them support young carers, and can offer school assemblies and teacher training to raise awareness of the issues facing young carers regarding their education. SYC takes referrals and can work with young carers to give them some respite from their caring role. This may be days out, trips and activities. They also offer small groups and workshops to help address particular issues. All of these give young carers the chance to meet other young people in a similar situation.

For more information on Surrey Young Carers please call 01483 568269 or visit www.surrey-youngcarers.org.uk.

Other useful websites for support are http://carers.org.uk and http://www.youngminds.org.uk/for_parents/worried_about_your_child/young_carers/about_young_carers  

LBGTQ+ support

At St Bede’s we strive to recognise and promote inclusion and to be progressive with our policies and the education which we provide to our students.

There has been an increased level of demand for us as a leadership team to reflect on the provision for students who identify as being part of the LGBTQ+ community. These students are very much part of our community too.

We recognise that some students during their time at school will wish to explore their identity and express themselves. St Bede’s should be a safe place for them to do this. Young people should be able to trust their school, teachers, friends and peers with the reassurance that they will be accepted and loved for who they are.

Eikon - provides friendly confidential support to young people who identify as LBGTQ+ and their families. Eikon.org.uk

The Proud Trust - helps LGBTQ+ young people empower themselves and to make positive changes for themselves and their communities. theproudtrust.org

Mermaids UK - provide a safe space for transgender, non-binary, and gender diversseyoung people to find support. https://mermaidsuk.org.uk/young-people/

Switchboard - provide information, support and a referral service for LGBTQ+ people or anyone considering issues around their sexuality and/or gender identity.

www.switchboard.lgbt
Helpline: 0300 330 0630

 

Accessing internal and external support

Please note that we have included (at the bottom of this page) two Accessing Support documents. If it becomes necessary, we hope that these documents will inform and guide you in deciding how best to access support for your child or a family member. Should the school need to make a referral for external support, this will be done in line with the school safeguarding policies and procedures and the family of the child will be updated at the first available opportunity. The school always aims to work in partnership with parents and carers, to achieve the best outcomes for the child.

Accessing Internal Support for your child at St Bede's School

Accessing External support

Other useful support links

NHS Support 

A huge list of mental health and wellbeing support for all ages.

Kooth

Kooth is a free online service that offers emotional and mental health support for children and young people. You can have a "drop-in" chat with a counsellor or therapist or book a one-to-one session.

Anna Freud Centre

Anna Freud aims to create a world where children and families are supported effectively to build on their strengths and to achieve their goals in life.

Anxiety UK

Charity providing support if you have been diagnosed with an anxiety condition. Phone: 03444 775 774 (Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 5.30pm).

Action for Happiness

Action for Happiness helps people take action for a happier and kinder world through effective resources and support.

Headspace

Less stressed. More resilient. Happier. It all starts with just a few minutes a day.

My Teen Brain

Advice and support tips for parents of teenagers.

Men's Health Forum

24/7 stress support for men by text, chat and email.

Mind

Mind promotes the views and needs of people with mental health problems. Phone: 0300 123 3393 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm).

Shout

To start a conversation, text the word 'SHOUT' to 85258.

Young Minds

Information about challenges parents face with teenagers and how to deal with issues as they arise.

If you think that someone is an imminent risk to themselves or others, call the emergency services on 999.

Documents