SJB SAFEGUARDING MATTERS – FEBRUARY 2022
Following on from a successful Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week at the end of last half term, we thought it would be useful to provide further information on the structures we have in place at St John’s Beaumont to support our boys.
Although well-being and mental health are not considered Safeguarding, the well-being of the boys underpins our pastoral care and provides the framework necessary to Safeguarding.
How do we support our boys at St John’s ?
What is an Independent Listener?
An Independent Listener is a person outside of the school staff who boys may contact directly about personal problems or concerns they may have.
Whom is it offered to?
The use of the Independent Listener is offered to any boy who feels they will benefit from speaking to someone on a regular basis.
Who is our Independent Listener?
Miss Eleanor (Dolly) Rae is our newly appointed Independent Listener. She has already visited St John’s on a number of occasions to become acquainted with the boys and our routines. Ms Rae is available every Wednesday to meet with the boys. She is looking forward to getting to know them better.
What is ELSA?
ELSA helps children and young people learn to understand their emotions and respect the feelings of those around them. These sessions provide the time and space for boys to think about their personal circumstances and how they manage them.
Who is it offered to?
ELSA is offered to boys on a referral basis. This referral is made by their class teacher, heads of school (I.e. Pre-Prep, Middle and Upper) in conjunction with the ELSA teacher.
Who are our ELSA Trained staff?
Mrs Jane Evans in the Pre-Prep has been running ELSA sessions for some time now at St John’s. We are very pleased that Ms Victoria Gillespie (Lay Chaplain) and Mr Nick Jackson (Southwell Dorm Master) have recently undertaken ELSA training and will be offering ELSA sessions very soon.
What is a School Counsellor?
A school counsellor is a professional who works in schools to provide academic, further schooling and social-emotional assistance through a school counselling programme.
Who is it offered to?
Anyone can visit the school counsellor, however, this will need to be by an arrangement between parents and the school as there is a charge involved.
Who is our school counsellor?
Mrs Pamela Waters is the professional counsellor who comes into the school to meet with boys. She runs her own practice and has a wealth of knowledge and experience working with children and families. For further information see https://thepractice.co.uk/practitioners/pam-waters.html.
What can parents do to help their son’s mental health?
It is, firstly, always important to maintain routine, healthy eating, exercising regularly and encouraging positive relationships.
According to the NSPCC, some parents and carers may feel unsure about how to talk to their children about feelings and emotions.
How to start a positive conversation with your son?
- Choose an appropriate time when others are not around or where you won’t be interrupted. Often chats in the car, whilst playing a board game or when your son is being read a story are good times to have these conversations. Sometimes chats when your son is next to you. Avoiding eye contact can be the most comfortable option for a child in these talks.
- Actively listen to how your son feels. Dependent on their age, try to help them come up with their own solutions to the problems they are experiencing. It is important to remember that although you may not feel it is a “big worry”, it is big to your son and brushing their concerns off, will only make them feel worse.
- Be patient and let your child talk in their own time.
- Make it clear that you are there to support your child.
What can parents suggest for boys to do if they are experiencing difficulties?
- Breathe: Deep breathing is one of the best ways to lower stress in the body. This is because when you breathe deeply, it sends a message to your brain to calm down and relax. Often asking your son to count to 10 (or whichever number necessary), breathing deeply. Closing ones eyes at the same time can also be useful.
- Gratitude and Prayers: Whether your son prefers to state 5 things he is grateful for each morning. (It is suggested that these are 5 different things – being grateful for the sunrise, or a new patch of daffodils on the roadside. This creates a positive attitude for what we do have). Morning, night time or dinner time prayers always help us stop and realise how privileged we are to have even the smallest things such as a meal and our family home.
- Listing values: Suggest your son writes a list of his values and things that matter to him, like feeling calm, being kind or taking care of his pet. Your son can look at his list every week and decide whether these are still important to him. When he has a difficult decision to make or too many things to do, he can look at his list to help him choose what to do next.
- Writing down worries: Often writing down our worries can help put them into perspective. Your son can then think about if he can change the situation and what he can do to make himself feel better about the problem.
- Get creative: Your son could draw a picture of himself and write down all his positive attributes. Having his family try contribute towards the positive quality list may help your son feel better about himself and what he is going through.
- Journaling: Keeping a journal is always a good way to put things into perspective and for your son to express his feelings.
- Safe Spaces: Ensure your son has a safe space where he can go if he is feeling he needs space and time on his own. We all need our personal space at times, and sometimes this is the same for your son. Perhaps you could help your son decorate a corner of his room that can be his calming/time-out zone.
For the very young (assisted by a parent): https://www.childline.org.uk/toolbox/calm-zone/
For young people (assisted by a parents) aged 11+: https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/for-children-and-young-people/understanding-mental-health/
Mental health advice for parents: https://www.nspcc.org.uk/keeping-children-safe/support-for-parents/mental-health-parenting/
- Childline (0800 11 11) – Run a free 24-hour helpline, email service and online and phone counselling service for children and young people in the UK.
- Samaritans (116 123) – Emotional support for anyone feeling down, experiencing distress or struggling to cope.
- HopeLineUK (0800 068 4141, or text 07786 209697) – Advisors trained to help you focus on staying safe from suicide. They can provide advice and support that may help you to stay safe.
- The Mix (0800 808 4994) – Offer a helpline, email, live chat, telephone counselling service and crisis text line for anyone under 25 years old wanting support.
We recommend journals. They are lovely for boys to encourage mindfulness, a growth mindset and to help them reflect on and regulate their own feelings:
Thank you for your time,
Mrs Anne Barker (Designated Safeguarding Lead)
Mrs Ruby Walker (Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead)