Malvern St James Girls' School Pastoral Care

Mental Health

and Wellbeing

Ms Haw, Mental Health and Wellbeing Lead

"When asked what I like best about Malvern St James I always think of the sense of belonging we achieve in our community. Everyone, regardless of age or stage, is known personally. This sense of belonging forms the bedrock of our pastoral care offer, ensuring that pupils feel they are understood and that they can be their authentic selves, free from judgment or stuffy expectations.

As Mental Health and Wellbeing Lead, I am able to witness the inner workings of our pastoral care systems first-hand, from all perspectives.

Our strengths lie in our relationships; pupil to pupil relationships are founded on acceptance and friendship, pupil and staff relationships are built on mutual respect and we pride ourselves in working collaboratively with parents and other stakeholders.

Malvern St James is saturated with an ethos of respect, compassion and of wellbeing being a priority. Health and Wellbeing underpins all that we do at Malvern St James from strategy building and decision making to day to day operations.

Much of our pupil provision is centred around preventative work. Pupils of all ages throughout the school learn about sustaining their wellbeing in PSHEE, growing their skills and knowledge as they progress through the school. Awareness days, assemblies, Mental Health and Wellbeing Week and other events aim to raise awareness and promote discussion and openness around sometimes challenging issues.

Many of the staff, across all departments, are trained in Youth Mental Health First Aid and our Sixth Form have the opportunity to obtain this qualification in their enrichment options. Keen to role model how social media can be used for good, @msjbuzz provides information, signposting and encouragement on Instagram and Twitter.

We also have robust systems to respond to the needs of those who require additional support. Our bespoke pastoral offer is built around the pupil and their needs and includes one to one mentoring, peer support, Health and Wellbeing Centre, counselling, and supported access to external services.

We were proud to have our work recognised with a Gold Award for School Mental Health which is delivered by the Carnegie Centre of Excellence for Mental Health in Schools. Not the sort to rest on our laurels, our efforts don’t stop there. We are constantly exploring new ways and initiatives to build on our established systems and are really excited about launching The Hive, our dedicated wellbeing space at school. Supported by the Friends of MSJ, we are creating a safe-haven where pupils can take time out of busy break areas, attend workshops and run peer support groups.

One of our greatest success stories is our outgoing Pastoral Prefect, Molly.Molly has navigated all the challenges of growing up, from prep to young adulthood under the wing of MSJ. In her final year, she has given back, providing first class pastoral care and mentorship to her peers. Read on to see how she reflects on the role."

Molly, Pastoral Prefect 

"In Year 12, I applied to be the School’s Pastoral Prefect, aiming to raise the status of the role and of mental health.

I set out to offer girls what would have been helpful for me.

I introduced self-care challenges and ran assemblies, even though standing up in front of the entire school was terrifying. I helped to run a Wellbeing week, mentored younger girls and have reshaped the role of Pastoral Prefect, making it a true bridge between staff and pupils.

In turn, staff helped and supported me through the associated challenges, such as being approached with complex situations, maintaining healthy boundaries and balancing the role with my studies and my own wellbeing.

For my Level 3 EPQ I wrote a book about mental health for pupils, outlining warning signs, how to help yourself, how to help a friend and also touching on personal experience. I hope this will leave a lasting legacy, reflecting the pastoral care I both received and contributed to providing as I progress to university to study Mental Health Nursing."

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