Young people and staff from Gleniffer High School got the chance to meet the Scottish Government’s Minister for Mental Health as she paid a visit to the school as part of Children’s Mental Health Week.
Pupils and staff spoke with Clare Haughey about the different ways the school are supporting pupils and highlighting the importance of mental health across the whole school community.
Improving the health and wellbeing of pupils is a significant part of Renfrewshire’s Attainment Challenge Strategy, and Gleniffer High School are adopting a school-wide nurture approach, focusing on whole school activities and a programme of both staff and peer-led wellbeing support.
Photo: Pupils and staff from Gleniffer High speak about the wellbeing support available in the school
Head-teacher at Gleniffer, Lisa Chalmers has used Pupil Equity Funding, part of the £750 million Attainment Scotland Fund, to create posts within the school targeted at closing the poverty related attainment group through support and nurture.
She said: “We have a number of staff who have volunteered to take on extra responsibility, working with our S1 pupils and interviewing them using health and wellbeing indicators. They are on hand to offer advice when needed and can report back to our Pastoral Support team if there are any issues.
“We were also able to use the Pupil Equity Fund to bring in a second Transition Teacher, working with target pupils in S1 who may be struggling and supporting them in core subjects such as maths and literacy.”
The success of the peer-led Hearty Lives group has also helped raise awareness of mental health in a positive and engaging manner within the school, and the group run a lunchtime hub promoted as a safe place where all pupils are welcome.
Photo: Head Girl Emma Spence, Minister for Mental Health Clare Haughey, Head Teacher Lisa Chalmers and Head Boy Scott Glassford outside Gleniffer High School
Minister for Mental Health Clare Haughey said: “Gleniffer is a great example of the how we can support the wellbeing of our children and young people by bringing together their mental, physical and emotional wellbeing.
“It’s crucial that children and young people are supported at important junctures such as their transition in and beyond schools.
“This is also the approach we are putting in place through our Programme for Government, which has committed £250 million to build a world-class mental health system that works for everyone.”
Children’s Mental Health Week takes place this year from Monday 4 February to Sunday 10 February and this year is focused on taking steps to be healthy both inside and out.
Renfrewshire Council’s Young People’s Champion, Councillor Michelle Campbell, was at Gleniffer High School to meet the Minister for Mental Health and to hear from the young people about the activities taking place in the school to promote a positive mental health.
Councillor Campbell said: “Having worked in the mental health field I firmly believe that having a good mental health as a young person is key to their development and their success in later life. I’m delighted that the young people at Gleniffer are so involved in promoting positive health and wellbeing in the school community.
“The school have implemented some excellent initiatives using Attainment Scotland funding, complementing the existing work going on in schools Renfrewshire-wide to develop and support the mental, social and emotional health of our children and young people.”