If not - I recommend reading on, and about a fantastic school which is determined to plug every learning gap in their staff in order to do whatever they can to help all their pupils achieve.
We spent yesterday morning delivering our mental health management course to support staff at Hadley Learning Community (HLC). While the morning did not run completely smoothly - the fire evacuation did at least give me an opportunity to have a little break from talking... the workshop went down a treat.
Having designed the course to specifically empower teaching staff to identify, understand and manage pupils who may be struggling with mental health difficulties in the classroom, yesterdays workshop was a little different. Facing the school experts in pupil support, and trying to make sure that I was not wasting their time by covering old ground did leave me feeling slightly nervous...
Thankfully the knowledge we transfer, and the techniques we cover are wrapped up in a unique package, and even those staff member at the top of their field had a few questions, and learned a lot.
Phew - it would have been rather embarrassing otherwise!
Imagine if you got to the end of delivering a workshop and your delegates just looked at you and said - well that was useless!
So what's so unique about what we deliver?
Well for starters we empower education staff to tackle mental health head on. We enable them to begin to identify, and understand the 5 most common childhood mental health difficulties; depression, anxiety, ADHD, conduct disorder and specific learning disorders. We teach them what these mental health difficulties are (and importantly what they're not), we show them how to identify specific symptoms, and show simple techniques which help to manage pupils who are struggling.
Because we get teachers have a massive workload already - everything we teach is designed to fit within the curriculum, and become a natural part of everyday teaching - enabling all pupils to benefit. While it's true pupils with mental health difficulties often need intensive interventions to support them, segregation can also leave them behind socially, emotionally, and behaviourally - something which detrimentally impacts their academic potential.
All humans (whether children, adolescent or adults) learn by observing, and copying by being excluded from the rest of the group pupils learning potential is reduced. Integrating the techniques into the classroom strategy enables all pupils to benefit, including those who are struggling with a mental health difficulty but have not yet been identified. Estimates say 1 in 10 young people are struggling with a mental health difficulty - and in all honesty this is very likely a conservative guess...
So other than the information overload during the workshop delegates get a workbook (which becomes their own personal 'how to' manual), a CPD certificate, and we also make sure that everyone who comes on board is supported for two years through 1-2-1 coaching/mentoring catch up calls. These calls enable us to ensure effective implementation of what was taught, and to be on hand to offer advice and guidance if necessary. Remember - we're mental health professionals not just people delivering a training course. We help people of all ages, and backgrounds on a daily basis over come mental health difficulties - we can absolutely help you support them effectively.
If you're open to finding out how we can help your teachers become confident in supporting pupils with mental health difficulties then give us a quick call on 01952 796 062 or drop us an email on course@woodlandpsychologicalservices,com - we look forward to empowering your team and enabling your pupils to reach their academic goals.
P.S. a massive thank you to Amy for all of her help and taking charge of the clicker so I could be my usual animated self while talking, and well done to all of the team at HLC for passing with flying colours!