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Exmouth primary wins prestigious mental health award

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An Exmouth primary school has been awarded a prestigious national award for its work in promoting good mental health.

Littleham has won the Schools’ Mental Health Award from the Carnegie School of Education in Leeds which runs the centre of excellence for mental health in schools.

Littleham is part of the Jubilee with Pebblebed Federation run by executive headteacher Katie Gray.

The School of Education’s Ruth Whiteside, said:

“Staff are very much aware of, and focused on, enhancing and supporting positive mental health for all.

“Funding was made available to employ a teacher who could model the kinds of activities that would support mental health in the classroom, staffroom and elsewhere. The key impact of this approach is the shared vocabulary that is understood by all so that it is much easier to talk about mental health, whether as a child or adult.

“The school now has in place Mental Health Ambassadors which maintains the emphasis on ensuring positive mental health and well-being for all.

“The first half-term placed great importance on how to come back to school after months of disrupted schooling. As a consequence of the pandemic, the school decided that food hampers would be given in person, rather than online, as this allowed them to maintain regular contact with the families. Relationships have developed and this has had a huge impact on child-family-school communication and support.

“A full-time pastoral worker has been employed to work with the families and, again, this has supported staff to feel more confident working with and supporting those more vulnerable families.”

Executive headteacher Katie Gray said:

“We are all delighted to win this accolade.

“COVID-19 has created real challenges for us all but there have been real concerns about mental health issues amongst children following the lockdowns.

“We had already begun work on this area before COVID-19 struck but it certainly assisted us in helping the children and their families.

“Good mental health is obviously so important in itself but if children are feeling concerned then they can’t learn. If they are feeling good mentally, then they are able to take advantage of all the educational opportunities that we provide for them.”