When we asked the Department of Health which schools were leading the way in mental health, they pointed straight to Tapton School in Sheffield. Assistant head Steve Rippin has been a local pioneer for mental health: from staff training and awareness sessions to school assemblies to engaging parents, mental health is well and truly on the curriculum at Tapton.
The internet is a brilliant learning tool with endless possibilities, but it also presents endless dangers. In the early 2000s we taught students to be wary of talking to strangers online and of posting anything that you wouldn’t want a future employer to see. In addition to those risks, which are still present, we now also have to worry about cyber bullying and the implications of live streaming, among new risks that develop at an unmanageable rate.
You may know Jaz Ampaw-Farr from her famous TEDxNorwichED talk ‘The power of everyday heroes’ - or perhaps from when she was fired from The Apprentice for a particularly daring move. Jaz is a teacher who has taken her survival of childhood abuse, including sexual assault, and has become an unstoppable force of resilience, positivity and passion.
Being a school leader can be stressful - this is probably stating the obvious, especially given the time of year. In the Innovate My School Guide 2017/18, four authors from different backgrounds discuss various aspects of school leadership. Here are their thoughts on wellbeing.
Christmas is a great opportunity to take the time to be thankful for those who are part of our learning community, and to channel our festive spirit and cheer into contributing to a positive environment full of thought and goodwill. At our school, all of our members of staff (teaching and non-teaching) are invited to take part in our ‘Advent Angel’ initiative. After signing up, volunteers are secretly and randomly given the name of another member of staff who is also taking part. Our only caveat is that we aim to make sure that it is not someone with the same department or office, so colleagues across the school have the opportunity to learn something new about someone, which builds into our community ethos.
Hot on the heels of this year’s Alcohol Awareness Week (13th- 19th November), alcohol education charity Drinkaware is highlighting the benefits of alcohol education in schools. Research from the charity’s Drinkaware Monitor 2016, in conjunction with Ipsos Mori, found that only one in four young people have received helpful information about alcohol from teachers, and 56% of young people who were drinking said that they drank alcohol to fit in.
When we asked our Twitter followers whom we ought to interview, Jean-Louis Dutaut threw his and Lucy Rycroft-Smith’s hat into the ring. Self-deprecatingly referring to this suggestion as “shameless self-promotion”, it quickly became evident that their project - Flip The System UK - was something our readers should know about.
Christmas for our very special children has to be the most magical time that we can possibly make it. Some of our children are so poorly that they may not be able to celebrate when Christmas day finally dawns. In other families, parents and carers may be so tired from the constant regime of looking after their profoundly poorly children that they may not have enough energy left to celebrate at home. At Highfurlong we make it our mission to create a party atmosphere for all our children, and ensure that everyone has a taste of a perfect Christmas day.