Trinity School and College receives AcSEED accreditation
Executive head teacher Elizabeth Baines (left)
receives the award from AcSEED principal assessor Helen Galsworthy.
Congratulations to Trinity School and College in Rochester, Kent, who were presented with The AcSEED Award at a ceremony
held to mark the occasion on Friday 27th November 2015. Trinity is the first school in the South East, and the first
independent school, to receive AcSEED accreditation.
Representatives of The AcSEED Initiative said "It's great to see that Trinity School and College have fully embraced a
whole school approach to wellbeing which is a fundamental principle of the AcSEED assessment framework. The directors
and staff have an excellent understanding of their student's needs, and have tailored their emotional wellbeing and mental
health provisions accordingly".
In receiving the award on behalf of Trinity School and College, Executive head teacher Elizabeth Baines paid tribute to the
knowledge, skills, and dedication of her staff. She also noted that whilst the school was well recognised for their specialist
expertise on learning difficulties, she was particularly pleased to be accredited with The AcSEED Award as emotional wellbeing
and mental health support was the one common thread through the needs of all students at Trinity.
Read the full story here.
The ETC Alliance collaborative wellbeing project
By: Cheron Macdonald and Liz Lee
The ETC Alliance based at Wildern Teaching School is funding a collaborative project 'Supporting Mental Health and Well-being
in School' following concerns raised at strategic level about staff indicating a lack of knowledge or confidence when working
with children and young people with mental health difficulties and eagerness to remedy this. The project was launched on 10th
May 2015 with the aims of: developing a whole school approach and policy, increasing awareness, knowledge and skills of all
staff and establishing clear referral procedures and proactive work with supporting agencies. At a subsequent ½ day workshop
in July 2015 with speakers from AcSEED and Solent Mind Heads Up, 18 schools and 37 staff have committed to taking the project
further, working together to develop and improve strategies and expertise in this field.
This project is being led by Cheron Macdonald, SENCO at Wyvern College and Liz Lee, SLE for ETC Alliance, Assistant Head at
Oak Lodge School in partnership with CAMHs and AcSEED, through further interactive workshops and smaller group coaching or
The recent whole day workshop in November 2015, delivered by Dr Terri Brown and Dan Batchelor from the Eastleigh CAMHs Team,
covering topics requested by participants: understanding and managing anxiety in a school setting, depression, low mood and
self-harm received very positive feedback.
We are now over half-way through the project and participants are developing mental health and well-being policies and planning
how to cascade key information back to staff in their respective schools.
The aim for all participating schools is to have gained an AcSEED accreditation by the end of the project in June 2016.
It has been really valuable working alongside Charlotte and Nick Gatherer in making sure we are raising mental health awareness
and confidence of staff in supporting pupils in school. We look forward to updating AcSEED on the schools who have gained the
accreditation and the next steps for our project.
Blog: The sensitive subject of acne
I couldn't say the word "acne" out loud until I was an adult. It's a very emotional thing, your skin, and acne was doing me
such emotional harm at school that I was unable to ever speak about it, even though I really needed to.
The biggest misconception to do with acne is 'they are just spots'. I would never underestimate the multiple impact of acne
on anybody's school life. It can affect academic achievement, socialising, school trips, participation in sport, eating,
overall mood, self-esteem, attendance, in fact every aspect of emotional wellbeing.
Despite acne being the most mainstream physical condition to affect pupils at school, there is a silence surrounding acne.
Sadly, that silence is self-perpetuating as acne continues to be a subject largely ignored compared to, say, body image. The
silence is twofold. It is the silence of pupils who are so deeply upset by acne that they bottle everything up and so friends,
parents and teachers are completely unaware there is a problem. Also, there is the silence from schools in recognising the
nature and extent of acne's impact. I believe very strongly that schools should be proactively reaching out to pupils who may
be in real distress. In being open about acne within school there is a better chance of catching pupils before they reach a
possible crisis point and, as was the case with me, become traumatised by their acne.
Another misconception is that the severity of the acne equates to the degree of upset. This isn't the case. Somebody who may
appear to have mild acne can be overwhelmed by it. Somebody else who may appear to have more obvious acne may be emotionally
strong and pragmatic.
There are so many strands to how acne can affect a pupil, boy or girl equally, that often a pupil with acne will only feel
able to open up to somebody else who has direct experience of acne too. So, there needs to be an appreciation of this because
a common thought process is 'there's no point, they won't understand', and this overrides a student's need to share their emotions.
There is no doubt that due to the intensity of feelings generated by something as personal as a young person's own skin, the
subject of acne needs to be treated sensitively and knowledgeably by schools. For a pupil with acne, being told 'your skin
doesn't look bad to me' is not the right kind of help. There needs to be a proper awareness of how students with acne can
be affected across all school life.
The importance of early intervention: a personal perspective
By: A young person and AcSEED volunteer (name withheld)
If someone had said to me ten years ago that I would be working in a school, I don't think I would have believed them. However
ten years ago I would have felt the same way if told that I would have ill mental health. One positive outcome is that I now get
to use the experiences from my own mental health battle to support my work with young people who are themselves suffering. I am a
cover supervisor in a secondary school, and more often than I would like I see young people with mental health problems ranging
from mild anxiety around exams to anorexia and depression. School can often be a trigger for young people with mental health
issues and therefore my experiences come in handy with those who are struggling.
I strongly believe there is a fine line between helping and hindering young people with wellbeing challenges. It is therefore
important to be knowledgeable and up to date with current mental health trends and 'lingo', which will hopefully ensure that
you do not set a foot wrong and potentially make things worse. I find the best way to do this is simply to read and to listen.
I read articles all the time on young people's mental health services and how things are handled, and notice that much has
changed in the 6 years since I was personally involved with CAMHS (Child and Adult Mental Health Services). I now have a much
better understanding of how to react when students speak to me about their worries and struggles. Yet what I have found comes
in most handy when working with a young person is simple and genuine compassion. Sometimes all young people want is to have
someone listen to them, whether it's simply about their day or something more serious such as a horrible situation at home.
Whatever it is they often just need to know that someone is there to listen and to know that they matter.
As I said earlier I would not have believed that I would ever end up with ill mental health because ten years ago I was the
happiest and liveliest 14 year old you could meet in my school. Not for a minute did I think anything was wrong in my life,
or that I was sad. However things can change very quickly. Within a year I developed Anorexia and depression and ever since
have struggled with my physical and mental health. You may think a year is a long time, but throughout that year all the warning
signs of my deteriorating mental and physical health went unnoticed. I believe my situation could have been much improved if
these signs had been recognised. I cannot stress enough the importance of early intervention when it comes to young people's
behavioural changes. It's a bit like teaching a child how to play nicely with their siblings - if they go wrong then getting
in early to correct the behaviour is the best way to eliminate bad habits. Mental health is the same.
AcSEED volunteer receives award from Royal College of Psychiatrists
AcSEED volunteer Helen Galsworthy receives her
award from The Royal College of Psychiatrists.
Congratulations to AcSEED volunteer Helen Galsworthy who has received one of the prestigious annual awards from The Royal
College of Psychiatrists. Helen, a principal assessor with The AcSEED Initiative, received the 2015 award for 'Service User
Contributor of the Year' for her work with The Hampshire Lanterns perinatal peer support group, and with The AcSEED Initiative.