Newly Accredited Schools and Colleges
Many congratulations to the following schools and colleges that have recently achieved AcSEED accreditation:
- Torpoint Community College in Torpoint, Cornwall
- Sydenham Primary School in Leamington-Spa, Warwickshire
- Freegrounds Junior School in Hedge End, Hampshire
- Plymstock School in Plymouth, Devon
- Priestlands School in Lymington, Hampshire
- The Mulberry House School in West Hampstead, London
- Selly Oak Trust School in Selly Oak, Birmingham
Mulberry House first early years school to receive The AcSEED Award
Congratulations to The Mulberry House School, London, who are the first dedicated early years/preparatory school to be accredited with The AcSEED Award. At a ceremony to mark the achievement on Thursday 18th May 2016 the award was presented to the children and staff at Mulberry House.
AcSEED Chief Executive Nick Gatherer (centre) presents the award to Mulberry House Head Teacher Victoria Playford, Head of Operations Vijay Tanna, and Team Leaders Carla Garcia Fernandez and Maria Fojo Nebnil.
"AcSEED promotes adoption of best practices in supporting the emotional wellbeing and mental health of young people in schools and colleges, and provides recognition for organisations that satisfy the AcSEED criteria for wellbeing support" said Charlotte Gatherer, founder of The AcSEED Initiative. "The AcSEED assessment team were impressed by the comprehensive wellbeing support provided by The Mulberry House School, by the targeting of wellbeing provisions to specifically address the needs of age groups within the school, and by the high degree of staff awareness and engagement which creates a very strong wellbeing ethos".
The Mulberry House School, an independent school based in Hampstead, is the first school in London to be accredited in recognition of its commitment to the emotional well-being and mental health of its pupils.
“This award is valued by staff, children and parents just as much as our recent ISI inspection where we received 'excellent' across the board. We are delighted with the result and its recognition,” said Victoria Playford, Head Teacher.
“Having received excellent grades in all curriculum and statutory areas during a recent inspection and now to have become the first EYFS setting to receive this wonderful, worthwhile and ground-breaking award makes us, our pupils, parents and teachers feel very proud. It is great to lead the way”, said Bethan Lewis-Powell, director and founder of The Mulberry House School.
Read the full press release here
Focus on AcSEED assessment criteria: 'Early Intervention Counselling'
By: Charlotte Gatherer, AcSEED Founder
Earlier this year Prince Harry discussed openly how his personal development was impacted by the untimely death of his mother, Diana, Princess of Wales. The young royals have made a concerted effort to challenge the stigma surrounding mental health, and indeed their Heads Together campaign has reached far and wide with the bright blue headbands handed to every runner in the 2017 London Marathon and even becoming a facebook filter.
However Harry's latest interview is of a far more personal nature and provides some insight into why he feels so passionate about the subject. In an interview with The Telegraph  he described how he “shut down all his emotions” for 20 years, seeking counselling only when he recognised the extent to which stress and anxiety were impacting his social life and work commitments.
In some respects the life style of Prince Harry, and the events and publicity surrounding the death of his mother, can be considered unique. However Harry's reaction to the situation, 'burying his head in the sand' and avoiding open discussion about his emotions, are very typical of young people faced with emotional turmoil. Such feelings can be prompted by traumatic events including bereavement, but can also be caused by more protracted circumstances such as bullying and low self esteem.
The whole school approach that AcSEED promotes in supporting the emotional wellbeing and mental health of young people in schools and colleges has three primary areas of focus:
Prevention - helping all young people to develop their self esteem, emotional resilience, and social skills. Building an awareness of mental illness also equips them to support peers experiencing difficulty and to challenge mental health stigma.
Early intervention - providing additional support to young people faced with emotional trauma, or exhibiting early symptoms of a mental illness. Early support can help to prevent further escalation.
Specialist support - ensuring that young people needing more specialised and/or focussed interventions can be referred efficiently to relevant external organisations such as CAMHS.
According to the Early Intervention Foundation, "Early intervention is about taking action as soon as possible to tackle problems for children and families before they become more difficult to reverse” . This may involve supporting children in high risk groups of developing mental health problems or acting quickly when individuals start to exhibit symptoms. Giving young people the opportunity to receive help early can prevent problems from becoming entrenched, or from spiralling further downhill which can result in long term harm and the need for crisis interventions.
Early intervention has several potential benefits including:
Timely access to specialised support.
Less intrusive interventions.
Preventing the progression of illness.
Improving life outcomes, eg through remaining in education.
Financial savings in secondary care services.
With Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) facing a dramatic increase in the volume and complexity of referrals, there is a strong and urgent need for other organisations to help minimise the CAMHS workload by providing early intervention. The AcSEED Initiative believes that schools and colleges can make a significant contribution. Young people spend a considerable amount of time at school, and may find this a safer environment in which to discuss their feelings. Teachers are often well placed to identify changes in behaviour and attitude, or to spot other early warning signs. Providing even modest levels of emotional support early can go a long way to avoiding further problems, and does not necessarily need to come from a specialist mental health professional.
The growth of AcSEED in part reflects the growing recognition of the need for prevention and early intervention. The initiative was initially targeted at secondary schools and colleges as this was the point at which many of the founding members started experiencing mental illness. However as the scheme progressed it received increased interest from primary (and even preparatory) schools who were conscious that emotional difficulties often emerged at earlier ages. According to the Mental Health Foundation "50% of mental health problems are established by age 14 and 75% by age 24" .
We don't know whether additional support in the school environment could have encouraged Prince Harry to seek help and support at an earlier stage, but AcSEED is aiming to ensure that all schools and colleges at least provide the opportunity for young people to benefit from early intervention. A strong wellbeing ethos is vital to encourage students to take the first steps towards discussing their feelings, and with the confidence of knowing that they are not alone. As Harry himself observed, “The experience I have had is that once you start talking about it, you realise that actually you're part of quite a big club”.
 The Telegraph: Interview with Prince Harry.
 Early Intervention Foundation.
 Mental Health Foundation statistics.