In appreciating ourselves as individual and unique, we actively promote the value of positive mental health and emotional wellbeing throughout our whole school community. Mental health includes our emotional, psychological and social wellbeing – these all come together to influence how we think, feel and act. Our mental health can range across a spectrum from healthy to unwell, alongside fluctuating on a daily basis and over time. Whilst Health and Wellbeing is an Area of Learning within our Curriculum in its own right (please see Curriculum Page for further details) – there are some specific experiences and interventions that are built into our school life to enhance positive wellbeing that are detailed below:

Health and Wellbeing Lead
Our Health and Wellbeing Lead, Sarah Ruggeri, has overall responsibility for the whole-school approach to supporting mental health and wellbeing throughout our school community. Our Governor responsible for Health and Wellbeing, Mike Bacigalupo, supports policy development, alongside monitoring the social and emotional health of everyone who makes up our school community.

ELSA (Emotional Literacy Support Assistants)
ELSA is an initiative developed and supported by educational psychologists, who apply their professional knowledge of children’s social and emotional development to areas of need experienced by pupils. Our ELSA Leads are Paulina Jurkiewicz-Davies and Lynne Austin, who have been specifically trained to develop and deliver individualised support programmes to meet the emotional needs of the learners in our care. It recognises that children learn better and are happier in school if their emotional needs are also addressed. The educational psychologists provide on-going professional supervision to maintain the high quality of work undertaken by our ELSA’s, ensuring safe practice for both our ELSA’s and learners alike.

Forest School
Our Forest School sessions are aimed at developing learners’ awareness of both themselves and their environment, at promoting positive self-esteem, encouraging the growth of both independent practical skills and confidence in working as part of an effective team, alongside supporting the development of fine and gross motor skills. Through taking part in regular sessions throughout the year, we aim to foster a lifelong connection for our learners with our natural environment in the hope that they will become the advocates of the future in creating a sustainable world.

Calm Corners and Rainbow Room
Every classroom has a dedicated ‘Calm Corner’, which is specifically designed as a quiet, calm area within the room where learners can retreat to when they are experiencing difficult emotions. This area is a nurturing space, with resources on hand to support a period of difficulty, whether it be related to anxiety, frustration, sadness or anger. In addition, our Rainbow Room, is an enhanced space away from the classrooms, where learners can take a moment of calm to resettle when feelings become too much. This room is equipped with resources to support learners during such moments of an overwhelming nature.

Adverse Childhood Experiences Support
Our ACE’s Lead is Sarah Ruggeri, who has been specifically trained to support learners who have experienced adversity in their early years, to understand the impact that such experiences can have upon a child’s brain development and the impact that such toxic stress can have upon their health, both physical and mental. Through utilising a ‘trauma informed lens’, we ensure that our safe, nurturing and stable learning environment provides our learners with positive strategies in order for them to build resilience and help mitigate the impact of ACE’s.

Youth Mental Health First Aid
Our Youth Mental Health First Aider, Sarah Ruggeri, has been specifically trained by Powys CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service), to be able to provide that first instance of help for a learner who is developing a mental health problem, is experiencing a worsening of an existing mental health problem, or is in a mental health crisis. This first aid, which can help address anxiety, panic attacks, depression, suicidal thoughts and feelings, eating disorders, psychosis and substance use, is provided until the appropriate professional help is received or the crisis is resolved.

CAMHS In-Reach Team
We are supported by the Powys Schools In-Reach Team, who provide a consultation service about individual leaners about whom we have concerns relating to their emotional health and wellbeing. This consultation process leads to the development of an action plan, which provides strategic support for us as a school to support learners in an early identification / prevention approach. The Team also provide whole class discussions relating to Five Ways to Wellbeing and building up Resilience.

Honeypot Young Carers, at Honeypot, Pen-y-Bryn, Dolfor
We are privileged to work closely with the Honeypot Childrens Charity, a national young carers charity. For our learners who are young carers, we are able to make referrals to this charity who provide respite breaks for those with responsibilities beyond their years, the opportunity to make happy memories and build brighter futures. Take a look at their website for further information – Honeypot | UK Children’s Charity

Honeypot SEAL (Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning) Residential, at Honeypot, Pen-y-Bryn, Dolfor
Every year, our Year 5 learners are invited to take part in this residential, which is designed to focus upon the development of key life skills and increase confidence through practical activities and challenges. The aim of the programme is to support learners to develop their self-esteem, self-confidence and communication skills, alongside providing them with strategies to reduce any anxiety.

“Love one another as I have loved you, then everyone will know that you are my disciples”. John 13:34

Our Mission Statement anchors our purposeful learning, so that valued in our uniqueness we nurture our skills and talents to our fullest potential. Our stimulating experiences promote our joy of learning as we thrive, growing in our self-belief, happiness and independence. We inspire and motivate each other to strive for excellence in our increasingly digital world, as we become advocates for our ever-changing future.

We develop our inclusivity and compassion for our global neighbours as we encourage each other in our responsibility to care for God’s world. Together, we build a stronger community through mutual respect of our differences and similarities, celebrating our home in Cymru and our place in the wider world as we Listen, Laugh and Live in the Light of the Lord.

Contact Us

St Mary’s Catholic Primary School
Milford Road
SY16 2EH

Telephone: 01686 625582
E-mail: office@st-marys.powys.sch.uk