WHEN it comes to the mental health and the emotional wellbeing of its pupils and staff, Oxford Grove Primary School is top of the class.

The school in Halliwell is the first in the UK to achieve the Wellbeing Award for Schools (WAS), which was launched in October.

Amy Longmore, Year Four teacher at the school, said: “The wellbeing of our children, staff and parents is something that we value highly at Oxford Grove and that it is vital for everybody to be involved for it to be effective.

“The WAS award focuses on ensuring that effective practice and provision is in place that promotes the emotional wellbeing and mental health of both staff and pupils.

She added: “Achieving the award recognises everything that we do at Oxford Grove to support the wellbeing of all at our school community. Securing the award has given us the recognition and support but also new means to continue to drive forward mental health and wellbeing at our school.”

A team, made of staff, parents and governors, focus on driving forward wellbeing at the school and meet every term.

Older children act as “Wellbeing Champions” and look out for children who may be alone or are available for children to speak to if they have any worries or concerns.

A range of wellbeing dates has been added to the school calendar aimed at reducing the stigma attached to mental health.

Initiatives include mentoring children, creating a culture of openness where staff and youngsters can talk about their concerns and worries.

Half-termly meetings are held with pupils on a one-to-one basis in which, as well as how children are doing in class, youngsters are encouraged to discuss any worries or concerns they have.

Miss Longmore said: “The school has also appointed an externally trained counsellor from September 2017, who offers a one-to one mentoring scheme to support children with a range of needs from raising confidence, self-esteem to someone to talk through their worries with.

“We have received brilliant feedback from the children who have or are continuing to access this support through school.”

Staff can discuss their own wellbeing during appraisal and a number of staff are mental health first aid trained to support adults and young people.

Miss Longmore said: “We will continue to drive forward the emotional wellbeing and mental health of all at our school and hope to support other schools in securing the award.”