At Bedford Greenacre School wellbeing is a crucial part of school life. It is our priority to ensure that pupils are happy, healthy and well cared for during their time with us. Our small classes allow us to provide individual attention to each of our pupils to ensure they are coping with the challenges that life can bring. Our Form Tutors are supportive and are pleased to communicate with families about ways we can assist their child. Our leadership team value the importance of a hands-on approach and enjoy being involved in the everyday routines of school life. This means that our leadership have a good relationship with the pupils and this helps to provide a high level of mutual respect. We are quick to respond to the needs of our pupils and communicate effectively with their families.
Wellbeing & Anti-bullying Ambassadors
At times, life can be tough and we know that pupils can value the advice and care of their peers. We have trained Wellbeing & Anti-bullying Ambassadors across the year groups who can offer a friendly ear and support to those who need it, which is quite often all that is required for somebody who has been feeling a bit anxious to get back on the right track.
We encourage our pupils to take control of their own wellbeing and actively promote discussion on social skills and have ‘talking friends’ groups. We acknowledge that everybody is different and provide safe-havens for those who prefer a quiet escape at break and lunchtimes instead of the noisier playgrounds.
We encourage understanding in our pupils and in all our staff. Staff look out for those pupils who are shy or less outgoing and gently encourage them. For instance, we strongly believe that all abilities should have access to sport and fitness activities. We also like everybody to take part in performing arts. These, and more, can help develop an individual’s self-esteem, which is vital to our way of teaching and learning.
School Counsellor and Pastoral leadership
We have two qualified Counsellors who are available for individual appointments to provide reassurance and guidance for pupils who require extra support.
As well as the provision of trained Counsellors, we have teaching staff who lead our pastoral support. They are on hand to listen and provide guidance to students who need it. They can work in conjunction with the Counsellors and with families to ensure that a consistent pastoral approach is maintained to assist with specific issues and that our pupil’s emotional, social and physical well-being is at the heart of what we do.
We also have two qualified mental health first-aiders who are available to support pupils who may be distressed and can use strategies to support and reassure them during the school day.
Outside agencies and initiatives
We often work with outside agencies to help us support our wellbeing programme and to stay up-to-date with local and national well-being initiatives.
We take part in initiatives such as the ‘Girls on Board’ Scheme. It helps girls navigate the often-troubled waters of friendship problems, allowing them, their parents and their teachers to understand the complexities and dynamics of girl friendships. The language, methods and ideas empower girls to solve their own friendship problems and recognises that they are usually the only ones who can. By empowering girls to find their own solutions, parents need worry less, schools can focus more on the curriculum and the girls learn more effectively – because they are happier.
Often, we invite visitors into the school to talk about emotional wellbeing. The visits are backed-up with regular assemblies and form time activities which cover important issues such as mental-health awareness. We have introduced ‘Wellbeing Wednesdays’ to our form time structure where we focus on wellbeing as a form group every week as this is central to our vision at BGI.
In our Sixth Form, we openly discuss mental health issues and ways to cope with them as we prepare our sixth formers for life at university and beyond.
We raise awareness of mental health concerns through activities such as raising funds on World Mental Health Day in October through mufti days.
We also promote the WE Movement, which empowers young people to fulfil their potential by developing their personal wellbeing and workplace readiness through social action. We support their belief that building the confidence, self-esteem and leadership skills of young people will lead to the next generation of healthier and happier active citizens. Pupils have been going to the annual WE Concert for a number of years and then cascading their experience down to the rest of our school community. We promote confidence, self-esteem and leadership skills in our students throughout their school day, but we also provide extra-curricular opportunities to develop these skills, such as the Combined Cadets Force experience and also the Duke of Edinburgh Award.
Above all, we understand that school is far more than academic results; it is about developing our students for the adult world and providing them with the right tools in terms of confidence and high self-esteem, which will help them to reach their potential.
With the exciting development of BGI as one school, we have extended our house system into four new houses. Pupils have been allocated their new houses and we run termly house assemblies to celebrate various achievements and to build a sense of togetherness.
Pupils earn House points for good work, good behaviour, extra-curricular involvement, etc. Certificates and badges are awarded to individual pupils, with house points accumulating over the three terms. A variety of competitive inter-house activities are organised over the year by different departments to allow every pupil the opportunity to represent their house.
Junior School Stars of the Week
Each form tutor in the junior schools at both sites is able to nominate somebody from their class to be the Star of the Week. Names are listed in the Principal’s Blog in order for everybody to celebrate.
Teachers may nominate pupils for the Principal’s Award. This could be a fabulous piece of work or showing a great amount of effort. It can even be for something the pupils have achieved outside of school, such as sporting success, volunteering for charity, etc. The pupil receives a badge to wear for the week plus they have their name mentioned in the Principal’s blog, so everybody can hear about their success.
At the end of the academic year, each school holds an Awards Ceremony. There are numerous awards available throughout all year groups covering everything from sport and the arts through to the sciences, humanities and mathematics. Awards are for effort and perseverance as well as high achievement, so every pupil has the chance to receive a prize. The Awards Ceremonies are a lovely way to finish the summer term and highlight the best qualities our unique schools provide to our pupils.