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Deputy Head's Blog: Wellbeing at Edenhurst

Posted on 3rd Oct 2018 by Chris Barnes

The topic of wellbeing is, rightly, being given much more prominence within our society as a whole. Gone are the days of merely being told to ‘pull yourself together’ or ‘get on with it’; there is a much greater recognition that the whole person needs to be cared for. Mens sana in corpore sano - a healthy mind in a healthy body. In his blog last fortnight, Mr. Hibbert talked about how we are building a Growth Mindset into the structure of our teaching and learning here at Edenhurst. This is intimately connected with wellbeing as we encourage our community - pupils and teachers - to reflect on how they may not be able to do something ‘yet’, whilst encouraging them to press onwards towards success. Developing resilience, tenacity and the courage to fail are all important aspects of developing wellbeing.

Your children benefit from a strong pastoral system here at Edenhurst. Being part of a close-knit school community, where they are known by all staff, means that we quickly become aware of anything affecting a child and can support them. The House system NURTURES a sense of collegiality and bonding, through the rewards system (merits) and competitions such as House Rounders. In the Prep Forms, they now eat together in Houses in a manner more like those in senior schools, which also helps to bring them closer together.

Pupil Voice via the School Council and Eco Council ensures that there are fora where the children actively contribute to school life.  As the new year gets underway, the Eco Council are celebrating the success of gaining the Green Flag last year and plotting the two-year strategy to ensure that we retain it!  Likewise, our School Council have plans for how they will develop and improve Edenhurst, and some projects in which they would like to take part throughout this year. Ownership of their school is so important and they will INSPIRE other pupils as the year unfolds.

Likewise, the strong relationships between pupils and staff gives pupils the confidence to go to them with any problems or concerns.  Form Teachers, Teaching Assistants, House Teachers...there is always someone on hand to listen. And if there is something that a child would rather write down than say to someone, they can always put it into FRED, the postbox in the main entrance hall.  Similarly, the relationships with parents is key - ongoing dialogue between home and school to ensure that successes are celebrated; key information is passed on, etc. Parents of alumni comment on how they miss the daily conversations with staff once they leave Edenhurst and how close-knit it all seems by comparison.

Creative subjects such as Art, Music and Drama are integral to our life at Edenhurst and provide an extra element to what we offer to children of all age groups. ACHIEVING in these areas is as important as in the more academic subjects. We value these for the personal growth and confidence that they bring. On a personal note, I have seen how much my 2-year-old daughter enjoys Rhythm Time in our Nursery: the smiles and confidence-building starting at such a young age.

Along with our sister schools in the Bellevue Group, we survey our pupils each year using a Pupil Attitudes questionnaire.  This helps us to find out the children’s feelings about school; their perceptions about themselves as learners; their self-regard; preparedness for learning; general work ethic; confidence in learning; attitudes to attendance; and approaches to learning, among the areas that we track.  As we gather in data, we are able to compare from one year to the next - helping us track trends and act upon changes.

We take wellbeing seriously at Edenhurst - look out for the growth in resilience, confidence and challenge in your children.  It may not be instantaneous, but look back in six months or a year to see where they were and where they have move’ll be more than pleasantly surprised.

Chris Barnes