Published on: 12th May 2022

Whittaker Moss Primary School in Rochdale has received the AcSEED Award for its commitment to emotional wellbeing and mental health of its students.

Since early 2021, the school has worked with our Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale young people’s mental health support team, which we deliver in partnership with local charities Early Break, Your Trust, Place2Be and Youth in Mind.

Rochdale primary school awarded for its commitment to student mental health.JPGThe AcSEED assessment team were impressed with the wide range of initiatives at the school, including a dedicated mental health practitioner, parent workshops and mindful movement sessions for every class.

Sarah Cadogan, deputy head teacher, said: “This award is a fantastic achievement and recognises all the work we do to support the mental health and wellbeing of our students, families and staff.

“Working with the mental health support team means we have developed many innovative initiatives to the benefit of all our students. We now have a dedicated mental health practitioner who visits every week and works with individual children and families. Plus, we run mindful movement sessions – which combines yoga and mindfulness for every class as well as parent workshops.”  

Other initiatives set up by the school include dedicated wellbeing warriors throughout the school; a range of ‘lets talk about’ programmes focusing on self-esteem and relationships; training for all staff; and wellbeing dominoes groups set up by the school pastoral lead.

Harriet Gilson, educational mental health practitioner at Pennine Care, who visits the school every week, adds: “It’s wonderful to work with such a forward-thinking school. I provide one-to-one sessions for children who are over 8 years old and family sessions for younger children. I provide therapeutic treatment to help with mood, anxiety and behavioural difficulties.

“The support provided throughout the school is excellent, they have a whole school approach towards mental health and wellbeing that focuses on support, education and awareness. Early support is essential for children to prevent problems and issues growing.”

The school’s work around mental health and wellbeing has also helped it achieve Rochdale Borough Council’s Healthy Schools award and gain Effective School Council Platinum status.

Photo caption: Centre (holding certificate) - Sarah Cadogan, senior mental health lead and deputy head teacher, Whittaker Moss Primary. Next to Sarah on the right: Maggie Beswick, school pastoral lead and Matthew Howells, mindful movements instructor, Your Trust. Next to Sarah on the left: Harriet Gilson, educational mental health practitioner, Pennine Care. Far left: Mark Wood, operational manager, young people’s mental health support team, Pennine Care; Andrea Eadsforth - Healthy Schools teaching and learning adviser, Rochdale Borough Council; joined by parents and family members of the Whittaker Moss School community.