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Red Oaks Primary School
Mental Health and Well-Being

If you have a pastoral concern about your child and wish to contact Mrs Taylor, in confidence, please click here to send her a message
World Mental Health Day - Monday 11th October

This year we are acknowledging World Mental Health Day on Monday 11th October. The theme for this year's campaign is 'Hello Yellow', with staff and children being encouraged to wear something yellow. By wearing yellow, we will be letting all young people know that they are not alone with their mental health; that however they are feeling is ok. This year, more then ever, it's the little things that have got us through – singing along with the radio, a walk in the countryside, a catch up with a friend or just a simple smile.

At Red Oaks we take mental health very seriously and we are really keen to raise awareness of this important topic with all of our young people. During the day the children will take part in an assembly with a mental health theme as well as completing activities and having important discussions with their classmates. We are not asking for donations this year; our primary focus is to raise awareness.

Here are some resources you might like to explore with your children. Take part in the #HelloYellow Challenge and How to make a self-soothe box
For further information about World Mental Health Day and other mental health related topics, please see the Young Minds website
Covid and Mental Health

Suporting Parents Helpfinder
Mental Health charity Young Minds have produced a six question survey for parents to find out how to support children during the pandemic. Follow this link to find out more.

Action for Children have launched Parent Talk
4 in 10 parents have been suffering from increased anxiety as a result of the pandemic. It’s scary, but there is help available. Parent Talk offers free, down-to-earth advice and live chat for parents of children aged 0-19.

Red Oaks' Strategic Plan
Red Oaks' Strategic Plan for Pupils' Social, Emotional and Mental Health in response to Covid-19 pandemic (2020-21) Download

Wellbeing Newsletter
Emotional health is just as important as physical health, and both can be severely compromised during these unsettling times. Self-care is more important than ever; we are often the last person we think about and look after.
It’s so important during these unprecedented times to enable us to be as resilient as possible for ourselves, and also to manage and alleviate our children’s worries and to provide them with much needed reassurance.
With this in mind, as we move towards schools re-opening, we wanted to outline our guiding principles for how to move forward through this transition as smoothly as possible...
Read the full letter

Also view: Hugs are great     When I cough and sneeze     Handwashing KS1     Handwashing KS2

What is Mental Health?
The Children’s Society describes mental health as how we feel about ourselves "emotionally, psychologically and socially".We all have mental health - some people have good mental health and some people don't. It is important to remember that mental health can change at any time in our lives.
Mental health is just as important as physical health, and just like our bodies, our mental health can be harmed by many different things, including:
  • Abuse or neglect
  • Experiencing trauma through crime or violence
  • Social isolation
  • Being bullied or discriminated against
  • Feeling stressed or under pressure
  • Living in poverty
  • Having debts
  • Losing someone close to you
  • Having a physical health condition
  • Losing your job
  • Having to care for a relative
  • Substance misuse.
Children’s mental health is especially important, as if young people don't get help with their mental health problems, the issues they're experiencing can stay with them when they get older.

Well-Being and Resilience - what are they?
Well-being and resilience are terms which often come up when discussing mental health.
Well-being describes how happy, healthy and satisfied we are. Further information about well-being can be found on the Children's Society website.
Resilience is the ability to cope when things go wrong.
Resilience can also be described as:
  • Bouncing back after difficult time
  • Dealing with challenges and still holding your head up
  • Giving things a go or trying your best
  • Being strong on the inside
  • Being able to cope with what life throws at you and shrug it off
  • Standing up for yourself
  • Not giving up
Just like mental health, resilience isn't fixed. There are many things to help build resilience, such as asking for help, trying again, looking after your physical health and learning from mistakes.

For Parents and Carers
We never know what life is going to throw at us. We can encounter all sorts of difficulties, both at home and work, and these can sometimes cause us to feel increased levels of stress and anxiety. Being a parent can be challenging at the best of times. It's the hardest job and doesn't come with a manual! Now, more than ever, it is so important for all of us to take care of our own mental health and in this section you will find links to some useful websites giving helpful tips and advice.

Always remember, it’s ok not to be ok. If you find yourself struggling, it’s ok to reach out to friends, family and professional organisations for help. Nobody should feel that they have to go it alone.

NSPCC - Mental health advice for parents
Lift Swindon - A Swindon service which offers various types of support for a range of different issues including anxiety and low self-esteem
Mind - A mental health charity offering advice and support for anyone experiencing a mental health problem
Mental - The Mental health Foundation’s A-Z of Mental Health
NHS - a list of mental health charities, organisations and support groups offering expert advice
Relate - counselling and advice service for families
Counselling Directory - directory of counsellors offering support for families

Meet the Well-Being Team
Red Oaks Primary School Well-Being Team
Kathy Clarke
SENDCO and Mental Health Team Lead
Red Oaks Primary School Well-Being Team
Becky Taylor
Pastoral Manager and Designated Safeguarding Lead
Red Oaks Primary School Well-Being Team
Stacey McGahey

Red Oaks Primary School Well-Being Team
Lindsey Vaughan-Lewis
ELSA (Emotional Literacy Support Assistant)
Red Oaks Primary School Well-Being Team
Bonnie Hawkins
ELSA (Emotional Literacy Support Assistant)
Red Oaks Primary School Well-Being Team
Naomi Marturano
Barnardos Trailblazer/Early Mental Health Practitioner
Red Oaks Primary School Well-Being Team
Dan Blagg
Mental Health Governor

Mental Health in the Red Oaks Curriculum
At Red Oaks we take Mental Health very seriously and it is covered within our curriculum in a variety of different ways. Our PSHE curriculum follows the Jigsaw scheme. Jigsaw has a strong emphasis on emotional literacy, building resilience and nurturing physical and mental health as part of a whole school approach. Jigsaw lessons also include mindfulness, allowing children to advance their emotional awareness, concentration and focus. For more information about Jigsaw, please click here.

As well as Jigsaw, children in years 4 and 5 use the Strategies for Safety and Wellbeing programme developed by the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families. The programme is designed to increase skills for children around safety, mental health and wellbeing and how to access sources of support. As part of this, children are supported to identify what feels safe/unsafe, recognise, understand and manage feelings, identify coping and help seeking strategies and challenge stigma around mental illness.

For more information about the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families click here.     Red Oaks Mental and Emotional Wellbeing Policy

What is Mindfulness and what does it look like at Red Oaks? describes mindfulness as a technique you can learn which involves making a special effort to notice what's happening in the present moment (in your mind, body and surroundings) - without judging anything. It has roots in Buddhism and meditation, but you don't have to be spiritual, or have any particular beliefs, to try it.
It aims to help you:
  • become more self-aware
  • feel calmer and less stressed
  • feel more able to choose how to respond to your thoughts and feeling
  • cope with difficult or unhelpful thoughts
  • be kinder to yourself
Mindfulness is practised in every class at Red Oaks in a variety of different ways. This includes mindful breathing, positive reflections, visualisation, following mindfulness activities on the Cosmic Kids You Tube channel, yoga and many others.

Dr Pooky Knightsmith
Red Oaks Primary School - Dr Pooky KnightsmithDr Pooky Knightsmith is an internationally respected expert in child and adolescent mental health. Pooky has a PhD in child mental health from the Institute of Psychiatry, is the author of five books and is the current vice chair of the Children and Young People's Mental Health Coalition.

Passionate about giving all young people the support they deserve, Pooky works tirelessly to ‘be the change she wants to see’. A prolific keynote speaker, lecturer, trainer and author, she develops and shares practical, evidence-informed approaches to promoting mental health - arming health and education staff with the skills, inform444ation and knowledge they need to support the children in their care; whilst also working hard to drive collaboration and change at a national and international level amongst politicians and charity, business and service leads. 

As a Trust, we were extremely lucky to have Pooky spend a whole day with us in November. During the day she provided workshops for both staff and parents from across the trust, to provide a valuable insight into how to support young people with various mental health needs.
Click here to see the presentation provided by Pooky.
For more information about Pooky, click here to be redirected to her website.

Useful links for Parents and Carers
Kids Helpline - Australian website with many useful resources to support a wide variety of issues
Young Minds - useful information about various mental health conditions and how to get help
Child Line - lots of information and useful resources about mental health, including games to boost your mood
Family Lives - charity providing help and support for a wide variety of family topics
The Children's Society - variety of resources and advice about mental health 0-25 years
Talking Mental Health - Teacher toolkit that includes a lesson plan, animation, resources and assembly plan

Young Minds - parent’s guide to supporting children with self-esteem
The Children's Society - information, tips and videos about self-esteem
Kids' Health - information about self-esteem

Positive Psychology - information and advice about building resilience in children
Bright Horizons - information and strategies for building resilience in children

Cosmic Kids - yoga designed specifically for children
Go Noodle - games to encourage active movement and mindfulness
Breath Meditation - You Tube video introducing children to mindful breathing

Young Minds - information and advice about supporting a child with anxiety
Child Mind Institute - tips for helping a child with anxiety
The Anxious Child - booklet for parents about anxiety in children (produced by The Mental Health Foundation)
Anxiety UK - information and advice for parents about anxiety in young people

Bereavement and Loss
Child Bereavement UK
Winston's Wish - childhood bereavement charity.
Wiltshire Treehouse - bereavement support for children and young people up to the age of 25

If you have a pastoral concern about your child and wish to contact Mrs Taylor, in confidence, please use the form below

We hope you find our site informative and interesting and welcome feedback at any time. If you would like to visit the school please do not hesitate to contact the school office any time. If you require paper copies of any information on our website, please ask at the office.

Red Oaks Primary School, Redhouse Way, North Swindon Learning Campus, Swindon SN25 2AN
Tel: 01793 493920 Email:

Red Oaks is strongly committed to protecting and safeguarding children and expects all staff and volunteers to embrace this commitment.

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