Growing together

As the nights draw in and the days become murkier, our ‘Change Team’ has recently published an online newsletter offering guidance to pupils on nutrition, sleep and motivation. The Team is a group of pupils meeting under the direction of Mrs Ewington, Director of Well-being and Co-curriculum, and whose efforts are focussed on promoting positive mental health in our school community. They have recently sent a survey to fellow pupils and are working on various initiatives, including a well-being handbook for pupils, with helpful advice and signposts for support, and the planning for a well-being week.

This is one of several groups where pupils have volunteered to support others, in some cases receiving training to do so: Student Support (Sixth Form mentors), Prefects and Senior Prefects, Diana Award Anti-bullying Ambassadors (working currently on an online safety campaign) and Charity Committee. Others act as form representatives on the School Council or as House Captains in different age groups. All serve our school community and help us to support the happiness, healthy development and safety of our pupils.

We know that growth through adolescence is rarely entirely straightforward for young people, and you will be aware that some children are still suffering from the effects of the pandemic. We have stressed to them the importance of talking to us about any anxieties, and they can choose any teacher to do so – as we are all trained in mental health first aid. In addition, we obviously have specialist staff such as our Well-being Manager, School Counsellors, Nurses, Healthcare Assistant, Director of Learning Development and Lay Chaplain, all of whom form part of the pastoral team which includes Heads of Year and safeguarding leads. We will always approach such conversations with sensitivity and a focus on positive solutions.

Sometimes pupils would rather remain anonymous when raising concerns. They can do so online via Anonymous Voice, which will be replaced next term by ‘Whisper’, an anonymous reporting tool which will enable pastoral staff to respond.

Despite the darker days and increasing tiredness as we approach Christmas, LGS remains full of smiles, joy and happy laughter! Our pupils and staff work very hard, but their many successes are underpinned by a culture of care. Our school is a vibrant and very positive community in which to learn and work. Our aim is to know and value every individual and to encourage and support them as they too develop a generosity of spirit and compassion towards others.

Best wishes,

John Watson