Wellbeing Week

Posted: 15th April 2024

woman in a wheelchair

This year’s theme for Wellbeing Week was ‘A Sense of Belonging’.

To start this year’s Wellbeing Week, I delivered an assembly encouraging pupils to see how involvement in activities could lead to a greater sense of belonging. I also talked about the importance of pupils finding their ‘tribes’ at school, and how ‘reaching out’ and ‘making an effort’ were essential aspects of this.

Ms. Mackie, our new Inclusion Coordinator, and her team of students continued this theme for their Key Stage 4 Assembly on Wednesday, which celebrated Neurodiversity Week 2024. Ms. Nelson also raised awareness of the value of belonging to clubs in her KS3 assembly on Thursday, where she asked pupils to contribute to a Word Cloud to express how belonging to different groups made them feel.

We also had a range of fantastic speakers for the week, including a psychotherapist, a Paralympian, and a friendship specialist.

Dr. Anna Colton provided important seminars for pupils in Year 8 and 9 about disordered eating and the prevalence of diet culture in our society. She also discussed the ways in which food can build communities and increase our sense of belonging.

On Tuesday evening, Andrew Hampton (CEO of Girls On Board) provided a really informative and entertaining webinar for Channing parents, where he explained the principles of the initiative, and gave some sound advice to parents of daughters currently experiencing ‘friendship turbulence’.

We were also keen to provide pupils in Year 7 and 8 with a workshop to help younger pupils to recognise and maintain healthy friendships, with the aim of reducing the need for Girls On Board interventions later on.

Claire Harvey, from The Schools Inclusion Alliance, gave a particularly impressive presentation about belonging, acceptance, and resilience for pupils in Years 9, 10, and 13. I sat with Sixth Form students in the balcony of the AC, and could see that her story, which included a life-changing accident, had a real impact on them. Speaking as a successful Paralympian, she talked about the ways in which the assumptions we make about different people can lead to us unknowingly excluding them, and how challenging fixed mindsets can be empowering for both us and those around us.

Drug awareness educator, Sabrina Gray, provided Year 11 pupils with a very moving account of her personal struggles with drug addiction, including some very sobering advice about the ways in which drugs can gradually take over someone’s life, until they become isolated and unable to think of anything else. It was the last of my PSHE lessons for Year 11 and, I have to say, I think it is one of the best in the entire syllabus. A great session to end on!

Pupils in Year 7 finished the week with an afternoon of wellbeing activities on Friday. It was great to see them interacting with other pupils in their different houses, and getting involved in trust exercises, a color and mark-making workshop, team games, and a ‘speed friendship’ activity. Thank you to Ms. Mohabeer and Ms. Gibbins for their involvement and, of course, to Ms. Nelson for her incredible organization and enthusiasm throughout the week. I am so glad that she agreed to join the PSHE Department as our new Assistant Head of PSHE this year. I really don’t know what I would do without her!

Thanks also to Judith Hibbert and her team for providing ingredients and equipment for the smoothie making stall on Wednesday lunchtime, and the fruit cups during morning breaks. No Wellbeing Week would be the same without them!

Pete Gittins Head of Wellbeing and PSHE

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