The NOCN Group Award for Mental Health and Wellbeing Synopses 2023/24
Our overall key strategic objective is to bring about a whole organisational cultural shift by establishing trauma sensitive, anti-racist, restorative classrooms and work places based on the key principles of practice, where the positive mental health and wellbeing of all is a high priority and interventions based in empathy are designed to drive trusting connections and ensure positive relational and emotional health for everyone. Given that the relationship between mental health and academic achievement is bidirectional and highly correlated, a trauma-informed, restorative organisation nurtures this relationship while maintaining its primary focus on educational outcomes. Kirklees College aims to improve the accessibility to learning and quality of student experience by implementing culturally sensitive, safe approaches that students trust and respond positively to. It seeks to prepare educators to work in empowering collaboration and partnership with students and colleagues, to: • promote a consistently safe and welcoming climate; • create a structured learning environment that minimises unnecessary trauma and loss reminders; • focus on building positive and attuned relationships between teachers and students, and across all staff; • use a balanced restorative practice approach to conflict and conflict mediation with appropriate sanctions where appropriate. The strategy is based on an initial 3-year plan, on the understanding that there will always be developmental work to do.
Basingstoke College of Technology (BCoT)
Our young people are coming of age with the backdrop of Covid and a more complex social and political landscape than ever before. Mental health issues are rising as a result, impacting our students' learning and wellbeing. Our goal is to ensure that the College is a safe and empathetic place for our students to learn and thrive. We have worked hard to create a safe campus where students are confident to ask for help and know they will be supported in a number of ways. We have developed several easy ways for them to talk to staff, including the confidential online reporting tool ‘Speak Up’ or within our newly opened wellbeing space, the Haven, a calm and welcoming space where students can access counselling and support. We know that for our staff great mental health comes from feeling safe, happy and fulfilled. They are at the heart of our organisation and we offer a range of programmes and benefits to support our staff’s wellbeing and to create an inclusive environment for all.
WRAP is a bespoke solution to tackle a mental health crisis that was threatening to overwhelm support services in the local area. Waiting times for assessment, diagnosis and treatment are extensive and this was significantly impacting the college’s own student body where the volume of mental health cases and the severity were both rising. In response, WRAP was developed through a partnership with MIND, focusing on adapting a non-clinical but proven programme which can support individuals from low-level short-term wellbeing through to significant mental health disorders. The college’s WRAP stands out because it can sit alongside existing and new therapeutic and medical interventions, removing the void of support often felt by young people waiting for clinical treatment. The initiative’s plan is built around self-awareness, resilience, responsibility and management, incorporating self-help, the support of others and interventions such as social prescribing, counselling or CBT. The intention is to provide crucial support to learners so they are empowered to build their own plan which can be adapted and revisited as their needs change. In this way learners can develop a sustainable strategy which continues to support them as they progress beyond college.
Salford City College Group (SCC Group)
#WELLSTUDENT is an initiative that has been created to encapsulate a vast and varied wellbeing offer. Mental health and wellbeing issues pre-date Covid, however, there has been a significant increase in the demand for college services to support learners, with case numbers increasing 4-fold since the pandemic. #WELLSTUDENT focuses on early intervention and prevention, encouraging learners to take ownership of their own wellbeing, developing resilience and in turn reducing the strain on specialist pastoral and safeguarding staff in the college, allowing them to deal with more serious mental health concerns. This has been a shift from a reactive to proactive approach to wellbeing. Supported by staff that have undertaken comprehensive CPD, students are encouraged to take a pro-active approach to mental health and wellbeing through engaging with the fully inclusive #WELLSTUDENT enrichment programme which also serves as an internal social prescribing offer. The programme has four distinct categories, physical, emotional, mental and spiritual and all students are encouraged to participate in activities they feel best meet their needs at any given time. Accompanied by a resilience-based, levelled tutorial programme, #WELLSTUDENT builds a resilient cohort who are proactive in the care of their mental health at college and beyond.
The College identified a significant increase in mental health and wellbeing disclosures and referrals since 19/20, with the pandemic clearly affecting a trauma response in many young people. The college responded pro-actively, developing as a trauma informed environment and responding with a positive and innovative approach to meeting needs and providing support for new and emerging behaviours within the classroom. Comprehensive training, a review of policies and processes and development of resources has impacted on the wellbeing and experience of both learners and staff. This initiative has supported a cross college culture of kindness, tolerance and dignity and been the springboard for a number of projects that promote equity and wellbeing.
Shrewsbury Colleges Group
Shrewsbury Colleges Group employs over 600 staff and works hard to ensure proactive and reactive mental health and wellbeing arrangements are in place for all colleagues. We are passionate about supporting staff with health and wellbeing in the workplace. We have developed a huge number of initiatives to support staff and its processes are being used as best practice nationally. The College has four pillars to our overall strategy. The second of which is to be an outstanding place to work. We have an on-site HR department with eight trained practitioners providing support to managers and staff. One of the roles within HR is dedicated to, and responsible for, employee wellbeing.
Barking and Dagenham College
Project Synopsis: Holistic Well-being at Our College In a bid to holistically enhance the well-being of our staff, our college pioneered an initiative that integrated health, mental soundness, and academic vigour. Acknowledging the intrinsic link between one's well-being and workplace efficiency, we launched an expansive programme. Our journey commenced with enrolling every staff member onto the Level 1 CACHE qualification centred around health and well-being. However, this theoretical foundation was merely the beginning. To manifest this knowledge into tangible actions, the college dedicated five special days, brimming with diverse workshops and activities. From introspective Yoga and Meditation sessions to the strategic nuances of Chess and Table Tennis, each endeavour catered to myriad aspects of well-being. Crucial topics like Dementia, Diabetes awareness, and Mental Health were spotlighted in seminars, ensuring a broad and inclusive perspective. A pivotal element was the opportunity for staff to voice their personal journeys, fostering an environment of empathy and solidarity. The initiative's success was marked by 312 staff members earning their qualification. The outcome? A profound transformation in the organisational culture, marked by openness, mutual understanding, and a palpable community spirit. Our college's approach stands as evidence of the profound benefits of integrating holistic well-being in academic environments.
Inspire Education Group
With the ongoing rise in young people presenting mental health challenges we have continued to strengthen the work with external services to offer support. Wellbeing@IEG shows the impact of a unified approach to mental health and wellbeing for staff and students through positive external partnerships. Offering targeted and individual mental health support with established and effective links by local voluntary sector groups including Mindspace, YMCA trinity, NHS Healthy Minds and Kooth we have been able to offer different ways to support students whilst raising awareness of preventive approaches and the benefits of 5 ways to wellbeing. Whilst we continue to offer high quality support for students ,staff are at the heart of what we do and we are committed to ensuring we support and invest in their wellbeing, creating an environment where colleagues feel valued and empowered. Further initiatives introduced include Free breakfast for all staff and students , Café programme such as Menopause café, Cancer support group and Mental Health Champions. Our annual Staff Conference and Wellbeing Wednesday in July is central to our whole organisational approach and culture enabling a planned programme for all staff to come together where we can demonstrate our commitment to staffs Wellbeing and reaffirming our values as an employer of choice.