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Student Wellbeing

Wellbeing at Comberton Village College

At Comberton Village College student and staff wellbeing is central to what we do. We understand that the move from childhood to adulthood can be challenging. We will seek to support all students in becoming confident, capable and caring individuals as they become adult members of our community.

Useful resources for parents, carers and students

Keep Your Head is a useful website for students in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough who may be concerned about their own or others' mental health.

Kooth  offers free confidential online counselling for students

Chat Health is a secure and confidential text messaging service for young people aged 11-19 across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough who are struggling to cope with issues such as bullying, emotional health, relationship problems, alcohol and drugs. The number to text is 07480 635 443

CASUS is the Cambridgeshire Child and Adolescent Substance Use Service, provided by the NHS Foundation Trust. CASUS provides information, support and specialist treatment in Cambridgeshire, around drug and alcohol use, to young people under 18 and their families. The website contains information on their services, including how to refer yourself, or somebody else, and lots of information and advice around drugs, alcohol, and mental wellbeing.

Think U Know has useful guidance for parents/carers and young people on online safety. The school also runs e-safety events throughout the year to support young people.

Youthoria has a range of resources for managing exam stress and support available for young people in Cambridgeshire.

The Equality and Diversity group at Comberton Village College has also suggested that these resources are useful for young people and their families:

LGBTQ+ support:

The Kite Trust: local information on support for LGBTQ+ young people and their families

Mermaids: National information on support for trans-gendered students and their families

BAME support:

Racism & Mental Health, Youngminds: Young minds has a range of resources to support BAME students as well as other sections focused on mental health and wellbeing.

Neurodiversity support:

Autism & mental health, Youngminds: there is also information and support focused on neurodiversity at on the Young Minds site.

What support is available at Comberton Village College?

Our pastoral system

We have strong pastoral systems to support students throughout their time with us. Each child has a tutor and a pastoral team comprising of a Head of Year, Assistant Head of Year and an Assistant Principal linked to each year. You can find information about who your child’s tutor and pastoral team in our year group pages found here. In most cases if you are concerned about your child’s wellbeing you should contact your child’s tutor.

Recovery Curriculum

Following the pandemic and the physical closure of schools to most students we think it is important to focus on helping students to ‘recover’ and adjust to the new normal. Each week your child will have a virtual assembly and a tutor activity related to aspects of the recovery curriculum. Details of the focus of the week can be found in the student bulletin.

The Hub

The Hub is our provision to support students with emotional wellbeing and mental health needs. We have a team of staff who work closely with students, parents and teachers to ensure that we support these needs as much as possible. We have a school counsellor, youth workers and support for young carers based in the Hub. More information on young carers at Comberton Village College can be found here . If you have concerns about your child’s well-being that are non-urgent and need advice the school has an email address which is checked daily – this is: studentsupport@combertonvc.org Students can also email this address to seek non-urgent support and advice.

If you feel that your child is unable to cope and is a risk to themselves or other people seek advice from 111 and dial 2 to get support from mental health teams. If you have an emergency dial 999 to get immediate support.

Accessing external support

We work closely with Local Authorities and external partners to support young people, their families and carers. For further information on what support is available locally please see:

https://www.cpft.nhs.uk/

https://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/residents/children-and-families/parenting-and-family-support

This webpage is reviewed termly. We will also update this page to include relevant information related to support and COVID-19.

Advice to families on supporting children’s mental health and wellbeing through the pandemic  

Research has shown that this is an incredibly challenging time for families. We are keen to work in partnership with you to ensure that your child is able to manage at this time. Alongside the resources detailed on the page here are a few suggestions of what might help to support positive mental health and wellbeing:

Sleep hygiene

A minimum of 8 to 10 hours' good sleep on school nights is recommended for adolescents. This isn’t always easy to achieve with all the digital distractions and school pressures your child might have. If possible If possible, do not have a mobile, tablet, TV or computer in the bedroom at night, as the light from the screen interferes with sleep. Having screens in the bedroom also means your teen is more likely to stay up late interacting with friends on social media. Encourage your teenager to have at least an hour of screen-free time before going to sleep. For more tips look at the NHS page found here.

Routines

A clear and consistent routine at home can help with managing feelings of uncertainty and stress. Where possible give warning about changes to this routine to help your child feel in control and allow them to talk through any concerns that they might have about changes. For further tips on parenting during the pandemic have a look at the UNICEF guidance found here.

Ensure that there is a ‘why’ to school work

It would be good to have an open conversation with your child about ‘why’ they need to continue to work hard at school. Avoid arbitrary ‘because I say so’ or bribing students. It is also important to acknowledge that such a drastic change in circumstances will raise anxieties and children may not be ‘ready to learn’ all the time. Address the anxieties and be patient.

Try to build in connections with other supportive adults and peers

As our current lockdown begins to end it opens up greater possibilities for your child to socialise and seek out support from their peers and other family members. It may help your child to build connections with their peers and where possible (and safe) start to build up face-to-face interactions. Some people will struggle with the change from screen-based interaction to face-to-face interaction. It might be helpful to take small steps towards interaction face-to-face. For instance, going for a short walk in your local area might be a good starting point to building up confidence again.   

Physical well-being

Students should try to remain as physically active as possible. There is a very strong link between physical wellbeing and mental wellbeing. With the easing of lockdown students have greater opportunities to re-engage with sports and physical activity. Fitness challenges like Couch to 5K can be a great opportunity for the whole family to get some physical activity into your life. Ideas on how to help your child with physical activity can be found on the NHS page here

Create opportunities to talk about feelings

We have all responded to the emotional challenges thrown up by the pandemic in different ways. Where possible think about opportunities to talk about how you and your child are feeling. The Anna Freud Centre has produced a really useful resource for parents and carers on ways to talk about mental health it can be found here .

Look after yourself- Managing anxiety.

There are strong links between parental mental health and children’s mental health.  It is worth reminding yourself that anxiety is a natural feeling to have during this period. This is naturally a worrying time for many, children will pick up on your worries and anxieties so being honest, reassuring and connecting with your child is important. In order to do this you need to look after yourself. Try and make sure that you spend some time either connecting with your support network  or doing some self-care or an activity that promotes your mental health. If it is difficult to contact friends or families use charities like the Samaritans (tel: 116 123) during these uncertain times to gain support. It might be worth planning a regular check-in using Zoom/Whatsapp or phone with your support networks.

What do I do if my child has a mental health crisis?

If you feel that your child is unable to cope and is a risk to themselves or other people seek advice from 111 and dial 2 to get support from mental health teams. If you have an emergency dial 999 to get immediate support.

If you have concerns about your child’s well-being and need advice the school has an email address which is checked daily – this is: studentsupport@combertonvc.org  

What other resources are available?

the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families has some good guidance and can be found here:  https://www.annafreud.org/what-we-do/anna-freud-learning-network/coronavirus/

Local guidance on support and mental health can be found here: https://www.keep-your-head.com/

Online counselling for children and young people can be found here: https://www.kooth.com/

NSPCC – www.NSPCC.org.uk

Guidance on safeguarding children during school closure: http://www.safeguardingcambspeterborough.org.uk/children-board/parents-carers/

Guidance on online safety - https://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/parents/

Support for those experiencing domestic abuse and sexual violence –

(national)  www.womensaid.org.uk (local) https://www.cambsdasv.org.uk/website/support__help/84011

 

WCCYM Chaplaincy Team


WCCYM (West Cambridge Christian Youth Ministries) provides a Chaplaincy Team to the college, to offer additional pastoral and spiritual support and development, to students and staff. 

The Chaplaincy team’s pastoral support for students includes one-to-one youth work support, targeted group work and detached youth work. They also offer additional opportunities for spiritual development and reflection, encouraging respect and tolerance for all within a safe space. This happens through formal settings such as lessons and assemblies, and through informal conversations and groups.

The team also support staff through organised activities such as a monthly wellbeing café, and pastoral support in a one-to-one setting.

Cherie Williamson heads up the WCCYM Chaplaincy Team at Comberton Village College, alongside WCCYM workers Susie Thomson and Nick Slater, as well as a small team of volunteers.