Here at Harris Church of England Academy, we consider our students’ wellbeing to be as important as their academic studies in the progression of their school journey. At Harris, we see ourselves as a family and that caring ethos runs through all that we do. Our school motto, ‘While we have time let us do good to all’ (Galatians 6:10) is embedded in our teaching and nurturing of our students.
We have a fantastic Pastoral team made up of caring and approachable members of staff across our House & Form Tutor system who will be on hand to support all students through the potentially turbulent teenage years. Within this team we have a School Chaplain; four Heads of House; two Pastoral Assistants, and a team of Form Tutors working tirelessly to support Harris students throughout their time with us covering academic, emotional & mental support; friendship issues and the challenges of teenage life.
We offer Pastoral Mentoring Programmes specific to the students’ needs which cover a wide range of support such as bereavement, anxiety, low self-esteem, and building resilience.
We also have a fantastic team of school prefects from Year 11 who offer peer mentoring across all year groups to provide academic support, paired reading, emotional help, and using sport, music and art to increase focus.
Mental health has gained national prominence over recent years; it has always been prominent at Harris and we are proud to have all staff members within the Pastoral and Senior Leadership teams qualified as Mental Health First Aiders. We have a Nurture & Wellbeing Hub within school which is designed to support any students who may be going through an emotional challenge and are struggling to focus on the school day.
We also have an extensive PHSEE programme which offers teaching and guidance through Physical Health Social & Emotional Education with Sexual & Relationships Education and a highly regarded careers advice service.
We believe that extra-curricular enrichment plays a beneficial part in maintaining positive wellbeing allowing students new experiences and the opportunity to challenge themselves, learn to work as a team, and to develop a sense of responsibility. There are many different clubs and societies at lunchtime and after school covering sport, music, drama, friendship, team building, and healthy living. These clubs provide the opportunity to partake in school sports fixtures, music and drama events; support groups for friendship and for students living with long term medical conditions. Our most popular groups include Changemakers, Christian Union, Musical Theatre, which are enhanced by various enriching school trips over each year.
Delivering our motto, we also ‘do good to all’ by contributing to the community. Each House has a partnered charity with which the students do amazing work in fundraising for very worthy causes, developing their self-esteem and confidence. The charity activities and events all take place in the Spring Term. It creates a sense of fun and unity across the whole school whilst raising awareness and a sense of responsibility of those around us.
For students in Year 10, we offer a work experience week during the summer term where students gain confidence and valuable experience from the workplace which also increases their focus moving towards GCSE exams. Careers advice towards Post 16 options is delivered through various careers fairs and events and a well structured Careers Programme.
With Year 11 students, we offer exam pressure support and revision strategies, delivered in class and through “Drive for Results” designed to help increase organisation skills and focus. We also offer yoga as a stress-reliever to complement the consistent teacher support. These programmes are aimed at decreasing anxiety levels and boosting emotional wellbeing during probably the most challenging time with their school career.
The list of school wellbeing programmes, events, and clubs is ever growing and includes:
- Mental Health First Aiders
- Peer mentoring – Year 11 Prefects
- Pastoral Mentoring Programmes
- Support Groups – Living with Long Term Medical Conditions
- Friendship Group with the School Chaplain at lunchtime
- Partnership with external agencies – Bereavement, Anxiety, Self-Esteem, Resilience
- School Trips – all year groups – national & international
- Duke of Edinburgh Award (DofE)
- Christian Union
- Changemakers – healthy lifestyle choices
- Exam Pressure and Yoga for Years 10 & 11
- Drive For Results Day for Year 11
- Talented & Gifted Programme
- Connections Drama Society
- Musical Theatre Society
- Kick Boxing for confidence and self-esteem
- Work Experience for Year 10
- Careers Advice – Post 16 & Workplace
- PHSEE Programme – Physical Health Social Emotional Education with Sexual Relationships Education
- First Aid Support for Long Term Medical Conditions
- World Women’s Day
- Female Lead Society
- Nurture & Wellbeing Hub
- Brooke School Partnership
- Whole school family ethos
Mental Health Awareness Week: 10-14 May 2021
Harris got involved in Mental Health Awareness Week from the 10 to 14 May to raise awareness, reduce stigma, provide information and support to students and parents on issues surrounding mental health and well being. The teenage years can cause anxiety and stress particularly as we continue to have to adapt our lives due to the pandemic and we are determined to support those in our Harris family.
There were a number of activities throughout the week culminating in an enrichment day on the Friday where students enjoyed a choice of activities to promote mental wellbeing.
- ZooLab – animal handling experience
- Craft activities including knitting, embroidery, resin, painting, gardening, baking and macramé
- Sports from our PE team
- British Army team building activities
- Resilience workshops from Positively Mad
- UK Parliament Debating workshop
- Film music and musical theatre workshop
- Mindfulness, relaxation and yoga
- Colour chemistry, pamper session and perfume making
- Cage Football - Rugby Youth for Christ
Read all about it in the Rugby Observer.
On Friday, 14th May, Rugby Canoe Club kindly gave their time to coach ten of our Year 10 students on Draycote Water.
Despite the unseasonably cool temperatures, we were fortunate to have dry weather and low wind for the two hours we had on the water where students were taught a range of paddling skills and rafting up and tested their nerve by standing up in their kayaks.
Chris Fawcett, Chairman of the Rugby Canoe Club said 'it was a pleasure to offer the students a paddlesport activity and seeing them develop over the two-hour session was great'.
The students enjoyed the fresh air and being on the water and several wish to return at their earliest opportunity.
Mrs Kinsella, who accompanied the students stated "We are very grateful to the coaches of Rugby Canoe Club who volunteered a good part of the day to host our students and encouraged and supported them with warmth and humour," and added that she was exceptionally proud of our students who were fabulous ambassadors for the school and threw themselves into the activity - in the case of one student, quite literally!
We received some great feedback from both parents and pupils:
"I wanted to say a big thank you for Friday's events and timetable. What a brilliant day you organised for the children, which I’m sure wasn’t easy, but from what I hear from M (Year 9) it was an excellent day with a huge variety of events to get involved in. M came home really happy and buzzing about the day - a lovely thing to see after such a tough school year. So I just wanted to pass on my appreciation and say a very big well done and thank you from M too."
Year 7 had a lovely session creating macramé wall hangings, and even took string home with them to do more at home. Some also created a DNA strand rope.
Macrame is a lovely, peaceful craft, which is easy to learn, and looks good. I would definitely recommend giving it a go!
'Bathing in sound'
Ms Bradshaw brought in some of her sound bath equipment and let students play chimes, singing bowls, and tongue drum. Year 11 Computer Science had a mini session after their assessment and liked it.
Other craft activities included embroidery, book folding hedgehogs, pom poms, painting and more.
We enjoyed mental health awareness week virtual sessions provided by Aston University. These included mindfulness, laughter yoga and revision technique sessions.
You can watch all of the recordings from the live sessions here.
Rise is a family of NHS-led services providing emotional wellbeing and mental health services for children and young people in Coventry and Warwickshire. Parents and carers from Harris attended a virtual session aimed at helping children with anxiety.
Rise has a website with resources to help with many Mental Health issues: https://cwrise.com/