Providing a rounded well-being provision for our children.

This week saw the launch of an exciting venture for us, the set of EPIC  “Education Psychology in Communities” which will be a non profit making education psychology service for schools.  The key aim of this provision is to provide school with an effective service at cost and develops a psychology provisionIMG_3606 that provide a well-being offer in schools that addresses issues for children and families in a timely manner.

This is a extremely exciting project that will cover a wide range of new initiatives for schools and the include of psychologist in our research and development programme which will really strengthen our outcomes.  However the set up and inception of this is a bigger undertaking than we thought!  The resource implications for its creation are huge and require a large upfront investment.  I think my biggest worry will be managing expectations of schools and the work demands they will require. We want EPIC to develop into far more than a diagnosis offer and look to see how we as a trust and a TSA can develop systems and processes to provide preventative measures.

Dr Paula Hopkins one of the psychologists we are working is a specialist in the development of a mental health strategy for children, which I believe will be particularly relevant for our schools who are all focusing on developing a character education programme in each school.  I am particularly pleased with how our schools have developed bespoke programmes linked to their children’s needs.  There is an article in this weeks Schoolsweek @johndickenshaw about how Carol Dweck is concerned that broad use of the philosophy of using the “Growth Mind Set” is causing more harm than good because people are using it to focus on happiness.  There are also some really good motivational speakers like @Andycope and @ShonetteBason who are fabulous at reminding us about how to get into a positive mind set and a way at looking at world.  I feel that our schools now need more than that now, we need to make sure as the need increases we have a clear policy and process that is embedded into our school provision to ensure we are able to meet the needs of children and I include families in this.  Mowmacre Hill Primary School @mowacreprimary employ a Councillor for specific children to support the needs. They used this Councillor to support a parent with high emotional needs and the impact of this has been incredible for the child but also for the relationship with the school and parent.  We live in a highly charged stressful world and by working with families and children we I am sure we will make a bigger impact.

I want our schools to go beyond creating a happy school, with a good policy for character development. What about those children who struggle to achieve this even with a greater focus? How can we help them to remove the barriers to success?  Mental health is a complex business why is it that one children can respond so well to an initiative and for another it has no impact?  We need to ensure what we do is not quick fix, knee jerk reaction to external demands but well thought trough strategies to ensure success for all.  The development of EPIC therefore is  a truly exciting step forward for a school led system where we can use experts to guide us in a area and make sure our thinking is joined up.