Pastoral Support and Wellbeing at Queen Mary’s
Our School Ethos
Our school’s aims and vision statement very clearly states that we strive to ensure that the individual needs of all our highly able students are met. That we are committed to nurturing the development of the ‘whole person’ where the enjoyment of learning lies at the heart of its ethos and culture.
At QMHS and across the Mercian Trust we recognise that the emotional wellbeing and positive mental health of all members of the community is integral to our continued success. We have built and continue to strengthen a community of support for all stakeholders which includes pupils, staff and parents/carers.
People and their emotions are important and matter. Evidence shows us that wellbeing is of central importance to learning and attainment, with high levels of wellbeing associated with improved academic outcomes. Conversely, pupils who have mental health problems are more likely to have academic difficulties at school and experience social disadvantage later in adult life.
It is therefore critical that we continue to work in collaboration with all stakeholders and partners for the benefit of all our young people.
We strive to continue to build upon this and keep wellbeing at the forefront of all we do.
Our Wellbeing Culture
In order to achieve the love of learning and nurturing of the individual we have a wide ranging level of pastoral care, curriculum and wider activities to support the wellbeing and happiness of our pupils.
We will share some of this with you on these pages.
Pastoral Support Staff Team
All members of staff at Queen Mary’s High School play their role in supporting and nurturing student wellbeing and personal development. Form tutors are usually the first members of staff to interact with a student and set them up for a day of learning and enjoyment. Tutors develop a positive relationship with their form members through a range of activities and students can turn to them for additional help and support if they need it.
We have a dedicated team of more formalised pastoral support staff who you can see identified on the chart below with more detail on their specific role briefly explained below.
To get in touch with any of these members of staff please phone the school line 01922 721013 or email firstname.lastname@example.org titled for the attention of: <person name>.
Here is a little more information about each member of staff and their roles in how they can support you and your child.
Assistant Head Teacher (Community) – Mrs Connell
Mrs Connell has responsibility and oversight for our school community. This encompasses many things but primarily oversight of all pastoral care and wellbeing support and the very important role of the Designated Safeguarding lead – striving to ensure that every child is happy and safe.
Please get in touch with Mrs Connell if you have any significant safeguarding or wellbeing concerns and you are not sure who to go to for the right help and support.
Heads of Year
Year 7 – Mrs Dunn
Year 8 – Miss Rubio
Year 9 – Miss Bull
Year 10 and 11 – Miss Emery
Year 12 and 13 – Dr Darwood
The Heads of Year are the professional leaders of a team of form tutors and support staff who work together to ensure the wellbeing, guidance and promotion of academic achievement and good behaviour of all students. If you have any progress, behaviour, wellbeing or attendance concerns regarding your child please get in touch with your child’s relevant Head of Year.
Pastoral Welfare Officer – Mrs Plimmer
Mrs Plimmer has worked at QMHS for many years and is like a school Mum to our students. She is a shoulder to cry on or someone the students can offload to if they have any worries or concerns about anything. She is also here to support parents. Get in touch with school if she can help in any way. Some of the things she can help with are worries about friendships, support with bereavement, support if a family member is ill or general concerns that are affecting your child’s ability to come to school and feel happy and safe. Mrs Plimmer is also a Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead.
Pastoral Welfare Office – Mrs York
Mrs York is also like a school Mum – or maybe your favourite Auntie, who the students can also turn to for help and advice. Mrs York has primarily supported the older girls in the past but is working more broadly across the school now. Her experience of working with sixth form students has made her astute in supporting 6th form students with the UCAS process and ensuring they feel equipped for the next stage of the learning journey. Mrs York is also a Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead. Please get in touch with her if you need any help with anything in relation to your child’s social, emotional or mental health and wellbeing.
SENDCo – Mrs Houlder-Jarvis
Our SENDCo oversees the specific support for all of our students with diagnosed Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities. SEND needs can emerge during a child’s time at school and our SENDCo will work with families to help explore potential additional needs and how to explore a diagnosis.
Mrs Houlder-Jarvis coordinates our SEND students’ support plans and ensures all staff are made aware of and implement adaptations that may be needed for children.
Here are some fact files from the SEND page of our website that may be able to help you before deciding whether to get in touch with Miss Houlder for further help and support.
Learning and SEND support – Mrs Prosser
Mrs Prosser supports our SENDCo and works closely with many of our SEND pupils. She also delivers 1:1 Emotional Literacy Support (ELSA). Referrals to ELSA sessions are made via our Heads of year in liaison with the SENDCo Miss Houlder.
Pastoral Support Liaison Assistant – Mrs Talbot (Glen)
Glen operates an open door policy and is our on the ground ‘first Aider’ (or superhero some may say). She is on hand to look after anyone who may be upset or not feeling well. She is also pretty fantastic at hospitality and even got a special mention from our Ofsted inspectors in Oct 2021 for being so positive and welcoming to them. This is something she embodies every day and is a great source of support to our community.
Learning Resource Centre Staff – Mrs Groves and Mrs White
Mrs Groves and Mrs White work in the library but also offer emotional support and guidance for students. Mrs Groves oversee’s our LGBTQ Pride group. Both at are Mental Health First Aid Trained. The LRC is a safe and quiet space for some of our students who may need time to reflect and read and can do so with support from our staff.
Professional Counselling and Therapy Support
There are times in a students life where events may lead them to need more specialised help and support to prevent emotions from escalating out of control. We therefore invest in therapeutic support for students through counselling with WPH and a private counsellor in school. The Mercian Trust has also invested in support from Occupational therapists, a music therapist, speech and language therapist and an Educational psychologist. Referrals for these are managed by the pastoral welfare officers, SENDCo and Heads of Year.
Kids Supporting Kids
At QMHS we recognise the value of students having role models and the positive impact that peer support can have. Our sixth form prefects and some students in lower years have developed a Kids supporting Kids programme where they run clubs that younger students can attend. Attendance at clubs and interaction with others is an action that will support any person’s wellbeing. We encourage all students to attend an extracurricular club that is run by either a member of staff or a student peer group.
Peer Educator Project
Last year we launched the Mental health Foundation Peer Educator Project.
The main aim of this is to equip students with the knowledge and techniques to reduce the potential impact of any mental health difficulties whilst still offering help and support to young people when they need it. The Peer Educator Project involves sixth form mental health ambassadors who have been trained via a programme from the Mental health Foundation, leading a series of sessions to Year 7 in PSHCE and then form time. It proved to be a great success last year and something we will build upon this year.
Trained Staff Support
All teaching staff receive CPD on a regular basis to help them keep abreast of ways in which they can continue to support our young people. We also have a team of trained Mental Health First Aiders:
Mental Health Continuum
Everyone’s mental health is on a continuum and it can fluctuate depending on the circumstances around us.
Whilst a pupil is at school we aim to support them to be in the healthy and reacting phases in the diagram above. Once a pupil is more regularly moving into the injury and ill phase we will seek to work with parents more closely to get the most appropriate clinical help and support and work collectively to support students.
Additional Help and Support
We understand that sometimes you may need help and advice from someone not connected to school. We still want to make sure that you are able to access support advice and help and have included links here that might help you.
Cherished – Supporting girls to feel seen, soothed and secure
WPH counselling – We offer a limited number of counselling slots for pupils with WPH. Referrals can also be made privately or via your GP
Mermaids – Helping gender diverse kids, young people and their families
Walsall school nursing – offering a wide range of help and support on any health needs
Black Country Womens Aid – Offering support for victims of domestic abuse or sexual assault
Street teams – Offering support with potential exploitation
NSPCC – Advice helpline for parent and pupils. 0800 1111
Samaritans – Advice helpline for anyone in distress and in danger of suicide
Young Minds – Offering help and advice for parents and young people on prevention as well as signposting further help and support
Charlie Waller Trust – Offering help and advice for young people and parents. They also offer regular workshops on supporting your child and talking about Mental health
Tips for parents of LGBT children
Sleep foundation website – Facts and advice around the benefits of sleep and some tips on how to improve sleep for teens
Insight Timer offers a range of different relaxation techniques children can listen to.
Beateatingdisorders.co.uk – Advice and guidance on exacting disorders
Kooth is also an excellent organisation to support young people with their mental health if they cannot or do not feel ready to seek in person support.
If your child is in crisis then you need to contact your GP or go to A&E in an emergency