"Mind" the Gap: MVA’s Fresh Approach to Wellbeing Initiatives in Schools

Jul 21, 2023
4 Min
We're living and breathing change in today's rapidly evolving world of education. It’s no longer just about books and grades; we're committed to the complete growth of our students.

Our focus? It's a balance of enriching academic learning and personal wellbeing. We're proudly paving the way for ground-breaking wellbeing initiatives in schools, setting the standard for education in the 21st century.

As we delve into the heart of student welfare, new research from Young Minds has unveiled a troubling truth: only 1 in 3 children and young people with a diagnosable mental health condition actually gain access to NHS care and treatment. This statistic highlights the necessity for alternative and accessible avenues of support to nurture the wellbeing of our young population. We’re shaking up the landscape of support for youth mental health by championing innovative wellbeing initiatives in schools and redefining the educational experience for the better.

According to Mind, a leading UK mental health charity, many young people consider their school or college as their preferred first line of help. However, they often hesitate to openly express their struggles initially, fearing loss of independence or alarming others. This valuable insight emphasises the importance of implementing sensitive, understanding, and accessible wellbeing initiatives in schools. At MVA, we embrace this responsibility, creating an environment where students feel supported and empowered to thrive academically and emotionally.

CEO Hugh Viney hosts a focus group with MVA families in Cornwall

Each day we continue to discover first-hand the emotional stories of families with children struggling at traditional schools; it's evident that health and wellbeing have moved beyond being buzzwords in the educational sphere. At MVA, we've embraced this, leading the charge by implementing innovative wellbeing initiatives that offer real, tangible support to our students. Our unique Wellbeing Programme is about making sense of mental health, equipping students with practical strategies for managing stress, and distilling a culture where resilience and understanding can flourish.

Designed by our Deputy Head Pastoral, Suzanne Lindley, and her team, the Wellbeing Programme is a yearly commitment. Each week, for an hour within the standard MVA timetable, students engage in sessions designed to foster personal growth, emotional intelligence, anxiety management, and communication skills. Our programme covers essential topics like responsible social media usage and digital wellbeing, equipping students with the skills to manage their health, relationships, and online life.

Our Wellbeing Programme isn't confined to a select group of students - it's a staple for all, from Key Stage 3 to 5. Each stage offers age-appropriate content based on experiential learning, providing our students with the necessary tools to manage their evolving relationships, online influences, and peer pressures. The ambition is clear: to create a future where every young mind feels supported and empowered, regardless of their challenges.

But our efforts towards student wellbeing continue beyond that. We've also integrated personalised mentoring sessions as part of our desire to raise the bar for wellbeing initiatives in schools. Our commitment to pairing each student with a mentor who's a perfect match for them right from the start sets us apart.

Mentors at MVA are more than just guides; they are personal allies. Unlike our teachers, who are subject-matter experts delivering the curriculum, our mentors focus on providing one-on-one support tailored to each student's unique needs. From setting goals and managing time to developing study strategies, our mentors provide pastoral care that transcends academics. They're there to ensure students' personal development and wellbeing are front and centre.

MVA parent shares her thoughts online about our mentoring programme

By promoting these type of wellbeing initiatives in schools, we're filling a crucial void many students experience when accessing mental health support. MVA isn't just a place for academic learning; it's a haven for students to seek help without fear of judgment or compromising their independence. We're not just acknowledging the importance of wellbeing initiatives in schools; we're proactively shaping the education sphere by making mental health support a standard part of school life. We genuinely believe that such initiatives are more than an emerging trend - they're necessary for our students' wellbeing.

As we aim to impact every student's life positively, we urge every education provider to champion implementing better wellbeing initiatives in schools. Every student deserves a fair shot at thriving, both academically and emotionally.

Our commitment to their wellbeing isn't just a promise—it's a mission.

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