In recent years, the importance of mental health and wellbeing support in schools and colleges has gained significant recognition. With NHS statistics showing that 1 in 9 children , aged 5-15, have a mental health disorder, Ofsted released a new education inspection framework. The framework aims to address mental health and wellbeing in educational institutions. Here are a few of the ways Ofsted and the Department for Education are urging schools to take action in prioritising mental health:
Ofsted's latest findings have shed light on critical areas in which schools must enhance their support for student mental health. The report underscores the cruciality of early intervention, comprehensive staff training, and seamless collaboration among schools, parents, and mental health services. The ultimate objective is to fortify students' resilience, empowering them to effectively navigate life's everyday pressures while proactively identifying those grappling with mental health challenges and swiftly recognising emerging issues with utmost accuracy. This holistic approach aims to create a nurturing environment that bolsters mental wellbeing and unlocks students' full potential.
Ofsted's whole school approach to mental health
The importance of adopting a whole-school approach to mental health and wellbeing is what authorities are suggesting schools implement (Fig.1). This approach involves creating a supportive culture, providing targeted support and appropriate referral to students in need, as well as also providing ongoing staff training. Inspectors also look for staff development efforts to support their own wellbeing as well as the wellbeing of their students.
Fostering resilience and emotional intelligence
Ofsted has emphasised the importance of fostering resilience and emotional intelligence in students. Schools are incorporating wellbeing and mental health education into the curriculum, enabling students to develop coping mechanisms and emotional understanding. By providing these skills, schools have the opportunity to equip students with the tools they need to navigate challenges they may face in and outside of an educational setting.
What does this mean for educational institutions?
There is no longer room for mental health to be pushed aside; with Ofsted introducing these guidelines, school leadership must consciously promote positive mental health from students to school staff. But how can schools prove efforts when Ofsted visit?
At eQuoo, our solution has been created by psychologists to improve mental wellbeing, including resilience, and personal growth, as well as reducing levels of depression and anxiety in learners. By adopting a solution like eQuoo, your students and staff will have access to clinically-proven mental health support and our analytics dashboard is available for you to show inspectors how each group's wellbeing journey is progressing.
eQuoo is designed to empower students by providing an engaging app that enhances their emotional wellbeing and fosters resilience through immersive real-life scenarios. Our research team have carefully crafted our gamified platform to educate students; equipping them with the necessary skills to navigate emotions and prevent mental health challenges effectively. Additionally, should students require extra support, our clinically proven solution facilitates appropriate signposting for further care.
Our aim is to provide students with skills to control their mental health before they seek further help, which in turn will provide them with valuable life skills and reduce the amount of intervention your school will have to put in place. Actively providing a solution to improve resilience has to potential to have an immediate positive impact on attainment rates as students are equipped with the skills to thrive in an educational environment.
Furthermore, to support the ever-increasing challenges faced by staff, our Resilience Training Programme has also been curated by our research team to support educators and staff by empowering them to develop their own resilience skills, whilst also learning additional psychological frameworks that can be used in everyday life. The programme will take professionals through topics such as the importance of structure and routine, mindfulness and regulation and recognition of talents. The desired outcome is that staff build their knowledge in resilience that not only improves their personal mental health but also gives them skills to pass on to their students.