Festival News: reflections on the second session by Zoe Brownlie.

Published: 27 September 2020
Louise McArdle (Learn Sheffield) reflects on the 'Healthy Minds: Sharing school practice' session by Zoe Brownlie and colleagues.

Healthy Minds: sharing practice

This webinar, which was aired on Friday 25th September, featured Zoe Brownlie (Educational Psychologist for CAMHs) and colleagues sharing good practice and strategies to support pupils’ mental and emotional health. Zoe began the session by sharing the Healthy Minds Framework which schools can access and use as a helpful tooklit to develop their practice in school.

Zoe reminded us all that emotional wellbeing is a fundamental for learning and that, through the implementation of the Healthy Minds Framework, we can develop stronger relationships with students and help them to regulate their own emotional health. This is even more important as pupils return to school, after a very lengthy absence for many pupils.


King Egberts School

  • Form Time – building peer group relationships and building emotional wellbeing
  • Staff at King Egberts school realised that they needed to spend time with pupils understanding the needs of the whole pupil, not just focusing purely on the academic side of school.
  • They decided to use form time as a way to structure, develop and build relationships with pupils.
  • They held a staff training session using the healthy minds triangle and looked at attachment, structure, nurture, engagement and challenge.  Staff were then much more accepting and positive about the changes
  • Staff are tailoring the form sessions to meet the needs of individual year groups, based on what they are trying to achieve e.g. if a particular year group needs support with resilience, staff plan activities based on this.






St Marie’s – Healthy Minds Champions and Healthy Minds video for children

  • Staff at St Marie’s shared their work on developing Healthy Minds champions in school
  • As part of their work with developing healthy minds, they have created a video where children demonstrate a range of exercises children can take part in to help them to engage their thinking brain and ‘feel just right’ which is a key part of the healthy minds rationale. https://youtu.be/ffCYpOSQBgc?t=4


Hansworth Grange – focusing on pupils’ wellbeing as children returned to school

  • During the period of school closure for most pupils, the school undertook a wide variety of activities to support pupils’ emotional wellbeing and also identified the most vulnerable, and provided them with additional support
  • These included, bespoke virtual sessions, a designated area on the website,  help desk, healthy minds survey
  • The results of the survey showed that pupils had benefited enormously from these strategies and it made the transition back into school much more positive for both students and staff.
  • Since the return to school, the school conducted another survey and have used the results of this to implement appropriate support.





Silverdale School

  • Staff at Silverdale also conducted a wellbeing survey prior to pupils returning to school.
  • Over 700 families responded to the survey, this gave the school vital information to help them plan strategies and interventions appropriately to meet the different needs of families and pupils.
  • Strategies included worry boxes, staff inset on building effective relationships and focusing keeping a reassuring structure for pupils, using a shared dialogue with pupils to respond positively to behaviours and developing an emotionally effective culture in the school
  • Staff utilised  resources and ideas from  the trauma informed schools programme https://childreninscotland.org.uk/trauma-informed-early-years-practice-what-does-it-look-like/





Firvale  School

  • Focused on emotional health and wellbeing as well as supporting the whole staff team.
  • They utilised lots of resources around health and wellbeing including the video which St Marie’s had created.


Impact of this:

  • Year group bubbles means staff have got to know the children more quickly.
  • Form Tutors have felt reassured that they can build relationships and they can show a bit more of their personalities.
  • Feedback has been positive with staff.
  • Very good for Y7 because they missed transition.
  • Fewer behaviour incidents, less anxiety, students are so pleased to be ‘back to normal’.






A huge thank you to Zoe and all the schools for sharing their practice and helping us to focus on the importance of developing ‘healthy minds’ in our schools.

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