Taking steps to deal with pupil stress

Workshops: Boothroyd Primary Academy pupils take part in one of the mental wellbeing initiatives.
Workshops: Boothroyd Primary Academy pupils take part in one of the mental wellbeing initiatives.

A Dewsbury school is preventing anxiety and stress with a range of initiatives designed to avert some of the most common mental health problems.

Boothroyd Primary Academy in Dewsbury has developed a whole school wellbeing strategy which has included stress buster workshops to highlight relaxation techniques and mindfulness methods ahead of SATS examinations and investments into a pastoral farmyard unit with live animals, and play therapy and sensory rooms to provide pupils with a safe haven and equip them with the necessary techniques to prevent stress and anxiety.

Children across the school also have daily relaxation and mindfulness sessions.

Boothroyd has also prioritised staff and parent wellbeing with a host of activities including a relaxation room, free yoga and fitness sessions and ‘happiness’ workshops for staff, and a wellbeing fayre for parents which introduced mindfulness techniques and links to local support groups.

The initiative comes after a survey conducted by the National Educational Union revealed that testing and exams, as well as family issues and pressures to perform well in class – are having an impact on mental health issues among students.

Head teacher Kyrstie Joslin said: “Looking after the mental health of staff and pupils is as important as their physical health, and has a massive impact on their achievement.

“Our whole school focus on mental health has raised awareness and taught our staff and students vital skills in resilience and critical thinking.

“The stress buster workshop gave our year six pupils the opportunity to learn coping mechanisms to put in place should they begin to experience anxiety surrounding any issue in their life.”