Pause for Thought To support anti-bullying, we undertook a survey across the senior school about pupils’ experiences of unkindness. The results were used to inform staff, shape our policies and have encouraged pupil-led assemblies on topics such as homophobia and lessons on snitching/reporting.
Rarely do we find ourselves sitting with nothing to do, no emails to read, no videos to watch and no one to text, and this is having an effect on our brains and on our stress levels. We are considering ways to encourage ‘commas and full stops’ in our busy school day to give boys time for reflection and a little quiet. Our Quiet Room is one area that can be used for refuge and peace and we hope to add more spaces for reflection. Building on the emotional literacy encouraged throughout the schools, we are teaching the technique of mindfulness to pupils in the Middle School. Mindfulness, an awareness of ourselves and the world around us, can improve emotional wellbeing, using techniques such as meditation, breathing and simple movement. It allows pupils to clearly perceive thoughts, emotions, physical sensations, sensory experiences and events as they occur; engaging their full awareness and senses enables them to manage better their emotions. Learning to focus on the present also has an immediate, universal benefit for studying and the exercises act like a toolkit that can be dipped into for the rest of our lives.
Boys are regularly encouraged to provide a ‘pupil voice’. They are included on interview panels for new staff, are representatives on school councils and their feedback is welcomed. We also have a Wellbeing Prefect who liaises with staff and pupils on wellbeing issues. A healthy community nurtures all its members, and we have invested in staff wellbeing, conducting a College-wide survey designed to audit our current position and make changes where possible to promote and enhance staff wellbeing through techniques such as mindfulness and coaching. With modern technology providing us with ever more ways of occupying our time, our lives have become fuller and perhaps busier than ever before.
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