The Maynard School in Exeter has become the first school in the whole of Devon (and only the second in the South West) to achieve the national Wellbeing Award for Schools following a rigorous inspection from an external assessor.
This prestigious award assesses the school’s commitment to promoting and protecting positive emotional wellbeing and mental health whilst ensuring there is a clear whole-school strategy in place which is communicated to all staff, governors, parents and students within the school.
The award has a focus on changing the long-term culture of a school, and embedding an ethos where mental health is regarded as the responsibility of all. As well as pupil wellbeing, another key area is staff wellbeing and the engagement of parents and wellbeing champions from the local community.
Headmistress Sarah Dunn said: “We can’t shy away from the fact that teenage mental health is going through something of a national crisis. The importance of wellbeing at The Maynard School cannot be overstated – caring for the physical, mental and emotional health and happiness of our community is central to everything that we do.
“We understand that parents want a school where their daughter will reach their full potential academically, but also know that what is even more important to them is that they find a school where their daughters will flourish and develop into confident, happy young women ready to face the world.
“Not only did we meet a stiff set of criteria, but the inspector thought that the school was exceptional in the quality of its care and she wholeheartedly agreed with the recent Good Schools Guide who had reported that there was ‘something magical about The Maynard’. Equally, she was enormously impressed by the very kind and caring ethos as well as the sheer passion that she witnessed amongst all the staff, Governors and pupils.
“In gaining this award we hope to increase the awareness and understanding of the mental health issues faced by young people today. As a whole school community we have striven to combat the stigma that is so often attached to mental health and we are thrilled that our work so far has been formally recognised. It goes without saying that we are justifiably proud to be the only school in Devon to have achieved this status.”