The Royal Grammar School (RGS) are hosting the Mental Health Seminar – Practical Help for You and Your Business – in the Godfrey Brown Theatre on Tuesday 16th July from 8am until 11am. The seminar is a charity event, with funds raised going support Mental Health UK. Attendees are invited to make a suggested donation of £25 or more via this Just Giving site www.justgiving.com/fundraising/MarkHSmith
RGS are a family of four schools: the Senior School, our two Preparatory schools, The Grange and Springfield, and recently RGS Dodderhill has joined providing education for girls between the ages of 4 and 16 years. All our schools take great pride in providing the very highest standard of pastoral care. This is at the very core of what we offer because we recognise that, if we get this right, then our pupils will be happy and, if they enjoy school, then they will work hard and be successful here.
We appreciate the challenges of growing up in Britain today, including those who have a supportive family and school, and we work passionately to ensure that our young people have the skills to cope with this, enjoy their adolescence, and look forward to happy, fulfilling and productive adult lives.
Pastoral care at RGS
The schools have a strong reputation for pastoral care being one of our real strengths, and we have in place the expertise and capacity to deliver a programme of care that we believe is unique and unrivalled. Providing care tailored to the needs of the individual is our core principle and has many layers enabling us to always respond appropriately.
Provision begins with each child enjoying age appropriate education through Personal, Social, Health and Citizenship Education (PSHCE) lessons, tutorials and Assemblies. We host external speakers including our annual Pastoral Information Day, when guest speakers of international repute for their area of expertise deliver interactive sessions to pupils. In the evening, we invite our parents to lectures. Speakers have included the campaigner and journalist, Martin Daubney, the former Mental Health Champion for schools, writer and social critic, Natasha Devon and Teresa Hughes of the Centre for Child Protection based at the University of Kent. The passion and expertise that such professionals share with our community cannot be underestimated and it is heartening when young people reference what they learn from them many years after their visit to the School.
So, we educate and raise awareness of current issues that we believe are a challenge for our young people to negotiate in their adolescent years. However, alongside this we are also acutely aware that, as many young people negotiate adolescence, they struggle at this juncture in their lives and particularly when facing external challenges, for example, a parental separation or a family bereavement, which they feel are outside their control. This can manifest in a number of ways and to different levels of intensity including low mood, loss of self-esteem and, in severe cases, feeling that they cannot go on. We are extremely fortunate at the RGS Senior School to have numerous ways in which we can help our young people and their families deal with such situations.
Our extensive pastoral provision for our young people centres on the team around the child. With a diverse and skilled team of staff, we aim to offer a holistic approach when working with our young people to help them cope with and resolve such issues. This team comprises not only a pupil’s Form Tutor and Head of Year but, in addition, a dedicated Head of Lower School and Sixth Form, and a Health Centre with fully qualified Nurses, one of whom is a Mental Health qualified nurse with extensive experience in the Health Service. We also have a School Counsellor, who comes with a wealth of experience and expertise in the field of Child and Adolescent Mental Health and who utilises a number of different therapeutic approaches, again tailored to suit the individual.
Alongside the work that the School Counsellor does, we also have a Relaxation Specialist, who offers individualised and group sessions to develop in our young people the invaluable benefits for life that this practice can provide. As one Year Nine boy recently said of our Relaxation Specialist, “He has the most calming voice and the techniques he has taught me enable me to really relax when everything is going at 90 miles an hour”. Another commented, “This academic year has been an emotional roller coaster. I have been lucky enough to have been supported by the pastoral care, the relaxation offered and many conversations with my Form Teacher and Head of Year enabled me to overcome those difficult times”. A year Eleven boy said “The Relaxation techniques helped me to harness my concentration and fulfil my academic potential”.
RGS staff training
Keeping current with professional training is, of course, crucial, and in recent years we have benefitted from specialist bereavement training, suicide prevention and Mental Health First Aid practitioner training from our School Counsellor and external providers. We take great pride in spending time getting to know our pupils and this enables us to adapt our care specifically for the individual and their particular needs. We are particularly excited by the Compassionate Focused Therapeutic Approach and have delivered training sessions to staff about this and are now working to utilise this with pupils, as we believe it will be pivotal in ensuring that many avoid life-impacting mental health issues and that it will provide them with skills for life, not only for their time with us. We always want to work with our young people alongside their parents; where we need to, we will guide and work with parents, as we understand that many see that adolescence today is very different from their own experiences, and our parents really value the sense of community and professional support the Schools’ family offers.
What RGS pupils and parents say
- “There is always someone there to listen”. Year Seven boy.
- “Form time feels more like a family than a class and you can tell your Form Teacher almost anything”. Year Ten girl.
- “The ability to communicate with each member of the pastoral team, whenever we feel it necessary, is an indelible aspect of what makes the pastoral care at RGS so good. The students unequivocally feel that, if we have any issues concerning school life, the Sixth Form team will be more than willing to help us”. Upper Sixth boy.
- “The pastoral care within the Sixth Form is excellent on focusing on the individual needs of each student. The Sixth Form team and Tutors take a genuine interest in the lives and well-being of the pupils and I have personally found that the School’s holistic approach to education is so beneficial”. Lower Sixth boy.
- “Dr Andrew is supportive and kind when your parents need to whinge”. Year Ten girl.
- “Very understanding – you know they will respect your privacy”. Year Eleven boy.
- “Always caring and kind; I always feel I am in safe hands”. Year Ten girl.
- “Thank you so much for picking up on this so quickly. I have every confidence in the support network at school and know that, by working together, we can keep him moving forward”. Year Eight parent.
- “We are so grateful for you ensuring that his transition was as smooth as possible. I also appreciate you taking the time to listen to our concerns and for dealing with them sensitively and swiftly. Thank you for bring X’s smile back”. Year Seven parent.
- “Thank you so much for speaking to X today. She was feeling so much happier and much more confident tonight. She told me all about your conversation. Truly she is so very grateful at RGSW, with incredible support and guidance whenever she needs it”. Year Nine parent.
- “I will finish by telling you how wonderful you and all the staff are. You all show such commitment and love towards her”. Year Eleven parent.
About the Mental Health seminars
With everyone becoming more aware of mental health issues amongst our family, friends and colleagues, it’s important that we understand how to provide support. In these seminars you’ll learn more about how you can improve your ability to manage mental health issues in your business, understand your legal obligations and appreciate the implications of getting this important issue wrong. Our final speaker will talk about their practical experiences of a business leader in managing personal and employee wellbeing.
To book your place on the Worcester seminar email Mark.Smith5@lloydsbanking.com and put Worcester 16th July seminar in the email.
Agenda for the morning
8.00-8.30 – Light refreshments.
8.30 – Opening remarks and introduction.
8.45 – Mental Health UK – support for you and your business.
9.30 – Harrison Clark Rickerbys – legal obligations and implications.
10.15 – Bishop Fleming – Honest and practical experiences of a business leader in managing personal and employee wellbeing.
11.00-11.30 – Close and light refreshments