This month sees the launch of the Emotionally Healthy schools project in Derby. This £598,000 Opportunity Area funded project, which is being managed by Redwood Primary School, Executive Headteacher Jane Calladine, is designed to help school leaders in Derby improve outcomes for Derby pupils by helping to create supportive environments, policies and practices that are conducive to positive emotional well-being.

Each school in Derby has been asked to appoint a Designated Senior Lead for Mental Health and the schools will work towards a gold, silver or bronze Mental Health Award.  The themes of the award include; Leadership and strategy; Organisational structure and culture (staff and pupils); Support for staff and pupils; Staff professional development and learning; Working with parents and carers and Working with external services.  The Carnegie Centre of Excellence for Mental Health in Schools, which is a partnership between Leeds Beckett University and Minds Ahead, has been appointed to deliver training to the Leads.

In addition, an Emotionally Healthy Schools portal will be developed to provide schools with an online one-stop shop for all aspects of mental health support and the existing Special School Mental Health Leads Network will develop and produce specific materials to support schools working with families, where there are special educational needs and mental health support needs.

The launch coincides with Children’s Mental Health Week (Monday 4th – Sunday 10th February) nd Redwood Primary is undertaking a week of special activities to support it. Mindful Monday, internet safety Tuesday, Chat away Wednesday, giving children a chance to talk, Thoughtful Thursday encouraging ‘Random Acts of Kindness’ and Feeling Fab Friday with a ‘Feel Good Show and Tell’.

Redwood Primary already has a number of programmes up and running to help with the challenges pupils face dealing with their feelings and stresses.

The Nest is a place where pupils will work with experienced staff on their own goals, such as, building self-confidence, developing self-esteem or sharing.  The Nest aims to give pupils the skills, knowledge and attitude to enable them to be more successful in a full class setting and/or on the playground, this can be from as little as one session up to every day for several weeks.

Also, Relax Kids uses a unique method to take children from high energy and stress levels to a state of relaxation that has been shown to have a positive effect on children’s mental and emotional health and wellbeing.  It involves movement and breathing exercises, stretching, mindfulness and more. Sessions are also run with parents to help them learn techniques to relax their children.

Jane Calladine – Chair of PSG, member of OA Board, Strategic Lead for Emotionally Healthy Schools Project and Executive Headteacher of Redwood Primary (and Parkside Primary) said:

“Redwood we are delighted to play this role in the City, which will ensure every school has a trained Mental Health leader, who knows how to support pupils, and refer them on when necessary.  Leaders across the City have identified pupil emotional health as one of their prime concerns, and Redwood is keen to work with Derby schools, training providers and mental health specialists to create the best support possible for Derby pupils.

Together with a portal of information and advice for schools, a programme of therapies from Derby University undergraduates, and a package of information for families with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities, we will have a system in place for years to come, supporting pupils to thrive and achieve.”

Cllr Evonne Williams, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People,

“We’ve been working with Jane and Redwood Primary School for some months now and I’m excited to see the programme that has been developed in action.

“It’s vital for us  to improve the levels of social mobility in the city and addressing the Mental Health of our children and giving them tools to cope is an important part in helping us achieve that.”


See how Relax kids is helping children and parents at Redwood: