What Does the Guidance Say About Mental Wellbeing for Primary Schools?
What does the new Relationships Education (RE), Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) and Health Education Statutory guidance say about Mental Wellbeing for Primary Schools?
Mar 02, 2020
Loads, which we think is fantastic!
As you are probably aware, Relationships Education (RE) and Health Education are becoming compulsory in primary schools in September 2020. This guidance from the DfE covers everything that schools should teach about relationships and health, including mental wellbeing.
So, what does the guidance say?
Teaching about mental wellbeing is recognised as central to these subjects. After all, relationships and health have a direct impact on mental wellbeing!
Children and young people are increasingly experiencing challenges and are at risk of feeling lonely. The new subject content should enable them to recognise when they or others have a problem and know where they can go for support.
Relationships Education and Mental Wellbeing
The focus in primary school should be on teaching the fundamental building blocks and characteristics of positive relationships, with particular reference to friendships, family relationships, and relationships with other children and with adults.
Relationship education also creates an opportunity for pupils to be taught about positive emotional and mental wellbeing, including how friendships can support mental wellbeing.
By the end of primary school, pupils should know how to recognise if they feel unhappy or unsafe in family relationships or friendships, and how to seek help or advice from others if needed.
Health Education and Mental Wellbeing
The focus of Health Education school should be on teaching the characteristics of good physical health and mental wellbeing.
Teachers should be clear that mental wellbeing is a normal part of daily life, just like physical health!
This starts with pupils being taught about the benefits and importance of daily exercise, good nutrition and sufficient sleep, and understanding the normal range of emotions that everyone experiences.
Emphasis should be given to the positive two-way relationship between good physical health and good mental wellbeing.
Teachers should go on to talk about the steps that pupils can take to protect and support their own and others’ health and wellbeing, including simple self-care techniques, personal hygiene, prevention of health and wellbeing problems and basic first aid.
Pupils should also be taught the benefits of:
- physical exercise and time spent outdoors
- hobbies, interests and participation in their own communities
- taking opportunities to consider the needs of others and practising service to others
- the risks of excessive use of electronic devices
- In later primary school, pupils should be taught why social media, computer games and online gaming have age restrictions and should be equipped to manage common difficulties encountered online.
- A firm foundation in the benefits and characteristics of good health and wellbeing will enable teachers to talk about isolation, loneliness, unhappiness, bullying and the negative impact of poor health and wellbeing.
For a full breakdown of what pupils should know about physical health and mental wellbeing by the end of primary school, click here.
How can Loudmouth help?
Here at Loudmouth, we love talking about mental wellbeing!
Our favourite tool to use is the ‘5 Ways to Wellbeing’ - which fits perfectly with the guidance. It shows young people the benefits of:
- Good nutrition and sufficient sleep
- Physical exercise and time spent outdoors
- Hobbies, interests and participation in their own communities
- Taking opportunities to consider the needs of others and practising service to others
We have two programmes which use this tool.
‘My Mate Fancies You’ is our puberty programme, which focuses on the physical and emotional changes of puberty, both of which are included in the guidance. It also looks at mental wellbeing whilst transitioning to secondary school, and the benefits of healthy friendships.
‘Bully 4 U’ looks at many different forms of bullying, including cyberbullying, and the impact they can have on mental wellbeing.
These programmes are a fun and engaging way for children to learn about mental wellbeing and relationships - all at once!
Loudmouth also provides access to over 100 lesson plans and interactive resources to use on a range of PSHE topics to support your curriculum. Schools will also receive updates on PSHE with regular ideas and advice on learning objectives.
We can also support with staff training and consultancy on PSHE.
Here’s some more stuff we found that might also be useful.
The DfE have said that their guidance should be read in conjunction with the Mental Health and Behaviour in Schools 2018 report.
Young Minds is a brilliant resource, not only for young people, but for staff as well! You can sign up to their 360° Schools Community to get free tips, advice and teaching resources.
Many schools use worry boxes as a way to help children ‘get the worries out’ at the beginning of the day. This helps them to focus during school, and the teacher can address the worries with the children later in the day.
We’ve also noticed more and more schools incorporating ten minutes of yoga or meditation into the school day. What a great way to get children practicing their learning!
And why not put these rather fabulous posters up in your school?
Poor mental health and wellbeing may particularly affect LGBT children. Stonewall run courses which can support schools in working with LGBT youth.
Still want more information? Well you’re in luck! Loudmouth still have lots of information that we are excited to share with you, concerning RE, RSE and Health Education! Just head to our website to find out more.
Make sure you check out our information on the Roadmap to Statutory RSE, created by the Sex Education Forum and PSHE Association.
That’s all from us… for now! Watch this space for more information on the new statutory guidance. And if you have any questions about how Loudmouth can support you, email us on firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 0121 446 4880.