St Andrew’s Church of England Primary School has become the first council maintained school in Wolverhampton to receive the Optimus Education Wellbeing Award.

The award, developed by the National Children's Bureau and Optimus Education, recognises outstanding work to promote mental health and wellbeing within school communities across England.

Assessors said that St Andrew’s demonstrated ‘a real sense of belonging and a strong team approach’. Headteacher Lisa Thompson, her staff and governors have created a “seamless and consistent welcoming, safe, caring, supportive, none judgemental and aspirational culture” which is supporting and improving the emotional wellbeing and mental health of the whole school community. 

Training has increased awareness of emotional wellbeing and mental health throughout St Andrew’s – resulting in everyone at the Whitmore Reans school being able to recognise when they are not mentally well and able to support each other through a range of techniques. 

Staff are confident to talk about their own mental health and have the skills and tools to support their own and their pupils’ and families’ emotional wellbeing and mental health. This has helped develop pupils’ social and emotional skills, self worth, confidence, independence and resilience, and enabled them to thrive. 

Meanwhile, work to improve parental and community engagement has enabled families to make positive changes to their own and their children’s lives, improving resilience and ensuring that pupils are ready to learn.  

Julie Humphries, SENCO and Deputy Headteacher who led on the award, said: “It is fantastic that all the hard work of our staff, children and school community has been recognised. Good mental health and wellbeing is held with very high regard at St Andrew’s as it rightly should.” 

Mrs Thompson added: "We are delighted that all of the hard work of our staff team in promoting the wellbeing of all school stakeholders has been recognised. 

"We have worked extremely hard over the last 5 years to embed our philosophy where promoting the wellbeing of pupils and their families is absolutely core to the success of our school."

Councillor Dr Michael Hardacre, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, said: "The emotional wellbeing and mental health of pupils, teachers and support staff working in our schools has never been more important than it is right now, during a time of national crisis, and so it is wonderful that St Andrew's Church of England Primary has demonstrated how highly it prioritises this.

"I would like to congratulate the school on this award and the excellent work they are doing their staff, families, children and young people."