Health and wellbeing in all that we do is a training toolkit developed in partnership by Education Service and Health Improvement Team in Dumfries and Galloway. The toolkit supports the planning and delivery of the mental health and emotional wellbeing experiences and outcomes from both the Curriculum for Excellence and Towards A Mentally Flourishing Scotland.
Feedback from school staff after the publication of Curriculum for Excellence suggested there was some uncertainty about how to approach these outcomes. This aspect of Curriculum for Excellence is now the responsibility of all school staff. Many members of school staff had not previously seen this as within their remit and the engagement of these members of staff early on was vital.
From January 2010 the team delivered a short series of after school or ‘twilight’ tester sessions to gather feedback from school staff. These sessions helped to develop the final version of the toolkit and to see if short sessions such as these supported thinking around planning and helped to build confidence.
This project feeds into the TAMFS priorities:
The project was delivered in partnership from the very start with partners including:
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After testing the toolkit and receiving positive feedback, the next step was to offer toolkit planning sessions across the region and to involve greater numbers of staff. Sessions have now been delivered to groups of school staff including teachers, probationary teachers, trainee teachers and some partners, mostly in these short ‘twilight’ sessions at the end of the school day from around 3:30pm until 5:30pm.
The sessions are more creative than prescriptive and include interactive elements which aid learning. Members of staff are asked to identify all the things they are already doing to contribute to the mental health and wellbeing of pupils in the schools, and to then identify what else can be done to support the experiences and outcomes. The toolkit has been presented at the Scottish Learning Festival and sits on GLOW, the online education portal, making it accessible outside the after school training sessions.
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The feedback from each session with school staff has been very positive. People found the toolkit to be accessible and not too challenging.
Some members of staff, however, did originally find the open approach to the training difficult. Many members of staff have had a fundamental change in attitude and a small minority had struggled to see what they could do to help students with their mental health. Despite this, the health improvement team has been pleased to see how many people have embraced the toolkit.
There has been no formal evaluation as yet, though an evaluation will happen at a later date, along with a review of the toolkit and how it is working. So far, evaluation has been dealt with on an ongoing basis, with evaluation forms filled out at the end of the sessions.
The message from the team is that simple approaches can be really effective, breaking apparently complex issues down into bite-sized chunks. It is important to ensure engagement and input from the target audience right from the beginning, to ensure the end product is fit for purpose. The development of the toolkit depended on effective testing, feedback and amendments. This is important in any similar project; to take on feedback and revise as necessary.
The next step is to continue offering these sessions to those schools in Dumfries and Galloway who have not yet seen the toolkit or had chance to engage with it fully. There is also a need to evaluate the toolkit, so it must be decided how best to do this. In addition to this, the toolkit approach will be considered for other health and wellbeing areas and it is already being used to support the substance abuse elements of the Curriculum.
Education Officer Health and Wellbeing & Commissioning
Education & Social Work Services
Tel: 030 33 33 3000
Health and Wellbeing Specialist
Directorate of Public Health
Tel: 01387 244142
If you need to talk to someone
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