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Tips to combat loneliness

At Bosworth, we are celebrating Mental Health Awareness Week, hosted by the Mental Health Foundation. This year, the theme is loneliness, which affects millions of people worldwide, including students. The Assistant Principal Pastoral and Designated Safeguarding Lead, Michael Hodgson, shares the College social activities that help students combat loneliness.

Having taught in schools across the West and East Midlands, I took up my first SLT role in April 2017 as Assistant Headteacher with responsibilities for the strategic leadership of values and ethos, including: the House System, Heads of House, rewards, community engagement, tutor program, PSHE and SMSC, as well as literacy across the curriculum. Additionally, I have held accountability for students’ engagement in learning by bridging the gap between behaviour barriers and learning through targeted pastoral support delivered by a dedicated team of non-teaching staff. I was a governor at a Northamptonshire secondary school and chaired both the Safeguarding, and the Academic Progress committees delivering strategies support and challenge to the School Leadership and Executive Team.

Buddy System

On arrival, students will be paired with a peer of a similar age to help them settle in at the school. This is a great way for students to be introduced to other students without them having to approach them on their own.

House Meetings

Twice a week students take part in house meetings where they get together within their house groups.

Celebrating Birthdays

To make our students feel special, we celebrate what is important to them.

Social Events

At Bosworth, we arrange activities around students’ interests, such as singing, dancing and sports.

Induction weekend

During our induction weekend in August, students can take part in boarding activities and interact with their peers.

“Since being at Bosworth Independent College a key focus has been to ensure students’ pastoral care is at the heart of what we do so as to remove any potential barriers to their excellence in academic achievement.

We have 14 trained Mental Health First Aiders to provide crisis support to students who are in immediate need and to signpost therapeutic support through external agencies.  In addition to this, we have both an in-house counsellor available to students three days a week, whose key objective is to be a recognisable face to students to access talk therapy and an external counsellor who visits our school twice a week. The counsellor is trained in CBT as well as bereavement counselling, amongst others, so she serves as a specialist practitioner ahead of referral to external agencies.

The pastoral team, as well as the boarding team, are front and center when it comes to our culture of care: Personal Tutors and Heads of Year play the traditional ‘parent in school’ role and are there to assist when students are feeling home sick or having friendship issues leading to the feeling of isolation. In a small school, students mix with peers of different ages and there can be a feeling of loneliness that arises when students don’t have many friends their own age.  In instances such as this, our House Parents, and Assistant Heads of Boarding step in and lead activities for the students to forge relationships with peers of a similar age. In addition to this, we pride ourselves on our family ethos; hence students are actively encouraged to consider themselves as part of one school rather than limit themselves to just their year group. This has the effect of developing students’ support networks, including peers, pastoral staff, and College leaders.

Ultimately our culture of care is founded on the feeling of safety and ensuring there is transparency in communication: it’s okay not to be okay.”

If you are studying at Bosworth Independent College and are having issues with your mental health, do not suffer in silence, we are here to help! We have many members of staff within our schools who are trained to support you with your problems and help you feel at home.

#MentalHealthAwarenessWeek

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