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Designated Mental Health Team

At Vernham Dean Gillum’s Church of England Primary School, our aim is to provide the highest quality pastoral care throughout the school.  All staff work together to help our children at Vernham Dean achieve their best, educationally, socially and emotionally.

Our children are encouraged to make the most of their time at Vernham Dean Primary. Every effort is made to remove obstacles to successful learning and to equip them with the confidence and skills to be enthusiastic learners and effective members of the community.


Designated Mental Health Team


Mrs Cheryl Hawkings Headteacher is the Designated Mental Health Lead in the school. She has completed the relevant DFE quality assured Thrive course "A Strategic Approach to Whole School Emotional Health and Wellbeing". Mrs Hawkings works alongside Miss Flo Nicoll (ELSA) and Mrs Helen Silver (SENDCO) to support children with social and emotional needs within school.


Key aims

  • To promote the wellbeing of pupils and support them both inside and outside of the classroom
  • To maintain an atmosphere in which pupils feel safe and secure, are encouraged in their learning, growth and social development
  • To foster a school community where pupils are valued within a healthy and safe environment
  • To encourage pupils to recognise and reflect on our Christian Values, Learning Values and Behaviour Beliefs.


What will be supported?
Ensuring children's social and emotional needs are met is of paramount importance to us as a school community and involves all children and adults who participate in the daily life of the school.  A strong emphasis is placed upon the creation of a supportive atmosphere and permeates in all aspects of the school life. 


The designated mental health team will support all areas of pastoral care both for children and parents.  For example:

  • Supporting children with friendships. This could be a simple misunderstanding with friends, or it could be a more complex issue
  • Assisting children with playground ‘pals’
  • Supporting families if children need to build confidence and self esteem
  • Supporting families with transition – Year R to Year 1, KS1 to KS2 and KS2 to KS3
  • To ‘signpost’ families to outside services for appropriate provision and support

The list is not exhaustive, and should you need advice as a family, please do not hesitate to contact one of the Designated Mental Health Team (please note that this role is additional to the role of the Designated Safeguarding Leads).


How can children seek support?
There are a number of ways your child(ren) can seek support:

  • Asking to speak to one of the Team
  • The Team may discuss a ‘pick up’ to initiate a conversation with a child after they may have noticed something.


For parents: