11th September 2023
GoodSpace - BUH creating a good space to learn
At Beckfoot Upper Heaton, we wanted to take a proactive, data-driven approach to mental health, ensuring the wellbeing of the entire school community. Too often in schools, we react to issues that emerge, and work to fix it. But what if we could prevent it in the first place? What if we had a tool that allowed us to screen our pupils and find out every issue, big or small, and could use this information to provide a more bespoke curriculum and provision?
Being in a school setting is a real privilege for educators because we play a huge part in the future of our world. There are times, however, when we need a tool that can quickly identify mental health issues, allowing us to intervene before problems spiral. This is where we decided to be involved in the UK’s first pilot of the GoodSpace Schools screening tool, from New Zealand.
In its simplest form, the GoodSpace screening tool efficiently surveys pupils in 10-15 minutes, with immediate results. This allows us to identify areas of need and prioritise pupils who need immediate support. This year, it has been a truly revelatory tool which has allowed Beckfoot Upper Heaton’s well-being team to respond with the right course of action. That might be to deliver sessions ourselves, or to refer to the appropriate resource.
In the final week of the summer term, Dr Stuart Jenkins, the Director and Co-Founder of GoodSpace paid a visit to Beckfoot Upper Heaton, from New Zealand. He met with Louise Morgan, Assistant Headteacher for Personal Development, and Frank Makula, Wellbeing Mentor. He also had the opportunity to have a discussion with our new Headteacher, Biman K Dey, about the work we have been collaborating on. The meeting was a fantastic way to finally meet face-to-face, instead of the Zoom sessions across the world. We reflected on the year’s pilot and confidently concluded that all parties wish to continue with the development of the programme together.
Our next steps with GoodSpace will be to implement a layered approach of response. When identified, we will adapt our curriculum to better inform pupils about areas they require more information on. Moreover, we will send personalised e-learning sessions to pupils who need extra input, working on providing links to external agencies who can offer support.
Through continued effective implementation, in our second year we hope to enhance attendance, engagement, and foster a positive learning environment by addressing student mental health concerns sooner. Prevention is key.