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Which Ipswich school has been recognised nationally for pupil wellbeing?

PUBLISHED: 11:00 06 July 2019 | UPDATED: 10:20 08 July 2019

Castle Hill celebrates its award. Picture: CAROLINE HOME/CASTLE HILL

Castle Hill celebrates its award. Picture: CAROLINE HOME/CASTLE HILL

CAROLINE HOME/CASTLE HILL

An Ipswich school facing issues with attendance and classroom disruption is among the first in the country to win an award for transforming pupil wellbeing.

Castle Hill Infant and Junior School won a national award for its wellbeing of pupils. Picture: RACHEL EDGECastle Hill Infant and Junior School won a national award for its wellbeing of pupils. Picture: RACHEL EDGE

Castle Hill Infant and Junior School in Ipswich was given the Trauma and Mental Health Informed School award for the measures it took to improve mental wellbeing for its youngsters.

The 550-pupil school has higher than average numbers of pupils with special educational needs and social and emotional health needs, meaning there were significant challenges around attendance and disruption in the classroom.

But thanks to measures introduced by the Asset Education run-school, including a sensory-based curriculum using colours and nature, and work to help children understand their emotions better, the school was recognised for its approach to wellbeing.

Headteacher Gemma Andrews said: "We are absolutely delighted to receive a Trauma and Mental Health Informed School Award to recognise the commitment of our school community to nurturing the emotional wellbeing of our young people.

Castle Hill has utilised a therapy dog to help with its pupils' wellbeing. Picture: CASTLE HILLCastle Hill has utilised a therapy dog to help with its pupils' wellbeing. Picture: CASTLE HILL

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"We aim to continue to develop our trauma informed practice and create more opportunities to support parents."

Award chiefs from the Centre for Child Mental Health and Trauma Informed Schools UK said the visit to the school had demonstrated the positive relationship between pupils and staff.

Suzie Franklin, education consultant and awards assessor, said: "You can really feel the sense of emotional wellbeing as you walk around the school and the calm, caring, yet playful relationships that adults engage in at all levels promotes emotional regulation across the whole school culture.

Castle Hill head Gemma Andrews said she was delighted the school was recognised. Picture: GREGG BROWNCastle Hill head Gemma Andrews said she was delighted the school was recognised. Picture: GREGG BROWN

"The school's ethos is focused around learning as the foundation for life, rather than league tables or exam results.

"Underpinning this is a comprehensive vision for students' social, moral and cultural development.

"There is a relationship policy for staff to ensure that interactions with pupils are reflective, regulating and warm, and the school really understands the evidence-based role that relationships play in shaping daily experiences."

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