QEGS Ashbourne
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    Apr 2018 - Every Student in QEGS Gets Vital Mental Health Advice

    On Thursday 12th April and Friday 13th April 2018, approximately 1,358 students, 50 parents and 70 members of staff were given access to current mental health and wellbeing advice, thanks to Maz from ‘The Self-Esteem Team’.

    Every year group was given a 1-hour assembly, focusing on ‘Body Image’ for Years 7-9 and ‘Stress’ for Years 10-13. Students were shown how to be more aware of what they are being subconsciously exposed to through advertising in the ‘Body Image’ class and given a challenge to compliment others according to what we value about people (kindness, a sense of humour, or loyalty, for example) rather than aesthetics.

    In the ‘Stress’ session, students discovered whether they have a natural ‘fight’ or ‘flight’ response to pressure and were given strategies for managing it. All students were encouraged to communicate about how they are feeling, whether that is with a friend, relative, teacher or mental health professional. This is especially vital when we consider that suicide is the highest cause of death for young men.

    Parents and carers were also invited to an evening talk which gave an overview of the sessions the students were given and then Maz responded to questions from the audience. Miss Angris, who had led organisation of the event, was inundated with positive feedback from parents who had attended, with one parent emailing to say, “I came to the evening held on Thursday last week and wanted to feedback what a great experience it was. The speaker was incredibly good at conveying her message and to be able to hold the attention of the room for 2 hours with most of us wishing we could have more was really impressive. Having gone through the experience of having to help my elder son with bullying and the subsequent esteem issues that went with it, I am so pleased that the school are taking these initiatives, I only wish that more parents had attended to support you. When I talked with both my boys about the sessions they had attended both thought they were really good and we are already discussing implementing some of the strategies presented for the impending year 11!”.

    The evening before, the National Education Union had funded a ‘Self-Esteem Workshop for Professionals working with Young People’, also held at QEGS. Teachers had come from all over the Midlands to hear Maz’s advice and some teachers had commented that they had been able to put into practice strategies learnt at the event, the very next day, when helping some students.

    Whilst Maz, and The Self-Esteem Team, tour all over the UK giving support to schools, QEGS has a special place in the speaker’s heart, as she tweeted: ‘This wonderful school is so close to home in more ways than 1!’. Not only did Maz’s mother attend the school but so does Maz’s nephew, Aaron Buckingham, who is currently raising money for children affected by cancer as he continues to fight his own battle with the disease. It was perhaps this connection to and passion for the school that helped Maz to talk for 15 hours to a room full of eager listeners across the 2 and a half days!

    QEGS is truly thankful to Foundation Derbyshire and QEGS FPTA for funding the student and parent talks, and to the National Education Union and Nelson’s Gin for sponsoring the staff training. We hope that the attendees take on board the advice and that we continue to create a community of students, staff, parents and carers who are able to support and look after each other.

    To support the funding of future projects like this, please attend QEGS FPTA events, details of which can be found on QEGS, Ashbourne website, Facebook and Twitter.

    Above: The Self-Esteem Team Staff Training on Student Self-Esteem funded by the NEU (National Education Union)

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    Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School Ashbourne Academy - Proud to be part of the QEGSMAT

    Registered Address - The Green Road, Ashbourne, Derbyshire, DE6 1EP
    Tel: 01335 343685 | E-mail: enquiries@queenelizabeths.derbyshire.sch.uk

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