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Eastbourne College and St Andrew’s Prep win top Wellbeing Award

Eastbourne College and St Andrew’s Prep have recently been presented the Wellbeing Award for Schools, the award recognises schools that prioritise and promote mental health and well being within their communities and is granted by Optimus Education in partnership with the National Children’s Bureau.

Eastbourne College was applauded for its flexible and tailored support for pupils and their families, as well as the various programmes introduced in addition to the school counselling service, with older pupils taking on the role of mentor for younger ones.

These include Whizz Kids, where Year 11 pupils offer support to younger pupils in their house, Year 13 pupils who take responsibility as peer listeners and the Listening Service, where trained staff and pupils provide an ear to those who need to talk. The online Teen Tips hub was also recognised as a valuable service for pupils and parents, aiding understanding on issues linked to mental health and wellbeing.

Gwen Taylor Hall, deputy head (pastoral) at Eastbourne College, said: “This award is the culmination of a huge team effort involving pupils, staff and parents raising the profile of wellbeing by acknowledging what wellbeing looks like for themselves and for those around them. Key to this is offering the right support for our pupils and encouraging them to talk. We are absolutely delighted to have got the award. 

“Staff want to support pupils’ development and recognise that learning is only possible when everyone is comfortable and cared for. We’re proud to have several trained Mental Health First Aiders on our team.”

Senior prefects run a ‘Wellbeing Wednesday’ programme to provide a mid-week lift, with fun activities and competitions – from yoga to treasure hunts to karaoke. Other wellbeing programmes include the Eastbourne College Mind Gym, offering a space where pupils can have one-to-one discussions on issues affecting their sport – providing a vehicle to talk about mental health and normalise these conversations.

Tom Lawson, headmaster of Eastbourne College, said: “Wellbeing is built into our founding ethos – our school motto is ‘Ex Oriente Salus’, meaning ‘safety’ or ‘health from the east’, so we’re delighted to receive the Wellbeing Award for Schools.