St Mary's Church of England Academy

Here at St. Mary's we provide the highest possible quality of education, underpinned by our Christian ethos and values however we pride ourselves in the fact that we are mixed faith with a rising number of multi faiths through our school

Mental Health and Wellbeing

At St. Mary's we recognise the impact that Social Emotional Mental Health and Wellbeing has on class attainment. 

Research shows that a culture of social and emotionally aware teaching and environments, enable children to develop better academically and research by the EEF state it can close the attainment gap by four months. 

Therefore we have a dedicated nurture team who are based in The Nest. 
Mrs. Torbitt heads up the team as an art teacher nurture specialist. Her bespoke therapy acts as key hole surgery to support our most vulnerable children. 
Working alongside Mrs Torbitt, is Mr Mishra (ELSA) and Mrs Fulcher (Thrive) more about these approaches below. 

Alongside this team, is a whole school ethos with a high quality PSHE curriculum known as Jigsaw this is led by our Mental Health First Aider, PSHE lead and KS1 teacher Miss Andrews.


A first step to establish a ‘social-emotional aware’ classroom environment, is to revisit our behaviour promise, we begin with developing strong team classbases, celebrating eachother and teaching children tips for happiness and wellbeing using Seeds of Happiness.  We strive to establish classroom manners, routines, methods of managing difficult conversations and enabling debates.


In addition to this, we may assess your child using Thrive assessment to establish indivisual needs.  We may recommend a Pastoral support referal.  For managing low level pastoral needs, the Pastoral Team have created a toolkit of strategies that are embedded in classroom practices. 


These techniques will, in time,  develop into a mental health toolkit that children and staff can draw upon to develop their resilience, courage and self regulation.  All children will access each technique at an age appropriate level. 


For more information on any of the techniques please do not hesitate to contact the linked member of the pastoral team who can help you further.


Social Emotional Learning Toolkit to teach core competencies 

  1. Self-awareness: expand children’s emotional vocabulary and support them to express emotions. 
  2. Self-regulation: teach children to use self-calming strategies and positive self-talk to help deal with intense emotions.
  3. Social awareness: use stories to discuss others’ emotions and perspectives.
  4. Relationship skills: role play good communication and listening skills.
  5. Responsible decision-making: teach and practise problem solving strategies.




We use the Thrive Approach at St Mary’s to focus upon children's emotional well being. It offers practical strategies and skills that are built around assessments which  identify children’s emotional development. Our  Thrive practitioner is Mrs Fulcher. Along with the rest of the Nurture team, she provides action plans for individual needs. The sessions may take the form of small group and one to one opportunities. 


Children can experience challenging situations during their time at school. These may include:

  • friendship issues
  • family issues
  • finding it hard to settle in the classroom
  • managing and regulating their strong feelings


Thrive sessions may include the following activities:

  • storytelling
  • circle games
  • arts and crafts
  • sand play
  • movement and relaxation
  • role play and puppet work games


With Thrive, our purpose is to support the St Mary’s School vision of encouraging children to shine by:

  •  thinking  for themselves
  •  show initiative
  •  gain confidence
  •  be helpful to others
  •  show tolerance and awareness of others
  •  be reflective
  •  be able to regulate their emotions


For more information about the Thrive approach contact our Thrive practitioner, Catriona Bailey via the school office, or have a look at the Thrive website

A Parents Guide to the Thrive Approach

ELSA stands for Emotional Literacy Support and is another strategy we use to support children to find the words they need to communicate their feelings. 
Our  ELSA practitioner is Mr Mishra.

Books to help children understand their feelings and emotions

My Self Care plan booklet

Here is a lovely activity booklet giving children some strategies and activities to do on those days when they feel sad, worried, anxious or maybe just a bit down.