The wellbeing calendar runs all through the school year with each month focusing on a theme, tying in with National and International Awareness days and weeks. See below for each monthly theme.
Our Wellbeing theme of the month is Kindness. To celebrate this theme, we decided to do various activities to spread kindness throughout the school, focusing on Wednesday 13th November (World Kindness day). Each form had a Kindness Pack which included slips of paper for all students to write a kind message to other students and also members of staff.
Our Wellbeing board also ties in with the kindness theme to encourage students as they walk past and see it everyday. At Ribston Hall we recognised and participated in the World Kindness movement because it has an important purpose to highlight good deeds in the community, focusing on the positive power and the common thread of kindness that binds us.
Robyn Hammond 10D
Our Wellbeing theme for this month was Thinking of Others. All throughout the month of December the school have been thinking of others who aren’t as fortunate as we are, especially at Christmas time. To help encourage the understanding of the struggle that this may be, on 3rd December, all students and staff were set a challenge to go #ADayWithout and give up something important in our lives for 24 hours. This went really well with Ribston Hall raising over £60 for Leonard Cheshire UK. Leonard Cheshire support individuals to live and learn and work as independently as they choose, whatever their ability. This is a charity to support physical and mental disabilities.
On behalf of the Wellbeing Ambassadors, I would like to thank everyone who took part.
Maisy Chamberlayne 8S
January saw Ribston Hall High School celebrate and acknowledge Young Carers Awareness Day. Each tutor group had a presentation and completed a quiz to ensure they had a greater understanding of the life experiences of young carers.
The Wellbeing Team organised tea and cake for some of our young carers, Wellbeing Ambassadors and Staff. Karen James from Young Carers Gloucestershire attended the event, along with Kerry Mann an ex Ribston student and spoke to us about what it means to be a young carer. Every day across the UK thousands of young people help to look after someone in their family, or a friend, who is ill, disabled or struggles with substance misuse. Recent research shows that one in twelve secondary school children may be a young carer. For many, their caring journey begins at a much younger age. Caring for someone can be very isolating, worrying and stressful. For young carers, this can negatively impact on their experiences and outcomes in education, having a lasting effect.
At Ribston, we want our young carers to know that we can and will support them, in any way we can. This may be a chat, offering emotional support or relieving some of the pressures students endure during their time in secondary education.
Many thanks to our catering team for supplying the lovely cakes and associate staff for all their help with this event.
Struggling with poor mental health, then opening up about it can be very hard. Here at Ribston, we support whoever, in whatever situation.
February was packed with many things to do. For example, in tutor time, we watched a video about Stormzy opening up about depression. This was very inspiring because you don't usually see the background of celebrities (you don't see the bit of the iceberg that's below the water).
At our age some students experience bullying because of the way they look. This shouldn't be happening, and comments about your body can sometimes be very hurtful. If this is happening to you, remember that you are not alone- talk to a friend, an adult you trust, or the Well-being team, who are always on hand to help you.
We also watched a clip of Keala Settle singing 'This Is Me', a song all about not listening to what other people say.
Suffering from Mental health problems in children can have one of the most disastrous effects- it can impact on grades and on friendships. Our school offers many opportunities to help people struggling with their mental health but they might not be using these to their optimum. Sometimes students feel like they don't want to open up, but Ribston is a happy, friendly school and we respect everyone's emotions. Please do remember that we can help!
The Wellbeing team has come up with so much over the past few weeks to support us. Please do come talk to us if you are feeling stressed, and look out for students wearing the new Wellbeing Ambassador badges!
Blanka Gradziel Wellbeing Ambassador 7.5
Stress Awareness Month has been held every April, since 1992 to increase public awareness about both the causes and cures for our modern stress epidemic. According to the Mental Health Foundation, 74% of UK adults have felt so stressed at some point over the last year they felt overwhelmed or unable to cope. Now more than ever, with the constant newsfeeds about COVID-19 and the major changes to our normal way of life, having coping mechanisms to reduce stress is something that is incredibly important for us all during these challenging times.
For further information, please visit our Wellbeing Calendar which can be found on the Mental Health and Emotional Wellbeing pages on our website. By clicking on the April hyperlink you will be taken directly to the Stress Awareness Month website which contains many useful resources and guides.
Looking after our Wellbeing during Lockdown
Millions of us around the UK are experiencing high levels of stress, especially in the current climate and it is damaging our health. Stress is one of the great public health challenges of our time, Individually we need to understand what is causing us personal stress and learn what steps we can take to reduce it for ourselves and those around us. Our students have been keeping in touch with their form tutors and have been sent, via email, activities, based around how to manage stress. Some of our Wellbeing Ambassadors at Ribston have shared how they are coping during Lockdown- from playing charades over Zoom with friends to completing small daily challenges,
Becca Allen "During quarantine, I have enjoyed taking part in a virtual choir, singing one of my favourite songs with my drama group, giving us the opportunity to video call once a week where we also have a friendly musical theatre quiz and a catch up. The song has been published on youtube: https://youtu.be/5ARGEvgL2rY"
Danielle Veluz "During Lockdown I have realised that I get to spend more time with my family. I never knew how much I would miss my friends even though I’ve only known them since September!"
Niamh Hall "Quarantine has been rough keeping on top of school work and I think I speak for the whole of Year 10 when I say it’s been stressful but, my routine has been important and keeping that implemented has really helped as well as keeping in touch with friends and ensuring to keep active."
Lauren Smith "I decided to use some of the free time we now have whilst in lockdown to download the 'coach to 5k' app and complete the running program; running makes me feel better when I'm stressed and getting out for some fresh air each day prevents me getting too bored being at home."
Lucy Good "During my time in lockdown, I have been reading lots of books to relax as well as to widen my knowledge."
Abi Wilson "I've been focusing on deep breathing whenever I feel myself getting overwhelmed - in for three, hold for two, out for three, hold for two and repeat."
Alex Williams "I have been spending lockdown getting back into old hobbies again and playing games to take care of myself! My friends and I have also begun playing online games together every week!"
Misty Hughes-Gardiner "I have been focusing on doing exercise as it helps calm the mind and body as well as keeping healthy and happy!"
We were also invited to take part in a t-shirt design competition, from Claire Libby, the founder of the iamme app, The app is a positive mental health app, created by young people, for young people. Designed to educate, enable and empower. https://www.iammeapp.com
Student Wellbeing - May saw plenty of sunshine, a half term break and also Mental Health Awareness Week. This year, the theme was Kindness.
You may recognise the expression “it is better to give than receive”, but did you know this is backed-up by research?
People who are kind and compassionate see clear benefits to their wellbeing and happiness. Kindness can also help reduce stress and improve our emotional wellbeing. We all have so much going on in our lives - including competing strains and stresses and this can see kindness pushed to one side, in favour of what is more urgent. It can be easy to signal kindness by posting online and following a trend, but harder to commit to kindness in our daily words and actions. If we take the time to be kind to other people, we can reap the emotional dividends. It can really make a difference and especially for people who are vulnerable or struggling. Now is the time to re-imagine a kinder society that better protects our mental health. Whilst we haven’t been able to interact with the students in school, we have set up our Wellbeing padlet, which is updated regularly and can be found on our website if you want to have a look around it.
Students were asked to share what they have been doing that is kind during lockdown and/or Mental Health Awareness Week. Here is a small selection of some acts of Kindness:
Lauren Smith SF4 – Sixth Form Wellbeing Lead: "I've been making use of the app 'Freeprints Cards' to send my friends and family personalised postcards throughout lockdown. My grandparents really enjoy receiving ones with pictures of me and my siblings on and hearing about the simple things we've been doing to keep occupied at home. It can feel difficult to maintain relationships without being able to see people properly in person, so it's more important than ever to remind those you love that you're thinking of them."
Rosanna Phelps 9R "I help my mum out by making tea every Saturday - One of my acts of kindness every week!"
Zoe Davy, 7.4 "Kindness matters to me because the world depends on it. I have been helping more around the house since lockdown."
Celebrating PRIDE month
June is Pride month, it is a month dedicated to celebrating the LGBTQ+ communities all around the world.
Pride is usually celebrated with lots of parades and marches but with coronavirus and social distancing still in place, things have been a little different this year.
Ribston's Umbrella group has written about Pride month but also during lockdown.
"As with every year, June marked Pride Month, and this year celebrates 51 years since the Stonewall Riots that pushed forward the LGBT civil rights movement in America.
50 years ago on 28th June was the Christopher Street Liberation Day March - the first ever pride march. While for many this was a celebration of acceptance, this was not the case for everyone. The now much-loved activist Stormé DeLarverie spoke at the protest, but was booed by the white audience. Here at the Umbrella Group, we stand with our LGBTQ+ and BAME community.
As the leaders of the school's LGBTQ+ group, we felt that it was important to continue to provide a space for students to be able to stay in touch and support each other. At the beginning of lockdown, we created a list of LGBT media to access such as TV shows and films, to provide comfort and a way to express pride. Since then, we have produced more PowerPoints on LGBT issues to support members of our school community.
And whilst this year, Pride looks a little different to usual, we hope that everyone has been able to celebrate it in their own way. Here at the Umbrella Group, we are so proud of you, and we hope you have pride in yourselves too."
The Umbrella Group
Ribston Staff and Student Working Group against Discrimination
In response to events in the last month, students and staff have joined together to form a group to discuss all types of diversity and discrimination in our society. The group is using Microsoft Teams to communicate, share ideas and articles that may be of interest. Jade Roberts in Year 9 has written her thoughts on the discussions:
“Racial discrimination has been a major issue in our society. The death of George Floyd has triggered many riots and protests for equal rights, an issue which has been going around for decades. An innocent man along with many other people of colour have been killed by police officers due to the colour of their skin. It needs to stop! "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character. I have a dream today!" This quote was said by Martin Luther King in his speech for the fight of justice. People should not have to worry about their lives because of their skin.
Iman Raja, in Y12 would like to set the students a challenge to support the group:
“As you have probably seen throughout these past months, the news has been a whirlwind of protests and petitions for the Black Lives Matter movement. As a school and as a community, our main ethos should be to advocate for and to encourage movements that strive for justice and accountability as well inspire and educate people from all backgrounds to stand together.
We would like to display artwork or models that clearly celebrate diversity and refute discrimination in our society. We would like to hold a whole school competition where you can channel your thoughts and what this movement means to you into a physical piece of art. This can include drawings, paintings, sketches etc. and can include quotes that you have been moved by.
We hope that this competition will catalyse many more opportunities for students who want to show their support and showcase the many skills we have at Ribston. Feel free to get as creative as you like, we're very excited to see what you come up with!”
If you would like to create a piece of artwork, please email an image of the final piece to Mr Barnard (firstname.lastname@example.org) by 1st September 2020. We would like to display these in September, so please keep hold of these pieces.