We are delighted to announce that, after more than 12 months of preparation and hard work, The British School of Barcelona has achieved the Wellbeing Award for Schools. This is a wellbeing related accreditation which formally recognises schools who are making a significant contribution to promote emotional wellbeing and mental health within their school community.
Clearly, our focus on wellbeing has been a top priority for us for many years now, and following the lockdown period this became even more relevant as we soon realised the potential negative impact that Covid-19 would have on people’s mental health and general wellbeing. Our decision to apply for this accreditation was therefore quite natural as we felt there was so much happening around wellbeing across the school that we wanted to:
- Recognise and celebrate our provision for emotional wellbeing and mental health, demonstrating the school’s commitment to promoting wellbeing as a part of the day-to-day life at school;
- Bring together all the initiatives into a strategic framework; and
- Develop a whole-school strategy for improving the emotional wellbeing and mental health of students, families and staff.
WAS provides formal recognition that BSB has met very high standards of provision for emotional wellbeing and mental health. The verification report highlights our effective approach to wellbeing, the strategies we equip students with to support their own wellbeing, the whole-school engagement, and the calmness that pervades the school.
BSB is the only school in Catalunya that has been accredited with the Wellbeing Award for Schools, and one of the only two schools in all Spain.
BSB, a place of emotional wellbeing and support
“It is clear that the school is committed to supporting the wellbeing of all its stakeholders. It is also evident that BSB takes a thoughtful and informed approach to its provision which is both needs led and evaluated for effectiveness. ”
WAS Verification Report 2021
Highest standard for emotional wellbeing and mental health
The Wellbeing Award for Schools (WAS) was developed by Optimus Education in partnership with the National Children’s Bureau.
Optimus Education is a leading provider of professional development support and improvement services for schools. Their range of non-curricular awards accredit schools for outstanding provision and support them to achieve long-term, sustainable school improvement.
For over 50 years, National Children’s Bureau (NCB) have been at the forefront of campaigning for children and young people’s rights to protect the children whose welfare is most at risk. Their vision is for every child to be safe, secure and supported and their mission is to build a better childhood for every child.
Why has BSB been granted the Award?
The report highlights that it is evident that at BSB we take a thoughtful and informed approach to our wellbeing provision and that there is a clear accountability framework for wellbeing, with well-developed recording and reporting mechanisms.
The award verifier points out that pupils are confident about reporting concerns and where they can go for help. They can all site examples of opportunities they have had to learn about wellbeing as well as talking about strategies they have learned to support their own wellbeing. He also states that “Students enjoy a range of leadership opportunities with regard to emotional wellbeing and mental health”.
The report also recognises that BSB staff are aware of a significant increase in the number of wellbeing concerns since the beginning of the pandemic and have a broad range of strategies in place to address these concerns.
There is clear evidence that the school analyses key stakeholder feedback (pupils, parents, staff) carefully to ensure a whole-school approach.
Outdoor spaces are attractive and include ‘natural areas’ to provide additional calm spaces and promote social interaction.
Wellbeing is a priority across Cognita and BSB is actively sharing its knowledge and skills around emotional wellbeing and mental health with partners in the organisation.
What is the benefit for our Community?
At BSB we have been working very hard over the last few years to raise the profile of emotional wellbeing and mental health across school:
- Defining the BSB Wellbeing Vision
- Setting up staff and students training programmes to increase knowledge and awareness on mental health issues
- Running wellbeing events to get everyone talking about wellbeing and mental health
- Reorganising the curriculum
- Identifying ‘Wellbeing Champions’, offering counselling, signposting support advice
- Offering wellbeing gestures, showing appreciation, including wellbeing in appraisals
- Creating a pleasant environment and providing calm spaces
- Listening to pupil voice, listening to staff views and encouraging parent voice
The Wellbeing Award for Schools (WAS) provided us with a rigorous framework to self-evaluate our provision with a whole-school approach and create an action plan to target specific areas for improvement.
Our objective is to continue to work hard to ensure we promote emotional wellbeing and positive mental health across the whole-school community and aim to continue our BSB Wellbeing Vision.
We will continue to develop practices to ensure that wellbeing is embedded in the long-term culture of our school, creating an ethos where mental health is regarded as the responsibility of all.