Social, Emotional and Mental Health

Children and young people may experience a wide range of social and emotional difficulties which manifest themselves in many ways. These may include becoming withdrawn or isolated, as well as displaying challenging, disruptive or disturbing behaviour. These behaviours may reflect underlying mental health difficulties such as anxiety or depression, self-harming, substance misuse, eating disorders or physical symptoms that are medically unexplained. Other children and young people may have disorders such as attention deficit disorder, attention deficit hyperactive disorder or attachment disorder.

For all of us at Westfield Primary Community School, our priority is to care for every pupil in a safe, friendly environment which enables them to enjoy their time in school and feel confident to learn. We have a supportive and caring ethos and our approach is to be respectful and kind, where each individual and contribution is valued. At our school we know that everyone experiences life challenges that can make us vulnerable and at times, anyone may need additional emotional support. We take the view that positive mental health is everybody’s business and that we all have a role to play. Our staff work hard to support children’s emotional and social learning and this is interwoven through everything we do.

The Thrive Approach

In order to support us with our whole-school approach to supporting mental health and wellbeing, we are very proud and excited to be on a journey to becoming a Thrive school. At Westfield Primary Community School, we recognise that all behaviour is a form of communication and that communication must be understood and supported in order for our pupils to feel safe, secure and listened to. The Thrive Approach is a whole-school approach to wellbeing which is proven to improve attendance, behaviour and attainment. It is an evidence based approach which draws upon the latest research in neuroscience, attachment theory and child development in order to support schools to understand the needs being signalled by a child’s behaviour.

At Westfield Primary Community School, Rachel Hewston is our Senior Mental Health Lead (SMHL) and has attended Thrive Induction and SMHL Training. Our trainee Thrive Practitioners are Sarah Bentley who is our Children’s Champion for Years 1-3 and Leah McQuillan who is our Children’s Champion for Years 4-6. For further information about their roles, please Click Here .

“At the core of the Thrive Approach is the recognition of the significance of positive relationships and the impact connection can have on children and young people’s emotional health and future wellbeing” – The Thrive Approach.


The Wellbeing in Mind Team 

Westfield is one of 8 education settings in York working with the Wellbeing in Mind Team. We are very fortunate to work with a team of qualified mental health professionals who provide mental health and wellbeing support for parents, pupils and staff. The focus of their work in school is promoting positive mental health and wellbeing and early intervention, helping to raise awareness about the common problems young people experience and how to deal with them. The team are very passionate about helping every child be happy and healthy and strive to do this by working with everybody from school staff to families and children themselves. The team have a base in school and every week offer advice to staff and support to both parents and children. We work together and make a plan of support every term and this includes a range of things from developing policies to running groups for children. They are an NHS service, operated by Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust (TEWV) and regularly meet with key members of staff to co-ordinate support. Please do ask in school if you would like more information.