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Our Lady’s College, Greenhills, Drogheda, Co. Louth

Wellbeing

Wellbeing for Students During Covid

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First Section: Wellbeing? What’s it all about?

Although Wellbeing is a relatively new subject area within the Junior Cycle it is something that we all should be conscious of in our lives, particularly in times of uncertainty and change. Here we hope to give an understanding of what Wellbeing is and how we can actively improve our own wellbeing.

The Junior Cycle Wellbeing programme began with 300 hours of timetabled engagement in 2017 and is being built up to 400 hours timetabled engagement over three years from 2021 in line with department guidelines.

In Greenhills, we believe in promoting wellbeing, not just throughout our Junior Cycle, but on a whole school basis.

Aim of Wellbeing

Wellbeing will be achieved when students realise their abilities, take care of their physical wellbeing, can cope with the normal stresses of life, and have a sense of purpose and belonging to a wider community.

The Junior Cycle Framework has 8 Key skills one of which is staying well. In developing this skill, there are 6 wellbeing indicators that students develop, as follows:

Students learn to develop their wellbeing when they study SPHE, CSPE, PE and Pastoral Care but they also develop these indicators when engaging in the many different extracurricular activities and events throughout the school year. Greenhills is very passionate about the promotion of wellbeing and all of these activities are carried out on a voluntary basis by our teachers.  We look forward to get back to all of these post Covid-19.

Wellbeing Policy, Our Lady’s College, Greenhills

Our school

Our Lady’s College is an all-girls Catholic school founded by the Presentation Sisters in 1940 which is now under the trusteeship of CEIST. Current student enrolment is 925 students.  Our school community is built on the principles of respect and care. Our Lady’s College is a vibrant learning environment where all students can develop academic, spiritually, physical and emotional way.

Rationale for the Policy

The Framework for Junior Cycle (2015) provides for a new area of learning at junior cycle called Wellbeing. It states that “The junior cycle years are a critical time in young peoples’ lives. Students are exposed to a range of influences, including peer pressure. They require support to make positive responsible decisions relating to their health and wellbeing and the wellbeing of others. Wellbeing in junior cycle is about young people feeling confident, happy, healthy and connected” Wellbeing will cross the three years of junior cycle and build on substantial work already taking place in schools in support of students’ wellbeing. This area of learning will make the school’s culture and ethos and commitment to wellbeing visible to students. It will include learning opportunities to enhance the physical, mental, emotional and social wellbeing of students. It will enable students to build life skills and develop a strong sense of connectedness to their school and to their community. The junior cycle Wellbeing programme will begin with 300 hours of timetabled engagement in 2017 and build up to 400 hours by 2020 as the new junior cycle is implemented fully in schools.

The goal of wellbeing is human flourishing, and flourishing rests on the following…..positive emotion, engagement, relationships, meaning, and accomplishment.

Policy Goal

The goal of this policy document is to outline clearly the school’s approach to the provision of wellbeing for all members of the Our Lady’s College community, setting out the structure and supports that are in place both within the curriculum and the wider school community.

This policy is introduced to allow the school to adequately respond to the changing and diverse needs of our pupils. Our Lady’s College is committed to the nurturing of the whole person so that they may be guided with care and respect to respond to the demands of modern life with resilience, optimism, initiative and a feeling of ownership so they can take their place in society as independent young women.

Wellbeing

Student wellbeing is present when students realise their abilities, take care of their physical wellbeing, can cope with the normal stresses of life, and have a sense of purpose and belonging to a wider community.

These indicators are representative of the following key skills that strive to develop in our pupils:

  • Being a confident and skilled participant in physical activity
  • Being physically active
  • Being able to take action to protect and promote their wellbeing and that of others
  • Making healthy eating choices
  • Knowing when and where their safety is at risk and enabling them to make the right choices
  • Feeling connected to their school, friends, community and the wider world
  • Understanding how their actions and interactions impact on their own wellbeing and that of others, in local and global contexts
  • Feeling confident in themselves and having the coping skills to deal with life’s challenges
  • Knowing where they can go for help
  • Believing that, with effort, they can achieve
  • Showing care and respect for others
  • Having positive relationships with friends, peers, and staff members
  • Feeling listened to and valued
  • Being aware of their thoughts, feelings, and behaviours, and being able to make sense of them
  • Being aware of their personal values, and able to think through their decisions
  • Being aware of themselves as learners, and knowing how they can improve

The 24 statements of learning (SOLs) included in the Framework for Junior Cycle, along with the eight principles, are central to planning for the students’ experience of the school’s junior cycle programme.

A number of these statements of learning relate explicitly to wellbeing, including:

Statement No. Statement of Learning
5 The student has an awareness of personal values and an understanding of the process of moral decision-making.
7 The student values what it means to be an active citizen, with rights and responsibilities in local and wider contexts.
10 The student has the awareness, knowledge, skills, values and motivation to live sustainably.
11 The student takes action to safeguard and promote her/his wellbeing and that of others.
12 The student is a confident and competent participant in physical activity and is motivated to be physically active.
13 The student understands the importance of food and diet in making healthy lifestyle choices.

Staying well is also one of the 8 Key Skills for Junior Cycle

Structure Of the Policy

There are four main aspects of Wellbeing that the Department considers are key for wellbeing promotion. These are: Culture, Curriculum (teaching and learning), Policy and planning and Relationships. This policy will outline, under these four headings, our belief that everybody in the school community is valued and has an opportunity to flourish through the following whole school approach.

Aspects of Wellbeing

Culture

This means looking at structures, experiences, resources and other elements that the whole school community can provide to enhance young people’s sense of wellbeing.

School Mission and Ethos

We are a Christian Community founded by the Presentation Order, which is committed to:

  • Fostering Gospel values and ensuring a Catholic ethos as the cornerstone of school life in co-operation with parents and the local community.
  • Being aware of the Pastoral needs of all the students and providing an environment which will enable them to develop their full potential as individuals who recognize their own dignity, value and worth.
  • Reflecting Nano Nagle’s mission to education of the marginalised.
  • Offering a balanced curriculum of subject choices that will enable each student to develop at his/her own rate and to her/his own potential.
  • Delivering the highest standards of teaching, learning and performance.
  • Cultivating an ongoing awareness of the beauty of the school surroundings and its maintenance.

Physical and social environment

Research shows that the cleanliness and orderliness and general ‘feel’ of school buildings has been shown to influence student behaviour and engagement with their learning. It is important that schools ensure that the physical environment is clean and well maintained with good ventilation and light. Where possible, schools should provide facilities such as social/meeting spaces, a quiet room, pleasant outside areas and access to sports facilities.

  • Base classes and lockers for each year group are located together to allow students to interact and meet their peers.
  • A large green area outside is available for walks and extracurricular activities.
  • Large gym is available during lunch for extracurricular activities
  • The library is open at lunchtime to provide a work and quiet space for students.
  • There is both a Chapel and prayer room available for student reflection.
  • Healthy Meals are available in the school canteen
  • All students are involved in litter/ cleaning schedule around the whole school
  • All students and  play a role in classroom clean-up each day
  • Students work is displayed in classrooms and on special displays in the front hall which gives students a sense of accomplishment.

Teaching Learning and Assessment

Teachers play a particularly important role in raising children’s self-esteem, motivation and confidence by the way they organise teaching, learning and assessment in the classroom.

Given that students spend most of their day in class, the day-to-day experience of teaching and learning within the classroom provides the greatest opportunity to contribute to student wellbeing. Wellbeing is supported through learning, teaching and assessment which helps students feel confident, connected and actively engaged in their learning.

In Our Lady’s College, Greenhills we support wellbeing in the following ways:

  • Mixed ability class groups are formed in 1st
  • Differentiated teaching and learning. All teachers take students’ individual needs into account when teaching. Information on individual students’ needs are given to teachers at the start of the school year
  • The SEN team communicates individual student needs with relevant teachers.
  • Use of a variety of learning & teaching methodologies and strategies such as Mike Hughes methodologies
  • Methodologies in line with the School Improvement Plan objectives such as AFL and Operaction Oracy.
  • Integration of ICT into teaching and learning in the school
  • Team teaching for SEN support is in place and teachers collaborate to share methodologies to differentiate their classes.
  • Use a variety of assessment approaches such as projects, presentations, self and peer and assessment
  • Provide regular feedback and give opportunities to reflect on learning, set goals and review progress

Classroom Culture

Because it is the responsibility of every teacher in every class to contribute to learning and development in this area, all staff in OurLady’s College are expected to be proactive in:

  • promoting a climate in which children and young people feel safe and secure and which respects and develops children’s rights and wellbeing
  • establishing open, positive, supportive relationships across the school community, where young people feel that they’re listened to, and where they feel secure in their ability to discuss sensitive aspects of their lives
  • modelling behaviour which promotes wellbeing for all

Pastoral Care plays a central role in the school

Form Teachers Each Class has a form teacher – Members of staff act as form teacher to individual class groups. This is a pastoral role which is hugely valuable and is central to Wellbeing in Our Lady’s College. The student, where possible, has the same form teacher for 5 years. This provides continuity and builds the student/form teacher relationship. Students have daily contact with this teacher.

Year Head –The role of the year head is pivotal in the school community. The class teacher and year head move with the student.

Year Heads liaise with class teachers about the progress of the students individually and class groups collectively

  • Develop relationships with students, teachers and parents.
  • Work within student support structures
  • Advocating on behalf of students/parents/management/colleagues
  • Support a positive work ethic in the year
  • Acknowledgment of achievement through positive feedback

Curriculum

A dedicated Wellbeing curriculum in junior cycle aims to ensure that all students engage in important learning about wellbeing through key curriculum areas.

While all teachers in all subjects can support student learning about and for wellbeing, wellbeing is enhanced when it is embedded in the curriculum and visible to students within specific allocated time. Explicitly planning for wellbeing in the curriculum and assigning it space on the timetable communicates to students, parents and teachers that this area of learning is important – it makes the school’s concern with wellbeing visible and confirms for students in a very recognisable way that their wellbeing matters.

For this reason, a strong emphasis is placed on the role that Civic, Social and Political Education (CSPE), Physical Education (PE), Social, Personal and Health Education (SPHE) and guidance play in supporting learning about wellbeing and learning for wellbeing.

400 timetabled hours will be available for learning in the area of Wellbeing in junior cycle and this will be complemented by extracurricular activities.

Timetabling of Wellbeing

1st year 2020 

Subject 1st yr 2nd yr 3rd yr hrs
SPHE 1 1 1 99
PC
PE 2 2 2
CSPE 2 1 99
Other Unit 1 1 47
Total hrs 392

1st year 2019 

Subject 1st yr 2nd yr 3rd yr hrs
SPHE 1 1 1 70
PC 1 1 1 70
PE 2 2 2 135
CSPE 1 1 1 70
Total hrs 345

1st yr 2018

Subject 1st yr 2nd yr 3rd yr hrs
SPHE 1 1 1 70
PC 1 1 1 70
PE 2 2 3 135
CSPE 0 2 1 70
Total hrs 345

1st yr 2017

Subject 1st yr 2nd yr 3rd yr Total hr
SPHE 1 1 1 70
PC 1 1 1 70
PE 2 2 3 135
CSPE 1 1 1 70
Total hrs 345

SPHE and Wellbeing

SPHE follows the NCCA short course specification  covering 70hours of Wellbeing.  No CBA is required but student rich activities are encouraged.

SPHE provides opportunities for teaching and learning directly related to health and wellbeing.

Through the use of experiential methodologies, including group work, SPHE aims to develop students’ positive sense of themselves and their physical, social, emotional and spiritual health and wellbeing.

It also aims to build the student’s capacity to develop and maintain healthy relationships. Through studying aspects of SPHE, students have time to focus on developing personal and social skills including self-management, communication, coping and problem-solving.

Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE) is an integral part of junior cycle SPHE and the Wellbeing curriculum. Its aim is to help young people to acquire a knowledge and understanding of human relationships and sexuality through processes which will enable them to form values and establish behaviours within a moral, spiritual and social framework.

At this age, students are exposed to a lot of information about sex, sexuality and relationships from a variety of sources. RSE provides the context within which students can learn about the physical, social and emotional and moral issues related to relationships, sexual health, sexuality and gender identity including where to source reliable information.

CSPE and Wellbeing

CSPE follows the NCCA short course specification  covering 70hours of Wellbeing.  No CBA is required but student rich activities are encouraged.

CSPE helps students understand how their wellbeing and the wellbeing of others is connected. Being well in oneself is important and is always related to being well with others and within society. It is important for students to understand that wellbeing is not singularly about one’s personal, emotional and physical health.

Through the use of a human rights and development framework, CSPE can help students develop a more holistic and ecological understanding of wellbeing as they become aware of the relationship between individual wellness, wellness in relation to others and the wellbeing of the environment.

Without CSPE, there is the risk that discussion of wellbeing can feed into individualism and miss the opportunity to make links between individual wellbeing and collective wellbeing, between the personal and the political, and ultimately between our wellbeing and that of the planet.

CSPE also prompts students to consider the many social, political, cultural and economic factors that affect individual and collective wellbeing. Furthermore, the focus on active citizenship in CSPE provides opportunities for students to grow in confidence, resilience and a sense of agency as they participate in actions and connect with a wider community working to help build a more equal, just and sustainable future.

PE and Wellbeing

Physical Education (PE) provides all students with enjoyable and worthwhile learning opportunities where they develop their confidence and competence to participate and perform in a range of physical activities.

Students in junior cycle are at an important stage of their lives where they are making their own decisions about if and how they will include physical activity as part of their lifestyle. Learning in physical education is designed to ensure that students appreciate the importance of participation in regular moderate physical activity not only for their physical wellbeing, but also for their psychological and social wellbeing.

By providing a broad and balanced range of activities, physical education aims to build students’ motivation and commitment to participate in regular, enjoyable and health-enhancing physical activity.

Education for physical and mental health should not be seen as separate but rather as an opportunity to make connections between lifestyle choices such as regular exercise, healthy eating, stress management and relaxation and positive mental health.

PE will write up an Appendix I to follow the existing curriculum.

Guidance and Wellbeing

Guidance in schools refers to:

A range of learning experiences provided in a developmental sequence, that assist students to develop self-management skills which will lead to effective choices and decisions about their lives. It encompasses the three separate, but interlinked, areas of personal and social development, educational guidance and career guidance.

The Framework for Junior Cycle states that guidance provision may be included in the hours available for wellbeing ‘in recognition of the unique contribution that guidance can make to the promotion of students’ wellbeing’. To this end all hours related to Guidance are detailed in the Wellbeing Curriculum log.

First Year
Mentoring Senior students are selected and trained to monitor and support first years as they settle in especially during the first term. They report any difficulties that students may have to the Guidance Counsellor, Year Head or Form Teachers.

 

 

Integration of all First Years A sports day organised by the PE department is held in September allowing students to settle in.

 

 

One to One Meetings Meet with each class group to explain the Guidance Counsellor’s role in the context of the pastoral care structure within the school.  Explain how to make an appointment. Meet students individually in need of one-to-one personal, social or educational guidance and where necessary arrange referrals to outside agencies. Referrals from year heads/ teachers/self-referral from students.

 

 

Information Sharing At a staff meeting in September the Pastoral Care team shares relevant information regarding health concerns, learning difficulties and personal issues. The information is relayed to the staff by each form teacher. This exchange of confidential information takes place for all year groups updating staff on important developments in students’ lives with the permission of families.

 

 

Subject

 

Choice Information

Advise students and parents on subject options for second year and meet students individually on request.

 

 

Anti –Bullying

 

School Campaign

The Guidance Counsellor meets students as outlined in the school Anti Bullying Policy.

 

 

Peer

 

Education Programme

Transition Year students taking part in the Peer Education Programme speak to students on issues such as alcohol and substance abuse.

 

 

 

Second Year
Special needs

 

 

Liaise with SEN Teacher with regard to students with learning or behavioural problems. Where appropriate with parental consent, referral to an educational psychologist e.g. the school’s NEPs Psychologist.

 

 

Student Appointments Individual counselling if required. Referrals from year heads/teachers/self-referrals from students

 

 

Study Skills All students participate in a study skills workshop provided by an outside agency.

 

 

Anti-Bullying

 

School Campaign

The Guidance Counsellor meets students as outlined in the school Anti Bullying Policy.

 

 

 

Third Year
Subject Choice Third Years who have opted to go straight into fifth year are given presentations on the subject choices available to them in fifth year. The implications of their choices for Third Level entry are explained. An information evening is held for parents.

 

 

Subject Levels Advice is given on the ramifications of taking subjects at foundation/ordinary/higher levels

 

 

Subject Talks from Teachers A short presentation is made to Third Years and Transition Years by a teacher from each subject department.

 

 

PROBE A psychometric test has been introduced for third years going into fifth year. Students complete an interest inventory which highlights subjects that might be useful for their chosen career path.
Student Appointments Educational counselling and guidance is offered to students on the appropriate subjects and programme to choose. Particular attention is paid to students who may be at risk of dropping out.

 

Personal counselling is offered as required. Referrals from year heads/ teachers/self-referral from students.

 

Peer to Peer Subject Information Third years and Transition Years are given an opportunity to speak directly to senior students about their experiences of each subject, from a student’s perspective.

 

 

Careers Event Guidance Counsellors from each of the secondary schools in Drogheda come together and organise a careers exploration event. The aim of the careers event is to assist third years and transition years in choosing subjects relevant to courses they may pursue at third level.

 

 

RACE The Guidance Counsellor liaises with the Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator, deputy principal, subject teachers, parents, students and Home School Liaison (if necessary) in applying for ‘reasonable accommodations’ for Junior Certificate students.

 

 

Literacy and Numeracy The Guidance Counsellor explains the new leaving certificate grading system and highlights new key related terms.

 

 

Anti-Bullying

 

School Campaign

The Guidance Counsellor meets students as outlined in the school Anti Bullying Policy.

 

 

Other Areas of Learning

  • Co-curricular – Welcoming Ceremony for incoming 1st years
  • The library is open at lunchtime to facilitate those students who may need access to a quiet space.
  • Sports day – beginning of 1st year and end of each school year
  • School Tours
  • Student Council: Enhances student voice and promotes a sense of involvement in the development of the school and a sense of partnership between students and teachers
  • Reflection days for each year group
  • Mentoring Programme for incoming 1st year
  • Healthy eating Policy that includes the “Lunchbox” canteen and Breakfast Club.
  • Prizegiving: Gives students a sense of achievement and confidence.
  • Study: Evening study is available to all students.
  • Media: Either digital or print formats highlight student and community achievement and progress
  • Study seminars: Study skill seminars are organised annually to support and enhance student attainment/wellbeing
  • Parents Council: Fundraises, organises events, assists policy development in order to sustain and enhance wellbeing in the school community
  • Exchange Programmes: Germany/France: allows students to develop their self-confidence and develop their coping skills, independence and self-awareness.

Extra-curricular Activities

Teachers in Our Lady’s College feel passionate about the holistic development of our students and in particular the mental health of our students. They willingly give up their time on a voluntary basis to organise a wide range of extra-curricular activities and events specific to positive mental health which develops student wellbeing on a whole school level.

  • Sports – Gaelic, camogie, basketball, soccer, tag rugby, athletics, running, badminton, swimming, dance
  • Music:  choir, orchestra,
  • Other: Craft club, Gaelbhratach, debating, mock trials, chess
  • Positive Mental Health Week: A week long programme of interactive events for all year groups combined with talks for all year groups, positivity is clearly visible throughout the school.
  • Headstrong: This committee actively promotes Positive Mental Health by having an activity for the whole school on a monthly basis.
  • Badminton Marathon Fundraiser
  • Games Club