Taunton School is amongst the most outstanding institutions in the independent sector which has been recognised in the shortlist for the 2019 Tes Independent School Awards.
The School has made the shortlist of the coveted Awards for its Wellbeing Initiative.
Tes editor Ann Mroz said: “Independent education in this country is truly world class. It’s one of our great success stories. And those shortlisted for the Tes Independent School Awards are the crème de la crème.
“We received a record number of entries this year and the standard is the highest yet, so to be shortlisted is an extraordinary achievement for any school.”
Tes recognised the School as worthy of being shortlisted after reading about the story behind the wellbeing initiative. Several years ago, Taunton School identified a need to improve the mental health and wellbeing provision for its students. Ed Burnett, Deputy Head and Student Wellbeing Lead said “Just looking at the referrals into the counselling team made you realise that very few boys were seeking help and worse, they were at pains to keep their counselling private and hidden from their peer group and House staff.” After considered planning, the School appointed a Mental Health Nurse and an additional counsellor, a new health centre which was open ’24-7’, and an agreement that counselling would be free for all pupils. The formation of a safety team to meet once a week joined things up creating teams around children, ensuring that House staff were put at the heart of the day-to-day care for their pupils. Running alongside all this is a Wellbeing programme for all the School staff, and all Senior School teachers have now completed the one day Youth Mental Health First Aid course. By January all Prep School teachers will also complete this course, making them one of the first Prep Schools in the Country to have done this. Ed Burnett added: “We are proud to call ourselves a ‘Talking School’ and the numbers of boys and girls now accessing counselling are 50/50.”
Headmaster Lee Glaser commented: “To be recognised for our Wellbeing Initiative is extremely rewarding, as it is something which is so important in the culture at Taunton School, and especially from such a well-respected industry organisation such as Tes.”
Other initiatives around wellbeing at the School include a student-led Mental Health Society, who meet to highlight key issues affecting students and deliver talks and assemblies to their peers, and staff wellbeing forums, where members are supported in their mental and physical health. Recently, students were also invited to contribute a student charter, which included a key point around looking after their mental and physical health.
Taunton School is justly proud of its whole school approach to wellbeing. Staff are trained and supported and understand that their wellbeing is key to caring for students’ mental health.
The winners of the Tes Independent School Awards will be revealed at a gala awards evening at the Grosvenor House Hotel, Park Lane, London on Friday 1 February 2019.