Sam Eustace - Westerton Primary Academy
As an Emotional Health and Wellbeing (EHWB) Leader at Westerton Primary Academy it is my role to support and promote mental health provision within school and the wider community of Westerton. Working alongside the SENCO, Learning Mentor and Emotional Literacy Support Assistant (ELSA), we seek to develop a strong and focussed mental health provision in school for children and families.
Emotional Health and Wellbeing Leader
My role spans the whole academic year, including holiday work, as a result I am able use my time to engage families as well as individual children. I make home visits and community trips with parents/carers and can attend out of term meetings as needed. It is important for Families to feel connected to School, in order to best access the support. Being available to support a family out of term time, at their own home, goes a long way in cultivating a strong relationship.
My ethos in school is to build a strong toolbox of support that we can call upon to work with a child, however works best for them. This child and family centred approach has led to the creation of termly Emotional Literacy groups, Adoption/Looked After and Kinship Parent/Carer Support Groups, Parent Workshops and more recently an exciting opportunity for out-of-area School Partnership work and the chance to join the Pioneering Schools Programme.
Alongside the proactive support in place at Westerton the role still has a heavy reactive side to it. Daily incidents take up a large proportion of staff time but the silver lining to this is that I get lots of opportunity to train staff in de-escalation and behaviour management. The more practice our staff get at it, the slicker it becomes and the greater the positive impact on our children. People learn through repeated experience, when that repeated experience is of a positive regard for the health and wellbeing of our students, it leads to a happy and healthy School.
As the EHWB Leader I am often seen as the one to ask about complex and emotionally charged issues. Whilst I do not always have the answers and we don’t always get it right the first time, it is important that staff feel they can approach me and challenge me about anything we are doing. Healthy discussion and challenge is important to me, to help foster lasting positive relationships across school. The role is demanding, but I wouldn’t have it any other way! The entire team here at Westerton play their part in making the role of Emotional Health and Wellbeing Leader work.