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Abu Dhabi school first to achieve mental health award outside of UK

An Abu Dhabi school has become the first international school to be awarded the Silver standard for its outstanding mental health and wellbeing provision by based Leeds Beckett University.

mental health tiles

The British School Al Khubairat provides a wide range of activities to boost the wellbeing of pupils and staff and has used the framework to develop their whole school strategies, policies and practices.

The school has introduced a counselling service and has also embedded a range of preventative measures and activities. The School is also developing a wellbeing group for staff and is working with parents more to develop practice.

The British School Al Khubairat also has networks with other schools to share good practice through the Abu Dhabi School Counselling Network.

The school also works collaboratively with Maudsley Child and Adolescent International to achieve the best possible outcomes for children and young people with mental health problems.

In recognition of their efforts, the school has achieved the Silver standard when applying for the School Mental Health Award, presented by the Carnegie Centre of Excellence for Mental Health in Schools – part of Leeds Beckett University.

Mark Leppard MBE, head teacher of The British School Al Khubairat, said: “I am extremely proud of this achievement as it highlights the focus the School has had on this important issue.

“In order to get the very best outcomes for the student we have to look at them holistically and this includes their well-being and mental health.

“When the school embarked on this journey we recognised that this area needed a real team approach. It is this team approach, coordinated and driven by our school counsellor Priya Mitchell, that has led to us being recognised.

“As well as addressing the topic in an open environment, we have introduced a school governor specifically tasked to oversee this area from a governance perspective so that it is discussed at the very top of the organisation.

“We have also started initiatives such as ‘lunch and talk’ for staff where staff are encouraged to take a break and chat with colleagues about anything but work. The feedback from this was extremely positive.”

The award was established in 2017 by the Carnegie Centre of Excellence for Mental Health in Schools and social enterprise Minds Ahead.

The Carnegie Centre of Excellence for Mental Health in Schools aims to strengthen pupils’ mental health by supporting schools to make a positive change at all levels of the UK's education system, improving students’ outcomes and life chances.

Professor Damien Page, Dean of Leeds Beckett’s Carnegie School of Education, said: “Achieving this award is not just recognition of a whole-school approach to mental health, it’s a recognition of the school’s commitment to improving the life chances of children.

“We’re truly proud to have worked with British School Al Khubairat in this vital work and look forward to further collaboration.”

Nationally, more than 500 UK schools have signed up to take part in the mental health award.

Dean Johnstone, founder and CEO of Minds Ahead said: “This award shines a light on the excellent work schools are doing to promote mental health for their community of children and adults.

“It is thrilling and humbling to learn about British School Al Khubairat and the many other schools engaged in the quality award process. I’d like to offer my congratulations on this deserved recognition.”

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