26th September 2019 — The Beacon School in Amersham were celebrated for their strong ethos of kindness and focus on wellbeing and mental health at the IAPS National Conference for Head Teachers this week.
Their Headmaster, Will Phelps, whose key school rules are: ‘’Be Kind. Be Kind. Be Kind,’’ spoke in detail about the School’s Wellbeing Journals, which have replaced their traditional homework diaries.
The Wellbeing Journal is a diary-style planner in which a structured wellbeing programme is gradually introduced throughout the year and space is provided for weekly activities and reflection based on the school’s core values of Respect, Wellbeing, Achievement, Courage and Integrity.
Each week boys in their tutor groups discuss and take part in activities that reinforce the week’s theme. The recent theme of gratitude prompted the boys to write in their journal three things each day for which they were grateful. Examples ranged from being grateful for having central heating (following a boiler breakdown) to being grateful for the chance to see a beloved grandparent one last time before they passed away.
Other activities in the journal include practising mindfulness and recording the results of the experience, tracking how much time spent in physical activity for a week and comparing it with how much time spent in front of a screen, what it means to adopt a growth mindset and what the benefits are of both positive and negative emotions.
The journal is bookended at the beginning and end with a short wellbeing survey, so the boys can compare their scores at the start and end of the year to see if anything has changed as a result of the wellbeing activities.
“I firmly believe kindness can be taught and that schools need to embody a mindful intention to help children with the up and downs of normal life,” says The Beacon’s Headmaster, Will Phelps.