Epsom College has been awarded ‘Gold Status’ for its outstanding whole-school approach to the mental health and wellbeing of its pupils, staff and wider community.
The Mental Health in School Award was established in 2017 by the Carnegie Centre of Excellence for Mental Health in Schools – part of Leeds Beckett University – and social enterprise Minds Ahead.
Schools are assessed against eight key criteria, with inspectors looking for examples of evidence-based approaches that align to the latest professional guidance surrounding mental health. Judges award Bronze, Silver or Gold awards accordingly.
To achieve Gold Status, schools must demonstrate that they not only have the proper structures, strategy and support in place to care for the mental health and wellbeing of their own community, but that they are also sharing knowledge, resources and best practice nationally, and internationally, with other school and external agencies.
“With an ethos of serve, share, and care, Epsom College provides a holistic personal approach to supporting mental health and wellbeing in their community and beyond,” said Tracy Shand, at the Carnegie Centre of Excellence for Mental Health in Schools.
Over 1,000 schools have signed up to the award, with Epsom College one of just four UK boarding schools to achieve Gold Status.
“Epsom College demonstrated they are excelling in all the Mental Health Award competencies,” said Tracy, “with particular attention to the opportunities to lead and share their knowledge and experience both locally and globally.”
Judges celebrated the support Epsom provides for local schools, as well as its sister school in Malaysia, while also praising the strong national partnerships in place with Royal Springboard, the Boarding Schools Association and the Anna Freud Centre.
They were also quick to praise the leadership and empowerment of Epsom’s pupils, saying “students clearly feel listened to and empowered. In fact, youth empowerment in mental health is a key theme at Epsom. For example, Sixth Form students being trained as national ambassadors for the Mee Too app providing peer-to-peer support.”
Dr Steve Burton, Interim 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 and engaging with the wider community including staff and parents/carers.
“We’re truly proud to have worked with Epsom College in this vital work and look forward to further collaboration.”
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 Epsom College and the many other schools engaged in the quality award process. I’d like to offer my congratulations on this deserved recognition.”