CBS – the US TV network – visited the Lower School on Monday to film a news item on the growth of mindfulness in schools. Epsom College has been selected as an example of best practice, and the film crew observed three sessions involving our Lower School pupils, led by Mr Ed Lance and Miss Sarah Cockayne.
CBS producer, Patrick Jacques, explains: “There has been an explosion in the popularity of mindfulness and relaxation techniques within schools in recent years. The UK is one of the leaders, with the US lagging a little behind. There is a slight suspicion that in some schools teachers are just getting their ideas from websites, and not necessarily following practices or techniques that are proven to work.”
In response to these concerns, the Anna Freud Centre – one of the UK’s leading children’s mental health charities – has undertaken the world’s first scientific study examining the long-term benefits of mindfulness techniques. They are creating an evidence base of what works and highlighting best practice for all schools to follow.
Epsom has been held up as an exemplar of what works best for children.
Mr Lance, Head of Lower School, said “The Epsom College Lower School pupils have benefitted greatly from their daily Mindfulness exercises during form time and it was excellent to share their habits with the team from CBS. The training and resources available from the Anna Freud Centre really are second to none and the students enjoy being ‘in the moment’ each and every morning.”
The news item will be broadcast across the US in April, during CBS’s flagship This Morning show. It will then be aired around the world via CBS’s website, social media platforms and streaming services.
Mindfulness at Epsom
Mindfulness was introduced to Epsom five years ago as part of the PSHE curriculum under the guidance of Director of Wellbeing (now Assistant Head: Pupil Welfare) Helen Keevil. It is now practiced throughout the school and plays an important part of every pupil’s education.
“The current Upper Sixth were my guinea pigs as Year 9 pupils when I stepped into the role of Director of Wellbeing, implementing pockets of mindfulness in the PSHE curriculum. They’ve experimented with the practice and flourished as a balanced, hard-working, high achieving year group,” Mrs Keevil explains.
“The Anna Freud opportunity, which we were selected for, presented the perfect controlled setting with measurable outcomes involving both pupils and staff. We are so fortunate to be taking part. Finding space to reflect openly and honestly in a low threat, safe classroom atmosphere has been so beneficial for our junior pupils. It’s been a privilege to observe them and their teachers. We’ve certainly witnessed a positive impact thus far on academic performance and behaviour.”