A WIGAN secondary school has proved it is top of the class when it comes to tackling mental health issues after scooping a prestigious award.
Hawkley Hall High School became only the second of the borough’s secondary schools to be awarded the highest gold level of the Wigan School Mental Health Standards.
The prize, given out by Wigan Council, means the Carr Lane school has successfully met all nine criteria ensuring mental health issues are tackled successfully whenever they arise in school and pupils are taught about the conditions in the classroom as part of the curriculum.
Hawkley Hall High School already met six of the criteria to scoop the silver and bronze prizes before inspectors decided it had also successfully met the final three requirements to gain the gold award.
Assistant headteacher Chris Bolton said: “This is a recognition of how far we have come and it’s absolutely wonderful to get the gold award.
“We are a community school which is not just about exam results but about developing the whole child as an individual.
“We can’t get better than a gold award and it means we provide a service for our pupils which is not only about teaching and learning but about ensuring their progression through school is as easy as possible.”
Inspectors on the final visit to Hawkley Hall checked the school’s interviews with parents and pupils and saw how they have been involved in writing the school’s new mental health policy.
The judges also looked at the school’s record keeping and how Hawkley Hall tracks the progress of young people who present to staff with mental health issues.
The six criteria the school had already met included effective leadership and management, changes to the curriculum, the school’s culture ensuring pupils are able to discuss problems with teachers and giving children a voice.
Mr Bolton said the school is particularly pleased with the way pupils are able to get involved with staff appointments, a new lesson for year seven pupils and new planners which allow pupils to write about their moods and feelings as well as providing a homework diary.
He also said the school’s recent successes build on the ethos established over the past seven or eight years through the Hawkley Way initiative.
Mr Bolton said: “We’ve developed our own scheme of work called the Hawkley Lesson which is looking really good and the planners now have areas for parents to help at home.
“We’ve also been particularly successful at giving pupils a voice. We have a leadership group which is made up of young people from all five year groups. They organise activities and charity events and other pupils can go to them.
“We have fantastic relationships between pupils and teachers, the staff are very approachable.
“We sat down a few years ago and decided what children from this community required, and our whole ethos is based on that.”