The Sandwell Wellbeing Charter Mark was developed in response to a strong evidence base. In accordance with the SEND Code of Practice (DfE, 2014), it explores social, emotional, and mental health holistically through a whole-school approach. The Charter Mark criteria was informed by the Public Health England (2015) publication (recently updated in 2021) which identifies 8 principles that are important in promoting emotional health and well-being within the school environment. These include: Leadership, pupil voice, staff development, identifying needs and monitoring impact, working with parents and carers, targeted support, ethos and environment, and curriculum, teaching and learning.
The aim of the Charter Mark is to recognise a school’s commitment towards improving the Social, Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH) of its pupils and staff. It is comprised of an audit of the SEMH provisions that are already in place within the school and an action plan to help address any gaps. The audit consists of: ‘hard’ data collection (i.e., absence data, sickness levels etc.), staff, parent, and pupil online questionnaires, and parent and pupil focus groups. The questions asked within the survey and focus groups are informed by the ‘Ten Element Map of Mental Health’ (MacDonald & O’Hara, 1998) which states that mental health and well-being is the product of the balance between promoting and demoting factors in 5 areas; Environmental Quality, Social Participation, Emotional Processing, Self-Esteem and Self-Management.
Following on from the charter mark audit (which is carried out by an assistant psychologist from Catalyst under supervision from a senior educational psychologist), members of the Catalyst team and the school senior leadership team (SLT) sit together to comprise an action plan, targeting areas of improvement and development as identified by the audit. The school are then given 6 months to implement the action plan, and a mid-review meeting is carried out to measure progress. After these 6 months, the assistant psychologist will return to the school to collect a second round of data. Once this data has been analysed by the assistant psychologist, a report will be written, a final review meeting will be held where findings can be fed back, and it will be decided whether the school is awarded the Charter Mark through discussions with SLT.
We have worked with and awarded the Charter Mark, currently, to three primary schools in Manchester and are in the process of collecting data with other schools.
Example of a plaque awarded to a school upon completion of the Sandwell Charter Mark programme.
Sandwell Wellbeing Charter Mark being awarded to Acacias Community Primary School
Catalyst are quality assured mental health training providers registered with the Department for Education (DfE). Schools can apply to take part in the Sandwell Charter Mark process with Catalyst and can apply for partial funding from the DfE.
If you have any questions regarding the Sandwell Wellbeing Charter Mark, please contact Dr Paula Muir, Senior Educational Psychologist, directly on:
Email: [email protected]