Aureus School is among only six secondary schools in the whole country to be awarded the Gold status of the Carnegie Centre of Excellence Mental Health Award for Schools.
“We are absolutely delighted to be awarded Gold Status - it is a rare honour and reflects the importance everyone at Aureus School places on promoting and protecting the mental wealth of everyone within the school community,” said Executive Head Teacher Hannah Wilson.
The Didcot school has the motto ‘Nurturing Hearts and Minds’ and recently opened a dedicated safe space for students to use as a safe space to explore their feelings. The Nurture Room allows them to take time out and, if it’s deemed necessary, they can also use the school’s sensory room to watch an aquarium or sit under a weighted blanket.
“Our nurture room allows our students to self-refer and is just one of many tools we utilise to ensure our students have the very best on offer in terms of support across all areas of their education - we call it our Inner Curriculum offer,” she added.
A member of the multi-academy GLF Trust, Aureus School opened its doors in September 2017 and from the very start has been offering holistic care allowing pupils to grow, learn and flourish. Every pupil has half-an-hour of mindful art, reading, science or movement each morning, ahead of lessons. Aureus School are also the host for The Didcot Art Room which is run by a national charity to bring art therapy into schools.
The school’s deputy head teacher Julie Hunter is trained in mental health first aid, mindfulness and the science of happiness.
“A brain in pain cannot access learning and actually a student needs to be ready to learn,” she told a conference for school leaders in Birmingham last month.
Students at Aureus School, a Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths (STEAM) specialist academy also nurtures each of its students so that all can thrive and become confident, articulate and aspirational global citizens.
The Carnegie Centre of Excellence is part of Leeds Beckett University and makes gold, silver and bronze awards to schools signed-up to its programme.
It is designed to “strengthen the mental health of the next generation by supporting schools to make a positive change at all levels of the UK’s education system and each award status lasts for three years”.
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