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Children’s Mental Health Week – My Voice Matters

This week has been Children’s Mental Health Week and the theme is, ‘My Voice Matters’. Student voice refers to the collective opinions, ideas, and preferences of students within an educational environment.

When children feel heard and valued, they develop a sense of belonging and empowerment, which is essential for their overall wellbeing. Nurturing student voice in schools can lead to a myriad of positive outcomes, ranging from improved self-esteem to a greater sense of community and support.

One of the primary benefits of nurturing student voice is the promotion of self-expression and emotional intelligence. By encouraging children to share their thoughts and feelings in a safe and supportive environment, we empower them to develop strong communication skills and a positive relationship with their own emotions. This, in turn, contributes to the development of essential coping mechanisms and resilience, which are crucial components of good mental health.

At Pilgrims’, we encourage our pupils to have their say in a number of ways. The School Council and Boarding Council are spaces where are our boys are able to make suggestions regarding what they would like to see implemented at school. This allows them to feel a sense of ownership over what happens at school, and allows them to feel heard in terms of what they would like to see change. This fosters a positive school culture where children feel that their contributions are valued and that they can influence positive change. This empowerment creates a sense of purpose and fulfilment, which are key factors in promoting positive mental wellbeing.

Nurturing student voice also creates opportunities for meaningful connections and relationships between the boys, teachers and the broader school community. When our boys feel that their perspectives are respected and taken into account, they are more likely to engage in collaborative activities, form supportive peer relationships, and develop trust in their teachers and those who coach them. These relationships form a strong foundation for emotional support and social connectedness, which are essential for cultivating a positive school environment.

Our boys are able to enjoy a wide range of activities here at school, which allow them to express themselves. Art, music and drama are key forms of self-expression where our boys are able to learn through the creative process, and give voice to their thoughts and emotions. The link between creative expression and wellbeing is well documented, and those who have creative outlets are often able to process their experiences and how they feel about them more effectively.

As we celebrate Children's Mental Health Week, let us appreciate the critical role of nurturing student voice in schools. By actively fostering an environment where young voices are valued and respected, we can make a lasting impact on the mental health and wellbeing of our children. Empowered and heard pupils are more likely to thrive emotionally, academically, and socially, ultimately creating a brighter and more inclusive future for our school communities.

Craig Cuyler
Director of Wellbeing/Head of PSHEe/
Deputy DSL/ Assistant Housemaster


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