St Bon's in Forest Gate gets gold for 'vital' mental health work

st bons mental health award

Michelle Roddy (left) with headteacher Chris McCormack and two students with the certificate from the Carnegie Centre of Excellence for Mental Health in Schools. - Credit: St Bonaventure's

A school in Forest Gate has scooped an award for its work supporting good mental health.

St Bonaventure’s in Boleyn Road was awarded a gold standard school mental health award by the Carnegie Centre of Excellence for Mental Health in Schools.

Headteacher Christopher McCormack said: "I am extremely proud our work has been recognised.

"Now, more than ever before, we need to have positive and proactive strategies in place to be able to support the young people in our care as well as our staff.

"Achieving this gold standard is testament to the work that is being carried out in St Bonaventure’s to help promote positive wellbeing and remove the stigma surrounding mental health issues."

Among its work, the secondary runs wellbeing sessions, awareness-raising assemblies and staff support.

St Bon’s also works with organisations including Headstart, Brentwood Catholic Children’s Society and the Anna Freud Centre. 

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The school's mental health lead Michelle Roddy said St Bon's has worked closely with Imperial College’s Open Minds, which is a student-led organisation providing workshops on mental health.

"We also celebrate our school community through initiatives such as International Women’s Day and Community Appreciation Days which enable pupils to recognise the importance of gratitude and its positive impact on their wellbeing and feelings," she added.

The award was established in 2017 by the centre - which is part of Leeds Beckett University - and the social enterprise Minds Ahead.

Professor Damien Page, dean of Leeds Beckett’s Carnegie School of Education, said: "Achieving this award is not just recognition of a whole-school approach to mental health, it’s a recognition of the school’s commitment to improving the life chances of children.

“We’re truly proud to have worked with St Bonaventure’s in this vital work and look forward to further collaboration."

More than 1,000 schools have signed up to take part in the mental health award.

Dean Johnstone, founder and chief executive of Minds Ahead, said: “I’d like to offer my congratulations on this deserved recognition."