Independent School Parent
Wellbeing QUEEN MARGARET’S
Multi-faceted initiatives, flexible timetables and bespoke pastoral programmes ensured that pupils around the globe stayed connected during the pandemic
Queen Margaret’s (QM) is a day, flexi and full boarding school for girls aged 11 to 18. We’ve adapted our offering to fully support seamless online learning during the pandemic. From the start of lockdown, the school was committed to ensuring that student wellbeing and mental health support wouldn’t be compromised, and indeed, it continued to grow from strength to strength.
The challenge for QM was ‘how do we grow our wellbeing support when our girls are scattered across the globe’? QM chose to take a multidimensional approach to wellbeing in lockdown, this allowed the school to acknowledge the individual circumstances of every girl. Wellbeing has been both a starting point and the thread which has run through the school’s remote learning support platform – QM Connect.
• Five Ways to Wellbeing initiative: Throughout the first lockdown, QM launched the #fivewaystopositivewellbeing initiative. This is a national strategy that’s supported by many mental health charities. During an extremely difficult period, it provided structure and guidance for girls about how to keep themselves healthy.
• Wellbeing focus for tutorials: A critical driver in every tutorial during lockdown was discussion about positive wellbeing. The Five Ways to Wellbeing initiative gave tutors a structure in which to check the girls were following a healthy lifestyle.
• Adjusted timetable: QM takes great care in ensuring wellbeing and learning are fully integrated. As such, during the lockdown period, QM adjusted the timetable to ensure that girls had time away from the screen.
FROM THE START OF LOCKDOWN, THE SCHOOL was committed to ensuring that student wellbeing AND MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT WOULDN’T BE COMPROMISED
During lockdown one, academic lessons finished at noon for KS3 students and 2pm for KS4 and 5 students. This enabled the afternoons to be spent on enrichment activities, with families and outdoors if possible.
During lockdown three, academic lessons finished early at 4.30pm and there was no Saturday school.
• Community corner: A virtual space on the school’s VLE gave girls a place to connect and have fun.
• Wellbeing-focused enrichment: QM developed its enrichment programme throughout the remote learning period, which included many activities continuing online, such as dance and music lessons. In addition, an extraordinarily wide range of enrichment classes were delivered that focused on the girls having time away from the screen and having fun.
• Deputy Head Girl (Wellbeing):
The last academic year saw the first appointment of a Deputy Head Girl (Wellbeing), a great way of giving status to the school’s position on student health.
• Wellbeing Champions: QM introduced a new Wellbeing Champions initiative, designed to encourage girls to come forward and apply to become one of 10 new Wellbeing Champions, responsible for taking the lead in positive mental health. In order to become a Wellbeing Champion the girls completed six weeks of training, virtually, every week and worked their way through a range of units. This included ‘The role of the Wellbeing Champion,’ ‘safeguarding’ and ‘active listening skills’. queenmargarets.com