The establishment of Student Services at IGBIS is in line with the schools mission of ensuring that they receive a holistic approach to both their academic growth and general well-being. A phrase often used to describe this practice, is to say we are addressing both sides of the same coin.
Meaningful care goes beyond providing the essential elements of an activity and sports programme that engages students outside of the classroom. A sub plot of this umbrella programme is to create opportunities for teachers and students to interact in a range of environments. This interaction helps to build connections and understandings that foster mutual respect. This is part of a community approach to wellbeing which was celebrated in fantastic fashion, at International day.
The holistic approach to supporting young people has been driven by research and literature. As described by Dr. Debra Koss, a child psychiatrist in Sparta, N.J, who has been treating children for more than 20 years. She states, “The hurly-burly of modern life plays a part. I believe that both teenagers and families face more external pressure and stress today than they did years ago. Part of that’s from the explosion in technology, especially in the proliferation in phone, computer and TV screens, which eat up an estimated five to seven hours of the average child’s day. That time spent inert in front of a screen is time not spent socializing, or playing sports, or getting out into the world, all of which contribute to healthy emotional development”.
Student Services follows a team approach for general well-being in the school community and specifically for students of concern. Home room teachers are at the very beginning of the support process and are a feature across the school. In Secondary there are weekly meetings where concerns and celebrations are discussed. The Counsellors, learning and language support work together to form strategies to assist individuals and groups.
The great positives as we look to next academic year are a consolidation of student services and better defined processes and procedures for across the school. In Secondary we have 10 minutes of homeroom time as a daily check in and an eighty minute block once a week for welfare and pastoral needs. These are the schdeuled times of focus for addressing the emotional and social needs of students through positive interventions.
A way forward can be to establish a culture of mindfulness and wellbeing. It is essential that this is a partnership between teachers, students, parents which is intrinsically embedded into the core values and beliefs of IGBIS.
Mr. Peter Fowles,
Head of Student Services