Happiness 2018-05-24T10:53:01+00:00

Spotlight on …

The importance of happiness and well-being at Bradford Grammar School told through the voices of parents, pupils, teachers and staff.

To understand the true benefits of being open about well-being and mental health in schools, you have to hear it through the voices of pupils, parents, teachers and staff.

This is why Bradford Grammar School (BGS) has launched ‘Spotlight on Happiness’, an online public video resource tailored for children, young people and adults to learn about well-being in school and why it’s so important.

Future in mind: Promoting, protecting and improving our children and young people’s mental health and well-being.

In tandem with the government’s pledge of £1.25 billion to improve children and young people’s mental health services, the Department of Health and NHS England published ‘Future in mind’, with a proposal to encourage schools to continue to develop ‘whole school approaches’ to promoting emotional well-being and mental health.

‘Spotlight on Happiness’ focusses on this ‘whole school approach’ and features an in-depth look across ‘Well-being and Mental Health’, ‘Creativity and the Arts’, ‘Community Outreach and Enrichment’, ‘Sport and Healthy Living’ and ‘Personalised Teaching’.

‘We are acutely aware that members of the public, young people, parents and teachers all have important stories to tell about happiness and well-being in School, and in their everyday lives. We want to play our part by sharing our voices, through this public resource, to benefit everyone, not just the few, and to help raise awareness within our local community, Yorkshire and nationwide.’

BGS Headmaster Simon Hinchliffe

It would be a hallmark of our progress if by 2020 we could truly say that England is leading the world in improving the outcomes for children and young people with mental health problems.

Future in Mind

Our team of form tutors, Heads of Year, school nurses, counsellors and Learning Support Department work together to promote our pupils’ happiness and progress as happiness is the key to academic excellence, which is why we prioritise the well-being and mental health of all our pupils.

Well-being and Mental Health

PUPIL’S PERSPECTIVE

‘I’m more confident in myself because if something did happen to me then I know that there would be people at BGS to talk to me and listen.’

PARENT’S PERSPECTIVE

‘BGS are on top of mental health issues and I think the support that pupils get from the school is incredibly balanced.’

STAFF PERSPECTIVE

‘Good mental health is paramount and I’m really glad that this school is putting it at the fore. If you see somebody smiling in the corridor it becomes contagious, and walking around BGS people see that.’

New figures from NHS data in June show that nearly a quarter of a million children and young people were in contact with mental health services for problems such as anxiety, depression and eating disorders – highlighting the scale of the growing crisis in young people’s mental health.

We believe that outstanding pastoral support contributes to the happiness of BGS pupils, creating a positive, friendly atmosphere for all. We work closely with parents to ensure each child receives the best possible care and well-being during their time at BGS.

Our team of form tutors, Heads of Year, school nurses, counsellors and Learning Support Department work together to promote our pupils’ happiness and progress as happiness is the key to academic excellence, which is why we prioritise the well-being and mental health of all our pupils.

Read our Well-being and mental health information booklet to access useful links and resources for parents and pupils.

Creativity and the Arts

The arts may be under threat nationally but they are thriving at BGS where subjects including Drama, Music and Art provide a superb platform for fostering creativity where learning is an active process.

PUPIL’S PERSPECTIVE

‘It makes you more creative and opens up a different side to you, where you learn to express how you feel.’

PARENT’S PERSPECTIVE

‘You come to BGS and you are blown away by the creativity. You think are these the children we speak to on a regular basis because they produce such fantastic work!’

STAFF PERSPECTIVE

‘I think a lot of people would forget, if you clicked your fingers, what would disappear without an art background, interest or industry, and I think it would be quite a bare world.’

A report by campaign group the Cultural Learning Alliance, describing itself as a “call to arms” says there has been a decline in the number of children in England taking arts subjects, a reduction in arts teaching hours and fewer arts teachers employed in schools.

A generation of young people will be “intellectually poorer, emotionally more limited, and socially more isolated” unless they are allowed access to a full range of arts and culture. The report offers compelling evidence that taking part in structured arts activities increases cognitive abilities and can boost long-term happiness.

The arts may be under threat nationally but they are thriving at BGS where subjects including Drama, Music and Art provide a superb platform for fostering creativity where learning is an active process.

We believe that we have a role in supporting our local community including charities and associated organisations, bringing communities together and helping to provide spaces for conversation.

Community Outreach and Enrichment

PUPIL’S PERSPECTIVE

‘Volunteering our time really teaches us to balance school life with the wider community and encourages us to do this for this for the rest of our lives.’

PARENT’S PERSPECTIVE

‘The fact that the school gets involved with the wider community really benefits my child and boosts their confidence and well-being.’

STAFF PERSPECTIVE

‘It’s important to us that our pupils engage with the community, to meet people from different backgrounds and learn about compassion and service.’

With recent European and World events our local communities may have a heightened sense of uncertainty and change. We believe that we have a role in supporting our local community (including charities and associated organisations), bringing communities together and helping to provide spaces for conversation.

Our aim is to promote an understanding that by giving to others, we ultimately enrich our own lives. We actively encourage pupils to see themselves not just as a part of the BGS family, but the wider Yorkshire community.

This may be as simple as BGS pupil volunteers mentoring vulnerable children in Special schools with communication and interaction, to providing free tickets for other schools to events such as leading author visits and providing a venue for local community groups.

Sport and Healthy Living

Exercise and happiness go hand in hand; we believe everyone should have the opportunity to seek out a sport they enjoy, regardless of their ability. We inspire students to engage in sport, while giving rising stars the chance to compete on a national and global stage, following in the footsteps of Olympic medal-winning alumni.

PUPIL’S PERSPECTIVE

‘When I’ve finished school it would be great to represent my country in cross country running and try to make people in Britain proud.’

PARENT’S PERSPECTIVE

‘If you haven’t got a child that’s great at sport that’s fine as they always have a chance to get involved and the facilities are absolutely fantastic.’

STAFF PERSPECTIVE

‘When pupils represent the school they meet all different children from others schools, which reinforces the teamwork ethos, to support each other and build strong friendships.’

Researchers from the London School of Economics found that by playing sport in a team participants not only gain the health benefits of exercise, but can boost long-term happiness. Exercise and happiness go hand in hand; we believe everyone should have the opportunity to seek out a sport they enjoy, regardless of their ability.

We inspire students to engage in sport, while giving rising stars the chance to compete on a national and global stage, following in the footsteps of Olympic medal-winning alumni. Sport plays a major part in the curricular and extracurricular life at BGS and is considered an important part of our educational philosophy for the development of the whole individual.

We cater for boys and girls at all levels in a wide variety of sports and encourage a healthy and active lifestyle so that sport becomes central to the school experience.

Our tailored approach enhances progress, achievement and participation based on pupils needs, interests and abilities where we encourage active commitment from pupils, responsiveness from teachers and engagement from parents.

Personalised Teaching

PUPIL’S PERSPECTIVE

‘The teachers are more than willing to give up their personal time to help us excel even further, and this is what gives BGS such specialised teaching.’

PARENT’S PERSPECTIVE

‘The most important thing for my daughter at school is having great relationships with her teachers. She used to hide behind me and now she sings in front of hundreds of people.’

STAFF PERSPECTIVE

‘Everyone wants to be told you’ve done that really well, you’ve made great progress and I’m really pleased with you – and the pride in their faces is marvellous.’

At BGS we prefer to keep class sizes relatively small even though the evidence base indicates that it is the quality of classroom instruction and not the number of pupils in any given class that has the most significant influence on learning and educational outcome.

Yet, these relatively small class sizes, we feel, allow us to foster strong, supportive relationships between pupils and staff. We are able spend more time with each pupil allowing teachers to get to know their personal strengths, weaknesses and learning styles. This strong bond between our teachers and pupils’ fosters care and attention, based on trust and mutual respect.

This tailored approach enhances progress, achievement and participation based on pupils needs, interests and abilities where we encourage active commitment from pupils, responsiveness from teachers and engagement from parents.

Charities and Associated Organisations

Mary's Meals
The Ilkley Literature Festival
The Bradford Review
Barnardo's
World Wildlife Fund
St Gemma's Hospice
NSPCC
Harmless
Bradford Museums & Galleries
Anthony Nolan
Water Aid
City of Bradford MDC
The Prince's Trust
Festival Publications
Bradford Curry Project
Samaritans
Youth Sport Trust
No Panic
Marie Curie
Charlie Waller Memorial Trust
Beating Eating Disorders
Anxiety UK
Relate Bradford
Rethink Mental Illness
MacMillan
CLIC Sargent
Action for Happiness
Teenage Cancer Trust
Independent Schools Council
JCI Bradford
Jeremy Thomas
Change.org
OCD Action
Time to Change
HMC

We are extremely grateful to our associated charities and organisations for supporting the Bradford Grammar School Happiness campaign.