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Merseyside Schools are big winners at national awards


3 prizes have gone to Schools in Merseyside at the Tes Schools Awards,1 of the biggest nights in the UK education calendar which was held on Friday, 17 June 2022.

Jack Turner from Everton Free School won the Teaching Assistant of the Year Award, while the whole School won Specialist Provision School of the Year. Meanwhile Maricourt Catholic High School in Maghull won the Pupil Mental Health Initiative of the Year award.

Everton Free School is an extension of the charitable arm of Everton Football Club, based in1 of the most deprived areas of the UK. The alternative provision serves young people aged 13 to 16 who are either at risk of exclusion or have been permanently excluded, offering them the opportunity to improve their life chances and, in the words of the School's late patron Sir Ken Robinson:- "find their element."

Teaching assistant and musician Jack Turner embodies that attitude, having worked at the School for more than7 years, bringing what his employers describe as "Jack magic" to the young people there through his musical skill and all-round creativity. He has repeatedly been able to connect with some of the most disengaged students to help them develop their self esteem and confidence.

Jack Turner, from Everton Free School said:- "This award will mean the world to me and the School. We're all made up! My advice to any aspiring teaching assistant is to throw yourself into it and get out of your comfort zone."

Everton Free School won the Specialist Provision School of the Year award, partly due to recent exam successes. The School achieved well above expected progress in all core subjects for all year groups compared with the rest of Liverpool and England. Meanwhile their GCSE pass rate of 88% compares very favourably with 57.7% for other AP providers in England and 34.4% within Liverpool.

Judge Vijita Patel said:- "There's a very, very strong philosophy that is distinctive about this School; they've taken that and made it a golden thread across the provision. They're very focused on pupils' sense of self, their identity and their aspirations, and they do this with a curriculum model that's very explicit about making sure pupils have a lesson each week that is in the community, being part of the community."

Claire Lamontagne, Head of Everton Free School said:- "This is so timely; we're just about to celebrate 10 years as a free School. We're absolutely delighted to win this award: we've made a huge team effort."

Maricourt Catholic High School won the Pupil Mental Health Initiative of the Year award, thanks to work that has gone on for a number of years.

During Pandemic recovery, the School focused on resilience training, conducting a whole School survey to identify the key cohorts of students, before providing training to 400 young people across all year groups. They also teamed up with Everton in the Community to introduce a 20 hour self esteem and personal development programme for 60 Year 8 and 9 students, who were most impacted by the Pandemic and were finding it harder to bounce back.

The School has recognised that this work needs to continue, which has led to a whole School:- 'Call it Out' programme and the recruitment of wellbeing champions. These champions have recently launched their own podcast, taken part in a national respect campaign and teamed up with a coaching company to extend the wellbeing resources.

Judge Dr Tara Porter said:- "This was a really strong submission, with wellbeing front and centre at the School, with wellbeing interventions starting in Year 7 and continuing all through School life."

Danielle Lawler, Assistant HeadTeacher of Maricourt Catholic High School said:- "This award is a testament to all the work that everyone has put in for the students, both pre and post Covid. The students and staff have all contributed to this success."

Chief judge of the Tes Schools Awards and Editor of Tes magazine Jon Severs said:- "The Tes Schools Awards are the Oscars of education, recognising and celebrating everything that's great about our Schools and School staff. We had so many entries from Teachers and Schools across the country; choosing the winners was no easy task. Congratulations to the winning Schools and thank you to all School staff who do such vital work every day."

The Tes Schools Awards were held at the Grosvenor Hotel, on London's Park Lane. They were held in person for the 1st time in 3 years, after 2 virtual ceremonies.

For the full list of winners of the Tes Schools Awards, visit:- TES.Com.

Construction bosses urged to take employee mental health more seriously

AS part of its Building Minds campaign, health and safety expert Citation, is urging bosses in the construction industry to take employee mental health more seriously as the mental health crisis in the sector continues to worsen.

The construction sector has some of the worst rates of mental health than any other sector in the UK, with men in the industry 3 times more likely to die from suicide than the average male.

In an industry notorious for its poor mental health rates, research carried out by Citation has found that 72% of firms in the sector admitted to having no dedicated policy for providing mental health support.

Despite manager mental health training being 1 of the most effective ways of reducing employee mental health struggles, the research also highlighted more than 70% of managers in the sector are unsure of what support they can offer struggling staff members.

Whilst having trained managers can help to manage existing mental health problems in the industry, a statement that more than 80% of construction bosses agree with, Citation also believes more needs to be done to change the culture around mental health in construction.

The health and safety expert's research found that employers believe the reasons for these high rates of mental health problems are due to the perceived stigma around talking about mental health. The research shows that 78% of construction employers believe staff are uncomfortable speaking about mental health, with 77% stating their staff avoid talking about it as they think it shows:- 'weakness.'

These shocking figures show that employers need to work harder to foster a more empathetic culture and create an environment where employees feel comfortable speaking up if they're struggling.

As well as the perceived stigma around mental health, industry bosses agree that there are other contributing factors to the poor rates including:- stress from general life (64%) and from working long hours (52%).

It's the employer's responsibility to create an environment where staff can speak about their mental struggles, and although the majority of bosses don't currently provide mental health training, more than 82% agree that more training and support is needed.

Lee Mills, Service Director, at Citation said:- "There is a lot of work that needs to be done by employers in the construction industry. The dire rates of mental health issues in the sector can't continue, and the most effective way of tackling these is through training. Not only does training equip managers with the tools to support struggling employees, it also gives them more confidence in talking about the topic, which in turn, filters down to the wider workforce, helping to lessen the perceived stigma around it. Our research really highlights how serious the perceived stigma in the industry is, and it's time that bosses step up to try and do something about it."

As part of the Building Minds campaign, Citation has teamed up with the construction industry's longest established trade body, The National Federation of Builders (NFB) to find a solution on how to address the perceived stigma around mental health.

Danny Clake, commercial director at The NFB, said:- "The gendered nature of construction presents a key concern when attempting to tackle the high suicide rates. Males who are employed in male dominated occupations have been found to be less likely to seek help from a mental health professional. Primarily, men tend to be in full time employment, with greater job strain and demands, and lower job control. Long working hours, high psychological demands, and work-family imbalance have all presented as significant factors for mental health concerns in men, which are combined with a culture of silence between men around discussing mental health. Promoting mental health initiatives in the workplace gets a conversation going, opening the floor for men to feel validated, which may be the difference between them seeking help versus staying silent."

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