Dear parents,

We know that lots of our families, staff and pupils may be struggling with the strange times that we continue to find ourselves in. While we are all finding different ways to cope, we want you to know that school is ready to support our amazing pupils with any emotional upheaval they may experience along the way.

Many of you will know me already, most recently from Ash Class, and I’m excited to introduce myself as the new lead for Pupil Wellbeing. I will be working with pupils across the school focusing on emotional health and wellbeing. This will include implementing Thrive and Changing Lives, some details of which are outlined here.

This will form part of our whole-school approach to supporting the emotional development of our young people and will work alongside other approaches already being used in school, including art activities, horticulture, forest schools, musical activities and more.

I look forward to updating you on our progress in the months to come!

Best wishes,

Changing Lives Service – Mental Health Support Teams (MHST)

What is the Changing Lives Service?

Changing Lives is a new NHS-led organisation, designed to work within schools promoting and improving the well-being and mental health of young people. The Mental Health Support Team (MHST) is split across four ‘centres of excellence’ across Derbyshire. Each MHST offers support/advice to an identified network of schools and colleges, each supporting a population of approximately 8,000 children and young people.

The service is for children/young people aged between 0-17 (over 18 and up to 25 years if the young person has SEND).

The main aims of the service are:

• To support the mental health lead in each education setting to introduce or develop their whole school approach.

• To deliver evidence-based interventions for children and young people with mild to moderate mental health conditions.

• To give timely advice to school staff, liaising with external services, to help children and young people to get the right help and stay in education.

• To provide information, training and support for parents/carers as part of a whole school approach.

These are some of the problems the MHST can help you with:

• Low mood
• Transitions
• Anxiety
• Managing stress at school
• Simple phobias
• Loneliness
• Sleep problems
• Bullying
• Panic attacks
• Loss
• Behavioural and emotional problems
• Worry

If you would like to know more about this Service, please visit the Changing Lives website: or speak to Lynne Radlett, Pupil Wellbeing.

The Thrive Approach at Alfreton Park Community Special School

What is Thrive?

Thrive is an approach which uses advances in neuroscience to help us to understand how we develop socially and emotionally from birth through to adulthood. Thrive provides targeted interventions to help support and enhance our pupils’ emotional and social wellbeing.

Here at Alfreton Park, we feel that by embedding the Thrive Approach we are supporting the development of happy, confident children who are more self-assured and therefore ready and open to learning.

Who gets Thrive?

Unfortunately, like all of us at some point in our lives, children and young adults may face challenges that knock them off course. Pupils may need some extra support with their emotional growth and this may be temporary, or over a longer period of time.

Thrive supports pupils by building positive relationships between a child or young person and their peers, and helps them to explore and understand their feelings through various activities.

These are play and arts-based activities designed to help the child feel better about themselves; become more resilient and resourceful; form trusting, rewarding relationships; be compassionate and empathetic; and be able to overcome difficulties and setbacks. They might include playing in the sand tray, painting, model making, exploring difficult situations through role-play or comic strips, playing strategy games, or projects focusing on the child’s own interests – all dependent on the needs of the individual child.

The Thrive Room

We have created an inviting, safe, and relaxing environment in our Thrive room where 1:1 and small group activities can take place, away from the classroom, and many pupils have started to benefit from Thrive sessions with positive and successful outcomes.

If you want to know more about Thrive, do visit the Thrive Approach website or speak to Lynne Radlett, our licensed Thrive Practitioner.