Wellbeing Programme

Wellbeing in the Curriculum

Wellbeing and Social Personal Health Education (SPHE) at Sutton Park aim to develop students’ positive sense of themselves and their physical, social, emotional and spiritual health and wellbeing. It aims to build each student’s capacity to develop and maintain healthy relationships. Through studying many diverse aspects of Wellbeing and SPHE, students focus on developing critical social and emotional skills (SEL) including self-management, communication, coping strategies and problem-solving. Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE) is an integral part of SPHE and Wellbeing at both Junior and Senior Cycle. RSE at Sutton Park aims to provide a context within which students can learn about the physical, social, emotional and moral issues related to relationships, sexual health, sexuality, sexual orientation and gender identity, including where to source reliable information. Staff ensure that learning in Wellbeing & SPHE is inclusive and cognisant of the particular needs of different groups of students such as newcomers to Ireland, students with additional educational needs, students in the LGBTQ+ community, and students experiencing specific personal challenges or difficulties.

Whole School Approach to Wellbeing

There is a whole school approach to wellbeing at Sutton Park. This is reflected in the school’s mission statement and guiding principles and is a cornerstone of practice across all teaching disciplines and in all areas of school life. Learning for and about wellbeing is facilitated for four target groups: students; staff; leadership; parents/guardians.

One Good School

Sutton Park is partnered with the leading national youth mental health charity Jigsaw, as part of its One Good School (OGS) programme. Sutton Park recognises that fostering healthy relationships among peers, school staff and parents is critical to a young person’s overall experience of school and to their social, emotional and cognitive development. The school recognises that supporting the mental health and wellbeing of students is a responsibility shared by the whole school community. The OGS partnership allows Sutton Park to fulfil its obligations in terms of wellbeing practice in the school as set out in the Irish Government’s ‘Wellbeing Policy Statement & Framework for Practice 2018-2023’. This guidance document highlights the critical links between cognitive and emotional development. It identifies schools as important settings for preparing children and young people to develop wellbeing and positive mental health, where emotional wellbeing is in fact an educational outcome, in and of itself.

Pieta Amber Flag

Sutton Park School has achieved the Pieta Amber Flag award annually since 2017, in recognition of ongoing promotion of positive mental health and wellbeing for students in particular and for the school community as a whole.

LGBTQ+ Quality Mark

Sutton Park is partnered with the leading LGBTQ+ support charity BeLonG To and is participating in the LGBTQ+ Quality Mark programme to work towards achieving a Quality Mark accreditation in the 2022/23 academic year in recognition of Sutton Park School being a safe, supportive and welcoming environment for all members of the LGBTQ+ community.

Cross-Curricular Wellbeing Initiatives

Learning for and about wellbeing is not restricted to formal curriculum-based / classroom-based learning. Information and resources to support student wellbeing and staff/parent wellbeing are shared and updated regularly via the Student Wellbeing Wall and SPS Wellbeing Wall respectively. A series of Awareness Weeks and Days are an annual part of the school calendar and provide opportunities for cross-curricular activities to promote wellbeing for the whole school community and they include:

Bullying Awareness Week

To promote awareness of the different types of bullying, its effects, the roles of bystanders and to facilitate learning about the different causes and appropriate responses to bullying should it occur.

Culture Awareness Week

To promote awareness of the variety of different cultures and traditions across the globe and instill in our students an awareness of their responsibilities as global citizens.

Stand Up Awareness Week

To allow LGBTQ+ students and their allies and peers to take a stand against homophobic, transphobic and biphobic bullying and to nurture respect for difference and diversity.

Safer Internet Day

To collaborate as a school community to work towards making the internet a better and safer place for all and to promote both digital citizenship and resilience in line with the school’s Code of Conduct and AUP.

Mental Health Awareness Week

To increase awareness of the importance of looking after one’s mental health, to share knowledge of the different types of mental illness, to promote help seeking behaviours when in need of support, to foster open conversations about mental health and thereby work to reduce stigma around it.

Climate Awareness Week

To promote learning about climate change and foster environmentally sustainable habits both in school and in the community.

Student Voice

There are various student-led groups through which student voice, agency and leadership are facilitated, including the Student Wellbeing Committee (for the promotion of positive mental health and wellbeing), Student Councils (for the day-to-day running of both Junior & Senior schools), Rainbow Alliance (for LGBTQ+ allyship and support) and Green Schools Committee (for the promotion of environmentally sustainable practices to benefit the local, national and global environments).

Student leadership is a foundation upon which these groups operate, and this is further nurtured by the school’s involvement in the LiFT Ireland Schools Programme . Several staff are trained as LIFT facilitators. All students involved in student councils, student committees and in other general positions of leadership in the school receive the latest leadership training (based on key leadership values such as listening skills, positivity, empathy, confidence and understanding) to enable them to lead and mentor their peers.