A top-performing school near Selby has come out on top for student wellbeing at a prestigious awards ceremony earlier this week, as they’re praised for their methods in keeping its pupils safe.
The health and wellbeing of young people has been a prominent topic during the Coronavirus pandemic; multiple lockdowns have caused many to feel isolated and disconnected from friends and life as they know it. This is no different at Queen Margaret’s School for Girls in Escrick.
Due to most students living on campus at the school, the pandemic was an extra challenge for many - as well as others moving home and becoming isolated from their friends and classmates.
Despite the rigorous challenges connected to the last 18 months, Queen Margaret’s identified the impact of this early on in the pandemic and has now been rewarded by being named as Independent School of the Year for Student Wellbeing 2021.
The Independent Schools of The Year Awards has 24 categories; delivering and supporting student excellence lies at the heart of each award. Over 700 entries were received this year in total, with the judging panel describing the Student Wellbeing Award as "perhaps one of the most important areas of school life over the past 18 months".
The prestigious award recognises the way the school has handled the wellbeing of its pupils during the Covid pandemic; from personalised timetables to dedicated time away from screens.
During an inconsistent year of lockdowns in 2020 and homeschooling, student wellbeing was more paramount than ever before. Queen Margaret’s rose to this challenge to protect its students – creating a fully supported, seamless online learning resource while pupils were learning from home. Wellbeing was the main focus for this school’s remote learning support platform, aptly named: QM Connect.
The school also implemented the ‘Five Ways to Positive Wellbeing’ initiative – a national strategy that is supported by many mental health charities. Lockdown was a difficult period for everyone and so the core topic during morning tutorials was positive wellbeing. The ‘Five Ways to Positive Wellbeing’ scheme gave tutors a structure in which to support the girls in following a healthy lifestyle.
Celebrating the success of the school and receiving the award, headteacher of Queen Margaret’s, Sue Baillie, has highlighted the strength that both students and staff have shown during the pandemic, despite the “endless challenges” involved with this time.
She said: “I am immensely proud of both the staff and our girls for fostering our award-winning culture of wellbeing.”
The Independent Schools of the Year Awards was launched in 2018 and aims to highlight the quality of the student experience in independent schools.
Over the last 18 months, students at the school have become isolated but Queen Margaret’s has devised projects to make them feel safe and secure while learning. (21-10-05 SU)