Flourishing and Wellbeing at Wycombe Abbey
27 June 2022 - All
This week parents joined Miss Blunt (Head of Wellbeing), Mrs Fawkes (Director of Safeguarding and Pupil Welfare) and me for the last in this year’s ‘Parenting the Teenager’ seminars focussing on the importance of teaching pupils about wellbeing, safeguarding and relationship and sex education (RSE). These have been important parts of the Wycombe Abbey curriculum for a long time and their centrality has only grown in recent years with the publication of new government guidance on RSE and a society that is more attuned to how vital this information is for young people. Here I would like to unpack a little more about how these topics are part of School life both inside and outside of the curriculum.
At Wycombe Abbey, all pupils in UIII to LV have timetabled Wellbeing lessons each week. Making this a core part of the taught curriculum not only demonstrates to pupils the importance that we give these topics but also allows us to plan an informative and interesting programme for them. Having these regular lessons throughout their first years at School allows Miss Blunt to tailor her lessons in an age-appropriate manner and for pupils to build their knowledge and understanding of important topics over time. Structuring the provision in this way also gives pupils the opportunity to develop their own relationship with the Wellbeing provision in School giving them the confidence to ask questions and to fully engage with the material that they study.
The importance of pupils being confident in their understanding of how healthy relationships work and their own personal development is essential for their futures. Dedicated lessons ensure that pupils are taught by a trained professional who focusses on wellbeing, RSE and PSHE. As pupils progress through the School the provision for them is supplemented by a range of excellent external speakers, such as Natasha Devon and Aric Sigman. Pupils attend an array of talks on topics such as body image, substance abuse, LGBTQI+ relationships and menopause. For our Clarence (UVI) pupils, we also recognise that it is vital to help prepare them for life outside of Wycombe Abbey. This year has seen the successful introduction of a consent workshop, led by Miss Blunt. Here pupils are reminded of some of the important information that they were previously taught but also have the opportunity to consider this information in preparation for university and the wider world.
Another core facet of our Wellbeing provision at School is a focus on positive psychology. Whilst we recognise the importance of delivering PSHE and RSE information to the highest standard, we also want pupils to develop a mindset that will allow them to flourish. The School’s Flourishing@Wycombe programme works alongside Wellbeing lessons encouraging them to focus on how they can truly live their best lives. Pupils are educated about the importance of discovering their character strengths and how to use them, the problem of negative thinking traps and how these can be avoided, as well as how they can inculcate optimism and positive thinking into their approach to everyday life and any challenges that they face. We would encourage families to think about how they can be part of this journey with their daughters by reading the Flourishing@Wycombe guidebooks that are sent to pupils and parents, listening to the Flourishing@Wycombe podcasts and discussing ways in which we can all develop the skills we need to make the most of the wonderful opportunities that a Wycombe Abbey education provides.
Deputy Head (Pupils)
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