The Caldicott Listeners

21 January 2020

 

Caldicott is constantly working to improve and evolve the mental health and wellbeing programme for both boys and staff at school. With this in mind, the school has recently launched a new initiative in conjunction with Bucks Mind called the Caldicott Listeners.

With the introduction of the Quiet Room, regular PSHEE lessons, mindfulness sessions and open discussions about mental health, the school can see a real change across the community. The Listener programme adds another layer to what the school already has in place and aims to enhance the provision on offer. It will empower boys with the opportunity to make a difference and create a safe space for boys to talk to each other about something they may not want to talk about with an adult.

Last term, Caldicott was selected by Bucks Mind to host a Peer Listening Programme. 11 boys in Year 7 and 8 were selected to take part. They attended a day-long training course followed by meetings with their school mentors and had feedback sessions with a representative from Bucks Mind. The training included mental health awareness and what the key aspects of their role would be, such as their responsibilities, communication and listening skills as well as safeguarding aspects.

The introduction of this facility for the boys means that there is another support system in place which they can use throughout their Caldicott career. The boys will be encouraged to speak to the Listeners when they have a worry (small or large) or if they just need to get something off their chests.

The Listeners scheme was launched at the beginning of the Spring Term and the boys are already proving to be dedicated practitioners and helping those who need to talk with patience and understanding. They are to be congratulated for doing an excellent job, which is a highly regarded and sought-after position within the school.

Caldicott boys have been known to act as listeners in the past but on a more informal basis. Elliott N (Year 8) received the highly coveted Rock Award in the Autumn Term for his dedication to pupil wellbeing and many more are acting as wellbeing ambassadors behind the scenes daily.

Head of PSHEE, Noeleen Corrigan said, ‘I am so proud of how well the boys took to the training and how they are going about helping their peers at school, whether they are listening to boys in the Lower School or a Senior Prefect. We meet most weeks to discuss progress and changes and it has really opened a new channel of discussion with the pupil body being so much more relaxed and open in discussing their worries and concerns than they have been before. The boys are regularly situated in the Quiet Room during break times, which has become a fantastic resource for the wellbeing of every child at Caldicott as a place to sit, reflect and talk to others.’

Posters have been placed around the school so all boys know who they can talk to and where to find them. The Listeners also wear badges so they are easily identifiable.

Comments from boys:

  • Luca – ‘We have the skills required to listen carefully and understand when someone is in danger or simply how to help someone feel better.’
  • Aron – ‘Everyone needs to talk to a friend, family member or teacher at some point. However, there are occasions where you simply want to talk to someone your own age and that is what we are here for.’
  • Ben – ‘What is said in our chats is confidential, unless we feel you are in danger. You should feel comfortable approaching us or sitting with us. That is what we are here for!’

 

The Caldicott Listeners with their certificates

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