How Gateways Supports Pupils’ Mental Health

Research shows that 20% of adolescents may experience a mental health problem in any given year and with the increased worries caused by Covid-19, it is more important than ever to ensure that the right support is available for children in these challenging times.

At Gateways, we have always had a strong support system in place, and we want to make sure that everyone who needs some extra support knows where they can find it. These are some of the main types of support we provide:

Strong pastoral care system

At Gateways, we have a huge emphasis on providing the highest level of pastoral care to our pupils. With smaller class sizes and a lower teacher to student ratio than most schools, we can spend more time with individuals to discuss any concerns they may have and to identify and work on solutions to problems. Several staff members are highly experienced in supporting children with mental health issues of all kinds, with a number of staff having mental health first aid qualifications. Our school Nurse is also a confidential listener and extended this service to parents during lockdown.

Through our smaller class sizes, pupils can build closer relationships with school staff, which means that they should feel more comfortable talking to people at Gateways about any worries they have or any challenges they are facing.

We also have a vertically integrated house system which encourages interaction amongst year groups and offer a house mentor system.

Staff relationships with parents

At Gateways, we are always happy to have conversations with parents about any aspect of their child’s education, or any worries about their child’s mental health. The more we talk to each other, the better we can work together to find the best solutions for our pupils.

Teaching children mental health skills

For many people, management of their mental health will be required throughout life and not just a one-off occurrence. This is why we teach children about mental health and the different ways that they can manage their own mental health. Mental health awareness is covered in our PSHE curriculum, we use the MindMate resources in High School to deliver Mental Health Awareness and use the subject of drama to also address mental health awareness. Assemblies and visiting theatre groups have been used in High School particularly around wider Meantl Health Awareness campaigns such as ‘time to change’. These larger national campaigns usually have themes which we then tailor the assembly around.

We think it is really important to equip children with the knowledge and skills at school age so that they know how to help themselves and understand the signs to look for, so they can talk to the right people when they need to.

Wide range of extra-curricular activities

Having passions and interests such as playing musical instruments and sports can be fundamental in enjoying a happier life and is key to managing stress. Exercise is scientifically proven to boost mental wellbeing, whilst being part of a club can also build children’s confidence and bring other useful qualities and skills.

At Gateways, we have a huge range of different extra-curricular activities including fun games like Ultimate Frisbee, karate and tennis clubs. We offer an art club, a debate society and musical/performance opportunities such as singing in the choir and playing in the orchestra amongst others.

We offer a range of extra-curricular activities that appeal to every pupil and their individual interests, which is vital in their development and to discover ways of managing mental health as children, so they are prepared as they grow into adults.

If you would like to talk to us about any mental health concerns you have regarding your child or want to find out more about our support system, please email us at