5 great Hertfordshire schools helping pupils with stress

PUBLISHED: 12:41 21 May 2018 | UPDATED: 09:40 24 May 2018

What are these Herts schools doing to help with students' mental health? (photo: Getty Images)

What are these Herts schools doing to help with students' mental health? (photo: Getty Images)

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Mental health is extremely important for students. How are schools helping pupils deal with the stresses of education and just growing up?

Abbot’s Hill School

Bunkers Lane, Hemel Hempstead HP3 8RP

Founded: 1912

Girls/boys: Girls four-16, co-ed day nursery and pre-school from six months

Pupils: 510

Boarding/day: Day

At Abbot’s Hill, we believe that in order to achieve academic success, we also need to focus on a child’s personal development and wellbeing.

Nursery children have a key worker who plans for the development of our youngest children. In the prep school, class teachers spend a large part of the school week with pupils, developing and nurturing their education and their pastoral needs. The younger they are, the more time is spent with their class.

Each pupil in the senior school has a form tutor that they can seek advice from and they are supported by experienced heads of year. Where a greater degree of support is needed, we have employed Signpost counselling service to support pupils who may need regular intervention for a particular need.

The sense of being part of an extended family, coupled with the care and dedication of the staff, means that children are provided with an environment in which individuality and relationships are nurtured. Our pupils are known and supported, not only by their teachers, but by the whole community.

Abbot's HillAbbot's Hill


Westbrook Hay Prep School

London Road, Hemel Hempstead HP1 2RF

Founded: 1892

Girls/boys: Both

Age: Three-13

Pupils: 330

Boarding/day: Day

At Westbrook Hay the physical and mental wellbeing of our pupils is of paramount importance. It is at the heart of our ethos and central to our provision. We pride ourselves on being an inclusive, caring, family-oriented school, nurturing a deep sense of community, based on personal wellbeing, openness and positive relationships.

There is a strong sense of belonging, in a school where diversity is accepted and there are high levels of involvement in school life. This includes sporting and academic achievement and participation in the school council, charities committees and peer support, where pupils can share their skills and give back to the community.

Pupils are taught to be mutually respectful, to work through problems and to make the right choices in life. They are guided in regulation of behaviour where there is no tolerance of bullying.

The consistency in expectations, structure and routine, provides stability, together with our excellent parent partnership, where the single goal is for our pupils to achieve happiness, confidence and success, which is fundamental to their emotional wellbeing.

Westbrook Hay Prep SchoolWestbrook Hay Prep School


Princess Helena College

Preston nr Hitchin SG4 7RT

Founded: 1820

Girls/boys: Girls

Age: 11-18

Pupils: 185

Boarding/day: Both

Happy, confident, emotionally balanced girls are best able to achieve and exceed their goals. At Princess Helena College girls develop resilience, positivity, self-belief and a sense of empowerment, all of which are key to emotional wellness. This year, to embed this still further into the ethos at PHC, we have introduced an innovative new programme of learning and coaching, tailored to the needs of girls within each key stage.

The impact of the programme has been both rapid and impressive. For example, after learning how to develop a positive outlook, girls in Year 8 already feel they have better relationships with their peers and are able to resolve issues amicably. Meanwhile, the focus in the sixth form has been on building confidence and willpower, resulting in the girls taking up new challenges and reporting feeling better prepared to tackle difficult decisions in the future. And following much discussion on healthy bodies and the impact this has on emotional wellbeing, more water has been drunk and a lot more fruit and veg eaten!

Princess Helena (photo: Graham Flack)Princess Helena (photo: Graham Flack)


St Columba’s College

King Harry Lane, St Albans AL3 4AW

Founded: 1939

Pupils: 840

Ages: Four-18

Boarding/day: Day

Girls/boys: Boys

St Columba’s College places a huge emphasis on the emotional wellbeing of all students, and achieves this through working in close partnership with parents and having a strong pastoral care system in place at the school. We encourage open discussion, involvement in the wider curriculum and a shared sense of moral values, which are promoted through religious education classes, assemblies and service opportunities, as part of our bespoke student formation programme. In addition, dedicated time is given to the pastoral programme, in which topics such as mental health, bullying and online safety are addressed.

The Columban virtues of compassion, courage and courtesy underpin our school ethos and regular activities enable the students to develop emotionally and build resilience.

Knowing the students and meeting their individual needs is a key part of promoting positive emotional wellbeing. We have a full-time counsellor who supports students with specific emotional needs. The house structure at St Columba’s allows staff to develop strong working relationships with the boys and their families, providing support and enabling them to flourish.

St Columba'sSt Columba's


Lockers Park

Lockers Park Lane, Hemel Hempstead HP1 1TL

Founded: 1874

Pupils: 175

Ages: Four-13

Boarding/day: Boarding, flexi-boarding and day

Girls/boys: Co-ed pre-prep (four-seven), Boys prep (seven-13)

At Lockers Park we work to support pupils’ emotional growth just as much as their academic prowess. All pupils, whether day or boarding, are made to feel part of a secure family-oriented structure. Boys have the freedom to be boys at Lockers Park and we pride ourselves on treating pupils as individuals – building independent thinkers and self-confidence along the way.

Working closely with the school’s excellent counsellor and outside agencies, we are able to work proactively, listening and offering guidance should a pupil ever feel anxious or uncomfortable.

At Lockers Park, children are encouraged to learn a musical instrument, to try their hand at acting or chess and participate in the varied sporting activities on offer. We believe that these opportunities foster healthy habits – teaching children to apply themselves as well as an appreciation of working towards goals. They also serve as an outlet for expression and as relaxation tools.

Our ultimate goal is to equip boys with the relevant skills and knowledge for them to become well-rounded, emotionally intelligent and happy men imbued with the right values.

Lockers ParkLockers Park

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