Mental Health:

"Mental health is a state of mental well-being that enables people to cope with the stresses of life, realise their abilities, learn well and work well, and contribute to their community. It is an integral component of health and well-being that underpins our individual and collective abilities to make decisions, build relationships and shape the world we live in. Mental health is a basic human right. And it is crucial to personal, community and socio-economic development." World Health Organisation 

The Rackham C of E Primary School is committed to providing a nurturing school environment for our pupils where they are immersed in protective factors so enabling them to build resilience and hope.

This commitment enables the children in our care to progress towards 'being the best they can possibly be' by enabling them to develop the necessary individual social and emotional skills and attributes as well as positive social interactions through quality education.

The Rackham C of E Primary School is an advocate of the Cambridgeshire Therapeutic Thinking (CTT) approach to behaviour management and has a trained Senior Mental Health Lead who works closely with the Senior Leadership Team, Safeguarding Team, Pastoral Lead and SENDCO to implement our school's strategic plan.

Our strategic plan sets out how we have identified the necessary steps to ensure we offer an emotionally secure environment in school through continued development of positive mental health. In turn this enables our pupils to cope with life's challenges, handle stress, build positive relationships and recover from setback empowering them to progress closer to being the best they can possibly be.


Emotional Literacy:

The impact of lockdown has affected the development of our children's emotional literacy.

At The Rackham, we are actively supporting our children to recognise their emotions, utilising a traffic light system. Every adult, and acting on the suggestion of one of our Wellbeing Ambassadors, also each of our pupils (from September 2023), has their own red, orange and green discs available to wear on lanyards to support identifying how they are feeling. Children are given time to move from red to green before discussions about behavioural responses to heightened emotions are discussed.

As well as identifying how our children are feeling and identifying the reasons for this through discussion, we are actively identifying ways for our pupils to return to a green or regulated state.

To support this element of education about emotional literacy, the FWR (Friends of Witchford Rackham) have purchased My Happy Mind Home - myHappymind, an NHS backed online programme that supports wellbeing for children, their parents and teachers.

Every family and adult in school has access to the My Happy Mind platform for free. This platform provides lessons, meditation, strategies to help regulate and maintain a green state of wellbeing as well as education about why we become heightened through Team H-A-P.

We introduce Team H-A-P using the following explanation:

There are three key parts of their brain; the Hippocampus, Amygdala and Prefrontal Cortex.

We call them Team H-A-P for short

  • Hippocampus - is like a scrap book storing our memories and things that we learn
  • Amygdala - is there to react to keep us safe when there is danger. It cannot assess danger though, it can only react if it senses it by fighting, freezing or flighting!
  • Prefrontal cortex - Helps us to make decisions, understand different perspectives, solve problems, analyse and make choices

We can be at our best when Team H-A-P are working together

When we feel stressed or worried, Team H-A-P cannot work well together and our Amygdala will take over and cause us to react (without thinking) rather than respond (assessing our actions before we take them). This happens because our oxygen supply goes straight to the Amygdala, which shuts down the Prefrontal cortex and Hippocampus, and the functions that they help us to perform.

Though utilising the Cambridgeshire Therapeutic Thinking (CTT) to behaviour, plus our traffic light system to identify our emotions and My Happy Mind to educate and help our children understand why they feel how they feel, we are offering support for our children to develop positive emotional wellbeing.

Case study proving the positive impact of NHS approved My Happy Mind in a school


At The Rackham we have a devoted Pastoral Team; availability for our pupils to work with our ELSA Lead and have purchased My Happy Mind for children and parents to support their wellbeing and mental health.

At The Rackham, we believe it is vital that our curriculum includes lessons on how to understand and look after mental health, in the same way we learn how to look after our physical health. By shifting the focus to support aimed to prevent mental health problems and building resilience, we can do so much to improve the lives of so many. Positive wellbeing throughout a pupil's school career has a huge impact on their adult life outcomes.  

Our Pastoral Care

The Rackham offers a nurturing approach that encourages students to develop a positive sense of their own self worth so promoting emotional wellbeing. As a school we help our pupils to build courage and resilience required to realise their full potential.

In daily school life, we foster a strong moral and spiritual framework based on our Christian values a key element of being a Church School. This in turn supports our students to explore, understand and manage the challenges of today’s society.

Our Family Partnership Lead:

  • Family Engagement
  • Family Liaison 
  • ELSA (Emotional Literacy Support Assistant) trained professional 

Ms. Smith is our Family Partnership Lead and supports with engagement; Family Liaison and is an ELSA trained professional.

Ms Smith is available to meet with parents to discuss concerns or difficulties they may be experiencing with their children at home and their relationship with school.

Please contact the school office in the first instance to arrange a time to speak with our Pastoral Team.

Pastoral Leaflet

ELSA (Emotional Literacy Support Assistant)

An ELSA (Emotional Literacy Support Assistant) is a member of Staff who is trained to support children in the development of their emotional literacy.

What is emotional literacy?

  • Understanding and coping with the feelings about ourselves and others
  • Developing high self-esteem and positive interactions with others
  • Being emotionally literate helps children focus better on their learning

Some of the areas the ELSA may work on:

  • Recognising emotions
  • Self-esteem
  • Social skills
  • Friendship skills
  • Anger management
  • Loss and bereavement

How does the ELSA work?

  • A regular slot during the school week of around 30 minutes
  • Sessions may be on a one off basis
  • Sessions can be individual or in small groups and are tailored to the child's individual needs
  • Sessions are fun and might include role play, board games, arts and crafts and stories
  • They include time to talk
  • A pupils progress will be reviewed

As a parent/carer how can you help?

  • By informing the class teacher if there are any issues that may effect your child
  • Please feel free to contact your child's teacher or ELSA if you have any questions


Family Support from External Agencies

Emily Norman is our Early Intervention Family Worker.

Emily is available for advice on the following:

  • Managing and dealing with Difficult or Challenging Behaviour
  • Establishing routines
  • Raising self-esteem
  • Increasing confidence
  • Improving family relationships

Emily can help with:

  • Signposting to other agencies for advice such as Housing, Benefits or Employment Parenting Courses

Please contact the school office if you feel that you or your child may benefit from these services.

Useful Leaflets


Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) and Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead (DDSL)

The Rackham C of E (VC) Primary School is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children. The Rackham expects all staff and volunteers to share this commitment.

All staff and volunteers will be subject to an enhanced DBS check.

Our DSL and DDSLs are:

Safeguarding Team

Miss G Turner

Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL)

Ms L Smith

Deputy DSL

Mrs A Lowes

Deputy DSL

Mrs E Senior

Safeguarding Governor

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