Loreto Secondary School Letterkenny has always placed a strong emphasis on the wellbeing of the school community. The introduction of a formal wellbeing programme will now complement the support structures already in place to support wellbeing.
The Wellbeing-Guidelines-for-Junior-Cycle identify four key aspects of wellbeing within the school setting:
1. Curriculum: This aspect refers to the subjects we provide and how we cater for wellbeing in the curriculum.
2. Policy and Planning: This aspect refers to how we as a school endeavour to look after the wellbeing of the school community. Simply put, through policies, planning and school self-evaluation, we should make decisions with due regard to the wellbeing of our students and staff.
3. Relationships: Strong relationships amongst all members of the school community form the backbone of a positive working environment. As a school, we endeavour to make sure that all interactions between students and staff are positive and affirming.
4. Culture: Culture refers to our ethos, mission statement and the prevailing atmosphere in our school. We strive to make sure our school is a happy place to study and work.
Six indicators of wellbeing have also been identified. They are:
- Active: Being physically active is an important element in staying well.
- Responsible: Each person must take responsibility for their own choices and make decisions, which promote their own wellbeing and the wellbeing of others.
- Connected: It is important, for our wellbeing, to be connected to other people and to interact with others in a positive way. We should also appreciate the implications of our actions for those around us and further afield.
- Resilient: Everyone goes through challenges in their life. By building resilience, we hope to give our students the skills to cope with difficult situations.
- Respected: Feeling respected, listened to and cared for are key aspects of feeling well. Positive, respectful relationships are also central to maintaining our wellbeing.
- Aware: To stay well, we need to be aware of our thoughts, our emotions and our limitations. We should also be aware of those around us, conscious of how our actions might affect their wellbeing.
In Loreto Secondary School Letterkenny, the following procedures are in place to support wellbeing:
- Class Tutor: Each junior base class has a dedicated class tutor. This teacher takes a particular interest in the welfare of the students’ in his or her class.
- Year Head: Each Year group apart from Transition Years have been assigned a Year Head. Year Heads monitor the students in their year group, ensuring that they are supported throughout their time in the school. Year Heads will also monitor attendance within the year group, contacting home where necessary. Year Heads will work closely with Class Teachers to ensure the wellbeing of the students in their care.
- Guidance Counsellors: Ms. Mulhern and Ms. Crowe deliver timetabled guidance classes to senior cycle students. Furthermore, they are also available to meet students on an individual basis, should the need arise.
- Student Support Team: The student support Team meet regularly to discuss individual cases of concern. This group is made up of the Principal, Deputy Principals, Guidance Counsellors, Year Heads and the Learning Support team.
- Child Protection: New child protection procedures came into effect from December 2017. As a result, the school has prepared a comprehensive Student Safeguarding Statement. More detailed information on child protection can be found on our website, under the ‘Policies’ tab.
- SEN Team: The SEN team coordinate the learning support timetable and liaise with parents of those children with additional needs.
- Friends for Life: As part of our “Wellbeing” provision, all our first years take part in the “My Friends Youth Programme” during SPHE. This is a NEPS supported, evidence based programme which helps young people build emotional resilience and self-esteem.
- Peer Pals: Following an interview process, Transition Year students are appointed as Peer Pals. They support, encourage and help first year students throughout their initial year in the school.
In addition to the procedures outlined above, the school organises a number of events each year, aimed at the wellbeing of our school community. These events are organised by various subject departments and teachers over the course of the year.
The school will endeavour to provide as many co and extracurricular activities as possible, thereby giving our students the opportunity to enhance their wellbeing outside of the classroom. Students from all year groups are encouraged to get involved in the numerous extracurricular activities available in the school.