12 June 2020

Birkenhead Sixth Form College has been nationally recognised for its implementation of programmes to successfully help young people’s mental health and emotional wellbeing.

The Sixth Form College Association, which celebrates and showcases outstanding practice in the ages 16-19 sector, named the College as a finalist for their Health and Wellbeing Award alongside just two other institutions, and the winners will be announced during an online ceremony on the 18th June presented by Chair of the Education Select Committee, Robert Halfon MP.

The award particularly recognises the role of the College’s Designated Mental Health Lead, tutor Jen Foden, and the work that she has done to develop the Student Mental Health Support Model – a triaging system which determines where students can access support for mental health concerns and what level of support is required.

Jen is qualified as a trainer in Mental Health First Aid, and as such has been training the Student Development team to best support students’ emotional wellbeing and mental health so that the most serious concerns are escalated, while they are equipped to offer lower scale support to maximise the efficiency of the programme and of the College as a whole.

Jen has also developed strong relationships with local organisations and providers to enable to College to refer students for further professional interventions and therapies.

Vice Principal at the College and Safeguarding Leader, Paula Blakemore, said: “Jen has made an exceptional contribution to the wellbeing, emotional health and engagement of students in her role as the Designated Mental Health Lead. Both the triaging programme and her training of staff, and of our Student Ambassador team, has already proven invaluable to the individuals that have benefited from the extra support and network of help that Jen has enabled us to offer.”

Paula continued: “This is not a therapeutic programme; we are educators first and foremost, but what this does is create an environment that levels the playing field for those who may suffer from a range of issues, and focuses on the core College value of resilience which is integral to the College culture, as well as maximising the chances of successful outcomes and a successful future for the students involved.

“We are extremely proud of Jen and her work with this, as we are of all of the students who have made the most of the opportunities to make a positive impact on their own wellbeing. The award nomination is richly deserved.”