Surrey school puts beehive forward for awards recognition

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Having last year been named a finalist in a coveted national awards scheme which recognises pastoral excellence in schools, Highfield and Brookham is hoping to go one better this year.

The school has put forward its wellbeing hub – otherwise known as The Beehive – in the pastoral development of the year category in the initiative run by the National Awards for Pastoral Care in Education.

Highfield and Brookham takes its responsibility to pastoral care incredibly seriously and is always looking to implement new ideas and put rigorous new protocols in place to meet the ever-changing demands of modern life – for its children and its staff.

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The Beehive was opened officially last September by Alicia Drummond, founder of Teen Tips, an organisation which supports mental health and wellbeing in children. It was named after parallels were drawn between busy bees and children at Highfield and Brookham, not least when it comes to community, effectively working together, and looking after each other in the hive.

Highfield and Brookham is a finalist in the National Awards for Pastoral Care in EducationHighfield and Brookham is a finalist in the National Awards for Pastoral Care in Education
Highfield and Brookham is a finalist in the National Awards for Pastoral Care in Education

It is essentially a safe and supportive place for children to meet, talk through any issues with either an adult or their peers, or simply get away from it all for a little while on occasions when life can feel a bit overwhelming.

Nestled between the pre-prep and prep school buildings, The Beehive provides a calm and welcoming environment for individual and group sessions. The hub is staffed throughout the day by a mental health first aider and serves as a refuge for students to de-stress and recharge.

During breaks, children can visit The Beehive on their own initiative, seeking solace from a bustling playground environment or using it as a trusty meeting place with friends.

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The Beehive also hosts wellness experts who help promote good mental health among the school community.

One of the essential elements of the hub is that it is a fluid space, with the school’s dedicated pastoral team constantly assessing and reflecting on the use of the hub to adapt to the needs of the children.

Suzannah Cryer, Head of Highfield and Brookham, a nursery, pre-prep and prep school on the rural borders of Hampshire, Surrey and West Sussex, said: “The health and wellbeing of our children is at the heart of absolutely everything we do. We work really hard on our pastoral provision, making sure it is robust, relevant, and fit for purpose.

"So being recognised and named a finalist in the Nationals Awards for Pastoral Care in Education gave us tremendous heart and told us that we are on the right track, and the addition of the Beehive adds another vital string to our wellbeing bow."

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