Out of over 200 applications nationally the Biddenham Student Forum has won the prestigious Speaker’s School Action Award.
The application was written by Year 13 student Anila Aswad, who identified exam stress as leading to increased levels of anxiety in young people. She was part of a 20 strong delegation of students that delivered a presentation on the need for improved mental health support services in schools to local MPs Alistair Burt and Mohammad Yasin in July 2017.
As a result, the School Leadership Team worked with both staff and students to develop a support framework. A year on from the students’ presentation in the Houses of Parliament the school now has student and staff wellbeing ambassadors, wellbeing weeks and special assemblies. There are also specific support groups for exam anxiety and regular visits from organisations like CAMHS, CHUMS and Open Door.
The award was presented in the ‘Speaker’s House’ in the House of Commons on Wednesday 14th March by the Speaker of the House, the Rt Hon John Bercow MP, with Alistair Burt MP in attendance.
Anila Aswad said, “It is impossible to put into words how proud I am that we managed to change the face of wellbeing support in our school. What began as a personal battle is now a whole-school issue and there is a wide range of support services available for students regardless of the severity of their problems. There is still room for improvement, but every day is another day that students feel safer, healthier and happier as a result of the strategies that are now in place.”
All in all this shows the power of the ‘student voice’ within the school and represents a tremendous staff-student partnership achievement.