Welcome | Parent Wellbeing Blog

Welcome to the first Parent Wellbeing Blog of this new academic year. It has been great to welcome so many of our pupils back to MCM and we look forward to more moving into our day and boarding communities. All this helps the pupils, staff and families to have a sense of returning to normality, whilst observing the current SOP’s. The ability to run sport and activities from this week is most welcome as both are essential in keeping our pupils (staff and parents), healthy and happy.

These are certainly momentous and challenging times we are living through with a strain that is being felt all around the world. We are obviously not starting our new academic year as we would choose but we remain convinced that our focus on Flourishing@MCM provides a holistic approach to education which is a ‘fit for the times’. Our model is founded on the principles of Positive Psychology as applied to education with the 6 identified key domains of Positive Engagement, Emotions, Purpose, Relationships, Accomplishment and Health. At the pre-term staff training, we went through the original reasons for the development of this educational philosophy around 20 years ago and considered the relevance of these now.

The reasons include:

  • Increasing levels of anxiety and depression
  • Tensions and stresses at family and community level
  • Feeling that life lacks purpose – “What is the point?”
  • Decline in mental health & well-being in adults, children & adolescents
  • Steep increase in mental health disorders
  • Drift away from engagement in activities and healthy stimuli
  • State provision struggling to cope
  • Increase in device dependence and drift away from social interaction

We felt the points above as identified 20 years ago resonate with the pressures on society and individuals now. We believe the focus on the 6 domains provides us with a framework to enable our community to flourish. The purpose of the Parent Wellbeing Blog is to provide an insight into what we are doing so we are true to our commitment to Flourish@MCM, whilst also explaining ‘why’. I am extremely grateful to all the staff who have offered to write articles throughout this academic year and I can promise you a wide range of stimulating and engaging reads. We have a remarkably talented staff who never cease to surprise us. Talented in the quality of teaching (at present this includes online, in person and mixed – all in the same day), the range of activities they offer (all approved within the SOP’s), the care they provide to help pupils believe in themselves and ‘grow’ or the time they invest in relationships with our pupils so confidence and character can blossom. In reference to ‘character’, again at our staff training prior to the start of term we included a session on Character Strengths. A fascinating field (I mentioned in an earlier blog) which has a long history going back to early philosophers looking for ‘what makes a person good and what makes a good person’. All teaching staff took the VIA Character Strength survey and discussed the results. If you are interested in finding out more about yourself and ‘the best you’ then take the free survey at https://www.viacharacter.org/ and it will rank your 24 character strengths. I have tried it four times now and have had the same one come out on top every time and the profile remains very similar despite the situation you are in when you answer the questions. It takes around 20 minutes to complete and download the pdf report.

It made for a lively session and provided some surprises in what came out as the top signature character strength for some of our staff. In terms of the overall results, there was a tie. 

  • First equal:  Kindness; Honesty; Fairness
  • Closely followed by: Creativity; Forgiveness; Humour

Certainly qualities we would want in our teaching staff and characteristics that are evident across Pre-Prep; Prep and Senior Schools. 

We are running the survey with many of our pupils within our Wellbeing lessons with follow up discussions with tutors. 

There will be more detail on the content of the Wellbeing lessons this term from Mr Lennard next week. He has taken over from Ms Nixon as Head of Senior School Wellbeing and we are delighted he is building on the excellent foundation Ms Nixon established. He will also write about ‘blue light’ and its impact on us. That will be the first of an excellent range of Parent Wellbeing Blogs which will hopefully keep you connected with what we are doing in wellbeing and why we are doing it. 

Mr Cowie, Deputy Head Pastoral

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