Our Focus on Your Mental Health & Wellbeing

At St Gregory’s, we are committed to supporting the emotional health and wellbeing of our pupils, parents and staff.

We know that everyone experiences life challenges that can make us vulnerable and at times, anyone may need additional emotional support. We take the view that positive mental health is everybody’s business and that we all have a role to play.  

Our Wellbeing Policy can be located here

Debbie Williams is our qualified Senior Mental Health Lead. The SMHL champions efforts to promote and support mental health and wellbeing, bringing about strategic change to deliver an effective whole school approach.

At St Gregory’s we use Trick Box as part of our well-being approach, across the school. This is a fun and effective personal development programme. Children will be introduced to 24 ‘tricks’, designed to give them positive habits for life. The tricks will help the children to build their confidence and communication skills, manage emotions and find solutions to challenges. They practise the tricks at school and home.

  • Recognise and manage emotions
  • Develop effective coping mechanisms
  • Develop mindful awareness and relaxation
  • Problem solve, develop perspective and create solution-thinking
  • Build motivation and enhance personal learning
  • Set and achieve positive goals
  • Develop communication and interpersonal relationships
  • Develop empathy and contribution
  • Recognise and build on strengths in self and others to develop character
  • Create long-term empowered thinking, autonomy and resilience

As a school, we will be offering in the Summer term an opportunity for parents to engage with the Trick Box, parent programme, which covers x4 areas: Stress, Confidence, Assertiveness and Goals. This programme is designed to support parents themselves and also for them to be able to support their children.

Mrs Michelle Dunn and Mrs Debbie Williams have both qualified to be Facilitators of the programme and look forward to welcoming parents to take part.

At our school we:

  1. help children to understand their emotions and feelings better                             
  2. help children feel comfortable sharing any concerns or worries
  3. help children socially to form and maintain relationships
  4. promote self-esteem and ensure children know that they count
  5. encourage children to be confident and ‘dare to be different’
  6. help children to develop emotional resilience and to manage setbacks 

We offer different levels of support:

Universal SupportTo meet the needs of all our pupils through our overall ethos and our wider curriculum. For example, developing resilience for all.

Additional support For those who may have short term needs and those who may have been made vulnerable by life experiences such as bereavement.

Targeted support- For pupils who need more differentiated support and resources or specific targeted interventions such as wellbeing groups or personal mentors.


An ELSA in a school is an Emotional Literacy Support Assistant. There is a recognised ELSA training course aimed specifically at Teaching Assistants in schools. Examples of things covered on the course are social skills, emotions, bereavement, social stories and therapeutic stories, anger management, self-esteem, counselling skills such as solution focus and friendship.

At St Greg’s we are delighted to offer ELSA across the whole school.  Mrs Coling is our ELSA qualified teaching assistant.  If you are interested in learning more about this work within St Greg’s please get in touch with the school office. 


Children who are identified as needing extra support, whether it be short term, long term or just to catch up occasionally, meet with Mrs Dunn during the school day. Through different activities they are encouraged to discuss their feelings / moods / worries / life inside or out of school – Mrs Dunn works with these children, sets them challenges and provides an adult for them to go to at any time.  Relationships are developed and these will be long lasting throughout their time at St Gregory’s.

Mrs Dunn works closely with Mrs Williams, who oversees this work and who is training to be a Senior Mental Health leader, through the DFE funded grant.

Any parents who would like to develop a Parent Liaise role and work closely with Mrs Williams / Mrs Dunn – please let either one of them know. This is something which we hope will take us on our next step in further supporting our children and families wellbeing.


Dorset Mind Your Head is a Dorset-wide programme aimed to help young people of Dorset to be as mentally healthy as possible.

Young people cope with the stresses and strains of life in different ways. Growing up in the 21st century is not always easy. We aim to equip young people to have the resources, tools, support and information they need to build resilience, learn how to deal with difficult emotions and live a mentally healthy life.

From education, information and resources to enable young people to look after their mental health from an early age, through to supporting and signposting young people with established mental health problems, Dorset Mind Your Head is here to help.

The Dorset Mind Your Head programme has lots to offer; here, in schools and colleges, in communities and on social media. Please browse our site by clicking on our logo above and find out what is available in your area or online.

Using Animals for Support

At St Greg’s we understand the importance of animals for children’s wellbeing and progress, specific benefits are:

  • Increase children’s attention and concentration performance
  • Reduce anxiety
  • Provide an outlet for excessive energy
  • Provide a non-judgemental companion
  • Provide social interaction
  • Decrease stress
  • Offer a healthy distraction, through exercise.
  • Increased empathy, learning to share
  • Building trust

Please allow us to introduce our fluffiest members of staff below:

Meet Daisy:

  • Daisy is a yellow Labrador
  • Born May 2021
  • Lives with our headteacher Debbie Williams
  • Shares her home with Alfie her best friend – 11-year-old chocolate Labrador, horses and pigs
  • She loves walks, playing, chasing pheasants, bringing in all sorts of wood / plants / bricks from outside / most of all sitting on her snuggle chair having cuddles and her tummy tickled
  • Most importantly Daisy is training to be a school dog, more details on this and her progress further down the page.

We recently celebrated Daisy’s 1st birthday, see photos right

Meet Cookie & Cream:

  • Cookie & Cream are Guinea Pigs
  • They are sister and the best of friends
  • They arrived at the school in the summer of 2021
  • They were named by the whole school by drawing suggestions from a hat.
  • Lives at school
  • They love cuddles with the children and being groomed.
  • They are cared for by our Guinea Pig monitors from Foxes Class (Yr. 5-6)

Daisy is being trained by the Dog Mentor; Jenny Duckworth.

Jenny comes from a teaching background so is ideally suited to train both Daisy and Debbie Williams (Our Headteacher).  Under Jenny’s tuition we look forward to the positive effects Daisy will have on the children.  The Dog Mentor programme has over the best part of a decade had a significant impact in both Primary and Secondary schools.
We will chart Daisy’s training on this page and keep you upto date with any news.


During training both Daisy & Mrs Williams were taught several key components:
Assessment of Daisy and Mrs Williams
Planned / unplanned sessions with Daisy
Power of the dog mentor programme
Building rapport
Body signals and how to deal with them
Portfolio assignment for future assessments
Once successful Daisy & Mrs Williams will achieve:
Daisy / Mrs Williams will be given a manual plus coat, collar, lead
Full accreditation for 6 months
x1 year affiliation insurance, support and professional guidance


During assessment both Daisy & Mrs Williams put into practice what they had learned at training and since, to be successful they needed to show some key skills:

Temperament – looking for calm, no aggression, enjoyment of being in setting
Character – confident but not pushy, gentle, willing to please, happy
Research into how dogs minds work – making them suitable for school
Finding objects
Work in class – how she was around the pupils
Staff interaction
Conduct in school e.g. calm, focussed, non aggressive
Working with a different adult 
Ability to give up toys / bones etc
Daisy is now a fully qualified BRONZE award dog mentor.
St Gregory’s is a Dog Mentor affiliated school.
In the future, she will progress onto the SILVER and GOLD awards