Why Hurst College Students Are “happy, healthy & active” 

We are very fortunate to have Hurst College sponsoring Day 3 of the Mid Sussex Marathon Weekend, with their support residents of Mid Sussex will be able take part in this fantastic community event – and with three days to go there’ still time to sign up for the Burgess Hill Fun Run, Mile or 10K!

Hurst College is a thriving independent school located within a 140-acre campus in West Sussex and offers a through-school education from Pre-Prep to Sixth Form. With Wellbeing at the heart of what they do Hurst College in this blog post they explain how they do this.

“At Hurst College, pupil wellbeing is at the heart of what we do. Our pre-emptive approach aims to support all pupils throughout their time at Hurst. Positive mental wellbeing is evident throughout the school at every level with our recent whole school objective being ‘to develop a mutually supportive culture’. So much so that our most recent Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) report stated, “Throughout the school there is a tangible and marked positivity among pupils”. 

Embedded timetabled wellbeing sessions ensure all pupils will spend time on the school farm, in the forest, taking part in yoga, mindfulness and reflecting on what positive wellbeing means to them. Daily sessions with housemasters/mistresses, tri-weekly tutorial sessions and head of year check-ins, ensure pupils can share concerns and feel supported. 

There is an array of expert support beyond house staff – on-site counsellors, the medical team, the Chaplain, a dedicated Director of Wellbeing and a pastoral intervention practitioner – who all provide specialist support, alongside the robust pupil guardian mentor scheme. Pupils feel supported and “cite many people to whom they could turn to for support” (ISI). 

Transition to Hurst is a key time and we host a unique event where prospective pupils join us a few months in advance of their entry to ensure a smooth transition pastorally and academically to support their wellbeing. This helps develop key relationships with pupils and their schools, who also join us for events throughout the year. This is the beginning of a transition/induction programme that lasts throughout the first year. 

Staff are trained in Youth Mental Health First Aid by our Director of Safeguarding and are also provided with specific and dedicated CPD on supporting individuals. Staff Wellbeing is also a significant priority and Hurst is seen as a leader in this field with our Staff Wellbeing lead regularly writing and presenting for the TES and Optimus Education. Hurst was also the first school nationally to offer all staff the Mind Clinic – a supportive listening service – alongside an array of other wellbeing resources and support. This forward-looking culture encourages staff to be excellent role models. 

Parents are also key to our wellbeing success. They are invited in for presentations, forums and webinars to help them support their children/our pupils and receive our wellbeing Newsletters. We believe this holistic approach is key. 

Hurst is seen as a wellbeing leader in the local area, emphasised by hosting conferences and forums for other schools with a focus on Wellbeing, Transition and Safeguarding. We also invite key staff from feeder schools to see how we teach subjects, share ideas/best practice, and work closely with those staff to best support every pupil. It is through this and all of the above that we ensure our pupils remain “happy, healthy and active” (ISI).”

April 2022, Hurstpierpoint College

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