Daffodil House was opened officially by Claire Tamplin, mindfulness coach and Express FM presenter.
“It is so important that we focus on wellbeing and see the whole human being,’ said Claire. ‘It is being present in the moment and the young people knowing they are seen and heard”.
When Claire declared Daffodil House open she used words from a poem by Donna Ashworth called To Our Daughters:
You were born made of softness, sweetness and love, but with a will so strong it could bend iron – despite what society may tell you, you don’t have to lose one or the other. Keep them all, they are yours. Aren’t you blessed? Your super-power in this life, is that little voice inside of you that tells you when something isn’t right, listen to it. Likewise, listen to it when it’s saying yes yes yes.
Student wellbeing is at the heart of Portsmouth High School’s ethos. The house offers meeting spaces for student support sessions and is home to the school’s wellbeing team. Downstairs, Daffodil House has a student common room; the welcoming and relaxed nature of this space perfectly supports group workshops and lunchtime drop-in sessions run by the sixth form well-being ambassadors. Daffodil House also has its own courtyard garden offering a relaxing and calming outdoor social space for students.
Chair of governors, Mrs Krysia Butwilowska, who was at the opening, alongside chair of the school’s parent staff association seniors-social, Mrs Julie Riggott, said: ‘This house has been borne from a wonderful initiative; looking after the pupils’ mental health and wellbeing. If we can address those then academic success will follow.’
“I believe, since COVID, a focus on wellbeing and mental health is more important than ever,” said Nell, deputy head girl responsible for wellbeing.
“I think as a school we are extremely lucky to have a space that is dedicated to this. Daffodil House is such a calm and relaxing environment, it allows girls to feel less anxious about any issues they might need to share. I feel very honoured to be a part of this”.
“The last two years have been tough for everyone but none more so than children whatever their age,’ said headmistress, Mrs Jane Prescott. ‘They have missed socialising and attending those rites of passage events such as their prom or special trips and visits. They have not experienced normality and if schools are not proactive in helping young people navigate these testing times, then it could lead to greater problems later.
‘This house has been borne from a wonderful initiative; looking after the pupils’ mental health and wellbeing. If we can address those then academic success will follow.’_ Mrs Krysia Butwilowska, chair of governors
“In Daffodil House, there will be resources which support health and in particular mental health. Pupils are keen to work with each other providing mutual assistance. It is important to be proactive rather than reactive”.
Mr Rob Smith, assistant head pastoral said: “This ambitious and forward-looking development brings together ‘under one roof’ our bespoke and dynamic welfare provision. It further supports our pastoral triage system and commitment to early pastoral intervention. Young people face pressures – examinations, friendships, navigating the modern technological world and add to this the recent pandemic. This makes it more important than ever that schools take a proactive approach to helping pupils manage these challenges to develop healthy habits for healthy lifelong living.”
Over the next two years the school will be further investing in outdoor social spaces; this follows on from the hugely successful introduction of Rosemary’s reading rooms which have provided both outdoor teaching spaces and areas for relaxation. These initiatives link to the school’s strong reputation as a local leader in well-being provision and its encouragement of students to proactively use available tools and experiences to navigate and explore the challenges of adolescence.
Headmistress, Mrs Jane Prescott, added: “This exciting project falls within our 140th anniversary year and celebrates and connects to our founding values of girls first in everything we do.”
More information about the IET World Mental Health Day campaign
More about Portsmouth High School GDST