Following Paul Taylor’s stated commitment to addressing mental health issues amongst the young people of East Anglia last summer, Framlingham College hosted its first Wellbeing Conference on Friday.

With over 140 guests present in the school theatre, a range of speakers spoke about addressing the very real mental health issues amongst today’s young people. The day proved a huge success. Delegates included representatives from both the independent and maintained sectors at both junior and senior school level, with parents, school governors and local mental health practitioners also present.

With mental health issues ever more prevalent in teenagers Paul Taylor, Framlingham College Headmaster, believes ‘schools must make it a priority to equip today’s generation of schoolchildren with strategies and coping mechanisms to enable them to deal with the pressures they face; pressures which are exacerbated through the parallel world of social media and the relentless drive for academic achievement’.

Claire Kelly, Director of the ‘Mindfulness in Schools Project’, opened the day with a beautifully balanced overview of Mindfulness and the benefits to schools of bringing mindfulness into the curriculum. Clinical Psychologist Dr Hazel Harrison (herself an ex-pupil at Framlingham College) took over the reins and talked passionately about building resilience in our young people, offering superb advice to school leaders on how to achieve this. Post-lunch, James Shone, author of with his own powerful story, had the entire theatre mesmerised throughout his talk on Growth Mindset.

The day was finished by Tom Caston, Deputy Head Pastoral at Framlingham College, and Mary Spink, Head of Drama at Ardingly Prep, giving practical advice on the implementation of wellbeing strategies in both junior and senior schools. Both Framlingham College and its prep school, Brandeston Hall, are looking to embed these practices across the curriculum next year and beyond. The key message from both speakers being that schools only have one chance to get this process right, so it needs to be done carefully and accurately in order to be fully sustainable.

Quotes from Delegates

I just wanted to say again how useful and enjoyable I found the conference yesterday. Fantastic speakers and some really useful practical advice given. Thank you so much for organising it. Hazel Harrison was a particular highlight but everyone else was excellent too!

I just wanted to say a huge thank you for organising the excellent day yesterday. Each of the speakers was both fascinating and inspiring and I am very excited about implementing lots of what was said here at RHS!

What a great day! Thanks for organising it. A triumph was my clear impression.

All the speakers were clearly very passionate about their chosen fields of expertise and James Shone’s talk was particularly moving. I think we all went away with a lot to think about and I will definitely be doing some more research on the subject of mindfulness.  I think it is great that Framlingham College is going to be incorporating it into the school curriculum. Thank you again for a very inspiring day.

Thank you so much for organizing today – the energy from the speakers was infectious and James Shone’s delivery was especially powerful – days like these are game changers – Thank you.

Just to say congratulations and thank you for today’s conference, which was so very interesting and enjoyable. The speakers were excellent and I do think you have done a great service to the area for facilitating a greater attention and focus on this very important subject. Lunch was delicious, too!

Just a quick line to say how brilliant yesterday’s conference was . From the line up of speakers I knew it was going to be good but it by far exceeded all expectations . Thank you for organising such a powerful day.

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