Coleraine Grammar pupils design logo for education department initiative

Coleraine Grammar School pupils were recently awarded the prestigious honour of designing a logo for the department of education’s “Emotional Health and Wellbeing Framework”.
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The logo has now been launched as part of Children’s Mental Health Week. Linsey Farrell, deputy permanent secretary for education policy and children’s services, and members of the department of health, youth service and education authority, attended the school for the logo's official launch.

The design programme was facilitated by Emma Jardine, youth worker for the education authority (EA) and Clodagh O’Connell who specialises in graphic design work. Under their guidance the Year 9 Wellbeing Champions were tasked with the job of designing a pupil friendly logo for the framework which is to be used across Northern Ireland. The activity was part of the EA REACH initiative which CGS pupils have been participating in over the past two years.

Robert McGregor, senior teacher for pastoral care, said: “From 2015, we have fostered strong links with a wide range of external facilitators including REACH (EA Youth Service), Educational Welfare Service, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service, Educational Psychology, and Independent School Counsellor service. We appreciate the excellent support our school’s Pastoral Care plan receives from these agencies.”

Pupils present the new logoPupils present the new logo
Pupils present the new logo

The Wellbeing Champions spent 10 weeks developing creative and meaningful icons to represent the various services young people can access to support their mental health and wellbeing. They then pitched their ideas to the EA and DENI staff.

One Year 9 pupil said, “this experience has developed my understanding of mental health and what support is available. I really enjoyed being creative and helping others.” This helps to illustrate the Children’s Mental Health Week strapline: “My Voice Matters”.

Pupil leadership is also developed on the Castlerock Road campus through the Senior Wellbeing Champions who received training from a Mental Health Practitioner.

These are just two examples of the extensive pastoral work being carried out in Coleraine Grammar School to promote awareness and understanding of emotional health and wellbeing. The school’s inclusive approach ensures that all pupils’ pastoral needs are catered for, which supports their academic experiences.

The pupils who designed the logoThe pupils who designed the logo
The pupils who designed the logo

The Educational Training Inspectorate commended this work in 2021 when they stated: “The pupils were very positive about their school experiences and valued the effort of their teachers in caring for them and supporting them in their learning.”

The school has also joined the education authority’s “Being Well, Doing Well” and “Take 5” initiatives both of which will be rolled out during the year. Nurture Rooms are available on both sites and pupils can access support from New Life Counselling Services and Learning Support Teachers.

Lynn Magee, senior teacher and wellbeing champion with the EA, was recently awarded the Public Health Agency Mental Health First Aid Certificate. She said: “I think it is great to see the profile of mental health and wellbeing being raised and supported. We are so proud of our pupils and the work they are doing.”