Uckfield school scoops pioneering mental health award

Celebrating Mental Health Week are two Holy Cross Primary School pupils.

An Uckfield school has won an award for outstanding mental health and well-being provision.

Holy Cross Primary has achieved the Silver standard School Mental Health Award which is delivered by the Carnegie Centre of Excellence for Mental Health in Schools.


Holy Cross provides a wide range of activities to boost the well-being of pupils and staff, including an empowerment approach to behaviour, mindfulness, kindness calendars, guardian angels, well-being meetings and working closely with social services and the NHS’s Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services.

The school provides a wide range of opportunities to understand the importance of good mental health and well-being with explicit teaching in Personal, Social, Health, and Citizenship Education and across the curriculum, covering resilience, values, and acceptance.

The school celebrates mental health week each year and the children wear an item of clothing inside out to raise awareness that it can be difficult to know how a person might be feeling and that it is important to be kind.

Wearing clothes inside out during Mental Health Week is a way of showing children that nobody knows how a person might be feeling.

The school also supports many local charities from Brighton Housing Trust to Uckfield Food Bank.

The Holy Cross mental health lead and special needs co-ordinator Mrs Griffin said: “Since embarking on the journey of obtaining this award, we had no idea how useful this award would be going into a pandemic.

As a school, we have pulled together to think outside of the box, about our role and practices and how to support everyone from pupils, parents, agencies, and staff, during a very tough time. I am very proud of everyone.”


A focal point of the school’s mental health and wellbeing provision is their motto ‘First for Dreams’.

The school believes every child should be nurtured and have their needs met so that they can access learning and create a future for themselves. 

They believe building strong mental health early in life can help children build their self-esteem, learn to settle themselves, and engage positively with their education and future.

More inside out outfits worn by Holy Cross Primary School children during Mental Health Week.

Holy Cross makes sure that mental health has a high profile by planning it into their values, policies, and school improvement plan. The school makes it a priority.

The award was established in 2017 by the Carnegie Centre of Excellence for Mental Health in Schools – part of Leeds Beckett University – and social enterprise Minds Ahead.

The Carnegie Centre of Excellence for Mental Health in Schools aims to strengthen pupils’ mental health by supporting schools to make a positive change at all levels of the UK’s education system, improving students’ outcomes and life chances.

Life chances

Professor Damien Page, Dean of Leeds Beckett’s Carnegie School of Education, said: “Achieving this award is not just recognition of a whole-school approach to mental health, it’s a recognition of the school’s commitment to improving the life chances of children.

“We’re truly proud to have worked with Holy Cross Primary School in this vital work and look forward to further collaboration.”

Nationally, more than 800 schools have signed up to take part in the mental health award.


Dean Johnstone, founder and CEO of Minds Ahead said: “This award shines a light on the excellent work schools are doing to promote mental health for their community of children and adults.

“It is thrilling and humbling to learn about Holy Cross Primary School and the many other schools engaged in the quality award process. I’d like to offer my congratulations on this deserved recognition.”

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