Published Tuesday, 13th March 2018

York Youth Council has awarded Scarcroft Primary School its first Minding Minds Award in recognition of the school’s commitment to improving pupils’ mental health and wellbeing.

The Minding Minds Award has been created by York Youth Council to support and recognise schools which actively work to improve their students' mental health and wellbeing. Schools are asked to work with pupils to identify areas which could have a positive impact and develop plans to bring about those improvements.

As part of its bronze level Minding Minds project, Scarcroft School worked with council wellbeing worker Louise Wall to pick three areas and develop an action plan. The areas they identified were the school’s friendship bench and analysing its impact; friendship skills and looking at setting up a skills group to help others build friendships, and looking into establishing a quiet area of the playground.

Schools are supported by City of York Council wellbeing workers who work with school staff to identify and support pupils with early and emerging signs of mental health issues. These staff members then work with the pupils or students to identify strategies or provide support and intervention that help improve their mental health and wellbeing, and to build their resilience. 

Dominic Bielby, Member of Youth Parliament for York said: “According to YouGov, one in every four students suffer from mental health problems so it is vitally important that these issues are tackled early on by schools, to prevent them having a greater negative impact on their future.

“The Minding Minds Award aims to complement and celebrate what we consider to be incredibly important work. Congratulations to Scarcroft Primary for starting to make a real difference.”

Carole Dickson, Inclusion Leader at Scarcroft Primary School, said: “A group of pupils volunteered to share their thoughts about what we do well to support children's well-being here at Scarcroft School, and what we could possibly do better. They then prioritised three things they were really proud of and three things to work on, which were subsequently included in the initial action plan.

“When looking to promote better use of the friendship bench in the playground, members of the school council were asked to canvass their classmates' thoughts and ideas. This was followed by a workshop session to capture the children's theories, and council members annotated pictures of a bench with reasons why it might not be well used in red, and ideas for better use in green. These suggestions were then compiled into a table to inform next steps.

“The school has also involved users in the evolution of the friendship skills group through pre- and post- group self-assessment and evaluation. Although there are still some things that need to be taken forwards, the work done so far has enabled pupil voice to be captured in a meaningful way and to influence direction.

“We certainly plan on going for a silver award to maintain the momentum of our work to support pupils' well-being.”

Cllr Keith Myers, executive member for children, education and communities at City of York Council, said: “Although the health and wellbeing of children in York is known to be generally better than England’s average, we recognise the importance of giving them high quality advice and support from confident and capable professionals within the school community and as soon as concerns emerge.

“I’m delighted that Scarcroft School has committed to this very successful project, that both its pupils are benefitting from it and that the Youth Council is celebrating its work. I wish them well with their bronze and, hopefully, their silver award.”

Dominic Bielby from York Youth Council said: “Members of the Youth Council hope that other schools will follow the amazing example of Scarcroft Primary and commit to improving their students' mental health and wellbeing by engaging in the Minding Minds Award.”

Schools can get involved by contacting York Youth Council directly at or find out more about the school wellbeing service at

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