Ensuring that our students are healthy, in body and mind, is always at the forefront of our hearts at Seaford College.
We’re very aware of the pressures that young people are under — greater pressures than any generation before them. So it’s important that the environment around them is a happy and healthy one, and that they feel safe and secure, both physically and mentally.
Becca Randell, an expert in children's mental health, talks about the whole school approach that Seaford has to support wellbeing and emotional resilience at our Student Wellbeing Conference.
There’s a whole school approach to wellbeing at Seaford and this comes from our Headmaster, John Green, and the web of pastoral support from tutors, Heads of Year, The Pink House Team, our Chaplain Fr Colin, subject teachers, houseparents, peer mentors, peers, support staff, independent listeners, and the senior team means nobody ‘flies under the radar’ and we provide positive interventions.
Seaford has a pastoral and wellbeing hub named the Pink House (because it’s painted pink) which is dedicated to emotional/wellbeing support and counselling for our students, located right in the heart of the campus. It’s a place where students can go to take time out and talk about how they are feeling and what they are thinking. Our Prep School has the Pink Room where the younger children can relax and chat.
Sports Psychologist, Michael Caulfield joined us for our inaugural Student Wellbeing Conference. He spoke about the importance of sleep for wellbeing. Michael said: “There is no doubt that we are living through a sleep crisis, everything starts and finishes with a good nights’ sleep. But it’s the one thing we don’t prioritise, we’re never late for a meeting, we’re never late for a lesson but we don’t do the same with sleep. The key to sleep is like everything in life you have to practice.” His message resonated with our guests at the conference and by lunchtime, the students were talking about the changes they plan to make to their lifestyles. Michael had students queuing up to talk with him over lunch, and he was described as: “Amazing, he was really really good”.
It’s not always physical support that students need, and Seaford College also has excellent support options for any students who may have any concerns, anxieties, or worries. Houseparents, tutors, our Chaplain, as well as dedicated counsellors in our Pink House (Pink Room in the Prep School) are all available for students to turn to. Our Pink House is proudly located in the centre of campus, and we’re hugely proud of our record when it comes to pastoral care.
The pastoral support is off the scale; there is no stigma here, it's normalised. The new Johnson Centre with spin classes as well as weights was great when I was struggling; it got my endorphins going. I love Netball, Mrs Hegarty is a great coach. If you want to do something here, you are supported and have the means to do it. I love Seaford because it allows you to do what you love."
This is the most rewarding job in the world. I am privileged to be a part of young people's lives.
Director of Pastoral Care
Teachers at Seaford are so engaging and incredibly adaptable. I’ve really enjoyed my time here; it's going to be weird leaving. I've been able to try new things: athletics was a great distraction from the academic. Athletics and Music have helped me with my exams. The Pastoral Team are great – I wouldn't have been able to do it without them. Other schools say that they do pastoral care but at Seaford they actually do it."
The Peer Listeners, also known as Peer Mentors, are a volunteer group of Lower Sixth Form students who support younger students. Recognised by their light pink lanyards, they are trained by the Pink House and are then available for students to talk to any time outside the classroom.
The Peer Listeners are able to choose where to operate; half of the group make themselves available in the Senior School and can be seen, for example, chatting to students in the common rooms or Pink House. Half of them have volunteered to support students in the Prep School where they will be on hand at break times – some even run clubs for the students, which are really popular.
The Peer Listeners are often drawn to the role because they have struggled in the past to deal with issues such as anxiety, bereavement, friendship difficulties, and family separation. This gives them a clear understanding of the issues many younger students are grappling with and forms another layer of pastoral support below the Pink House and tutors. Students sometimes find it easier to approach a Peer Listener than a member of staff to chat over a problem and, as extra pairs of eyes around the School, the listeners often alert the Pink House if they spot a student who appears to be struggling or vulnerable.
Follow the link to learn more about pastoral care at Seaford
We have introduced a very exciting new concept to our students as part of our wellbeing programme. Simon Staples is our new ‘Martial Artist in Residence'. Martial arts are very much about self-reflection, perseverance, calmness and resilience, as well as introducing some very useful tailored physical exercise/strategies. Students have benefited from having sessions with Simon and we plan to further develop this concept.
As befits a school so committed to the wellbeing of our students, our excellent and dedicated catering team work tirelessly to ensure that the food options available are tasty and nutritious, varied and balanced, catering for all tastes and needs.
Breakfast for boarders is served from 7.20am onwards and ranges from porridge, cereals, and yoghurt to a more hearty English breakfast; there are always several cooked options available at lunchtime and evenings, as well as a salad deli bar, and the catering team also hold a number of themed lunches throughout the term to keep things fun and interesting.
Supper is served to boarders from 5.45pm.
We place a lot of importance on taking a break, eating nutritious food and socialising and talking with friends.
External nutritionists regularly come in to speak with students. A great example is our workshop on managing exam stress where students learnt about the importance of hydration, nutrition and sleep. They also had a session on exercises to build hand strength to support the long writing time needed in exams.
Students talk about the importance of nutrition at our Student Wellbeing Conference.
Taking part in PE and Games is a key part of the School day, and you can find out more about the various sports on offer at Seaford College here.
With the launch of our state-of-the-art Sports and Performing Arts centre, The Johnson Centre, we’re pleased that students also have access to a fully equipped gym, spin room, and conditioning suite. Day pupils are able to use these during Games, on rotation, and boarders can also use the gym after the School day has finished.
It’s important to us that students are taught the benefits of nutrition and the importance of strengthening their bodies and how this fits into their lifestyle. We have our very own Athletic Development Coach on site to help with this.
Seaford College is nestled in over 450 acres of listed rolling parkland in the heart of West Sussex, making it a fine environment in which to live and to learn, away from the distractions of city life yet still within easy reach of cultural and commercial centres.
We use our fantastic setting for teaching and all students benefit from the beautiful environment.
Seaford's inaugural Student Wellbeing Conference will be held at Seaford College, Petworth West Sussex, on Friday 31st January. This is a free event for students and our Guest Speaker is Michael Caulfield MSc.
Seaford welcomed Michael Caulfield as our guest speaker to our inaugural Wellbeing and Building Resilience Conference.
Our first ever Seaford College Wellbeing and Building Resilience Conference took place on the day after World Mental Health Day. The conference was about sharing ideas and putting the spotlight on wellbeing and building resilience. It was a day for leaders in education to take time out of their busy lives in order to reflect on the day-to-day challenges they face, both at school but also in their personal lives.
Our guest speaker, Michael Caulfield, spoke about: wellbeing, rest and recovery, sleep, developing confidence and how to cope with the range of demands placed on people in all walks of life. He shared his experience and insights from his work supporting a number of teams, organisations and athletes in elite sport. He shared what he's learnt from working with teams and players in the Barclays Premier League as well as international and domestic cricket.
Michael said: “The greatest strength you can have is to ask for help. Surround yourself with people, in and out of your circle, to have private and confidential conversations."
He then challenged the audience to consider, "Where do you offload? In our mad, fast-paced world people need to offload and talk. Everyone needs someone.
"Talking is the most important thing we do, where can your pupils, children, and you offload?”
He quoted Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp: “Everything we do in life is about relationships.”
Our guests then took time to discuss the topics of conversation that they thought Michael might discuss in his coaching sessions with elite sports people and coaches.
Michael said: "The conversations I have are never about sporting technique. The topics include: career development, depression, the fear of failure, divorce, miscarriages, online trolling, anger, grief, the pressures of looking after family, controlling emotions, the highs and lows of sport, to name a few. They are successful, healthy and good at what they do and these are the topics they want to talk about."
One Headmaster reflected and said: "You can have money, a successful career and celebrity status but still have the same issues that we deal with in schools. We deal with many of these topics as teenagers grow up."
Michael concluded and spoke about the importance of a good night’s sleep: "I've never seen people more tired than they are now. We all need good sleep, nothing is more important than sleep."
Sleep is essential for:
Mood and relationships
Memory and learning
As one Headmistress said: "I'm really pleased I took the time to come today, Michael was a fantastic speaker and a lot of what he said resonated with me. I'm going to start by encouraging my students and colleagues to make time to take a walk in the fresh air, talk and get a good night's sleep!"
Michael's presentation was followed by a talk about the importance of good nutrition and diet for mental health in children. Our guests were then treated to a delicious lunch featuring all of the foods that are essential for wellbeing.
The afternoon was a chance for Seaford College's Pastoral Care Leaders to share best practice from within the College. We heard from students and members of staff about pastoral support and wellbeing at Seaford. This was followed by an informal session where everyone shared ideas and discussed the themes from the day.
At Seaford we always try to ensure our students remain fit and healthy whilst at school.
However, if any of our students become unwell, we have easily accessible medical care to ensure they receive the treatment they need.
Our School Medical Centre is situated right in the centre of campus, and is open each day between the hours of 8am and 6pm. We also have a 24-hour registered nurse, with back up provided by the Petworth surgery and the School Medical Officer. All boarding house staff have completed first aid training and are the first port of call for boarders.
Seaford College was founded on strongly-held Christian principles, but in today’s multi-cultural society there is a place for all faiths and beliefs here.
There is a strong emphasis on spiritual wellbeing here at Seaford College. The College has its own Chapel, which houses a congregation of 150 and is in regular use for assemblies and special services. We also have our own full time chaplain, who teaches, conducts services and worship for the Prep School and Senior School alike. The Chaplain is also part of our excellent Pastoral Care Team which offers counselling to students.
Confirmation classes are held for those students who wish to affirm their faith and Confirmation services are held annually in the College Chapel.
The Chaplaincy embraces all religious persuasions and every degree of faith, driven by a deeply-held Christian conviction that all people are loved by God without reservation, whether they profess a religious commitment or not at all.
Fr. Colin Datchler joined Seaford as our new Chaplain in September 2018, and started the term off with a spot of photo bombing!
Throughout the School week, Seaford College has regular opportunities to reflect and to pray, including a prayer in Assembly first thing on Monday.
Times for Church Services:
Seaford’s new Chaplain, Father Colin would like to share times for Church Services at St Peter’s Chapel, Seaford College:
weekly Wednesday 9am
bi-weekly Monday 9am
Every Tuesday 4.15pm in St Peter’s Chapel (Seaford College) for all students, staff & parents
St Peter’s Chapel (Seaford College)
Mon-Fri 8am for all students, staff & parents
St Peter’s Chapel (Seaford College)
Mon-Fri 4.30pm for all students, staff & parents
St Peter’s Chapel (Seaford College)
For all students, staff & parents and open to the wider community. All welcome.
Choral Evensong will take place on one evening every half-term.
The Chaplain is also available to discuss personal matters, offering 'round the clock' support throughout the week. Furthermore, pastoral visits to the boarding houses in the evenings are regular, culminating with a voluntary service of communion or compline with the kind permission from the Houseparent.