We have excellent resources throughout the school that we utilise for nurturing good mental health in our pupils. We strongly encourage physical activity and outdoor time, as this has been proven to promote all round well-being. In good weather, our grounds are extensively used for sports and games, and also in non-structured times for the children to burn off energy and soak up some vitamin D. We are lucky to be positioned in such a beautiful part of the countryside, and so ensure we make use of the local area too during evenings and weekends for boarding pupils, and also for extracurricular outdoor pursuits such as DofE and COPE expeditions.
Our Forest School, gazebo buildings and vegetable garden are used to diversify the learning environment from classroom-based work and we even have a number of friendly, well-behaved dogs on site, and in the boarding houses, that act as therapy dogs to the pupils, providing them with a distraction from school work and a sense of calm. The dogs love the children and are a great help if pupils feel anxious or upset.
Strong pastoral care in school is fundamental to the development of character and social skills, which will be critically important to promote independence to pupils in later life. We are constantly preparing the pupils for when they leave Appleford and enter the big, wide world. Over their years with us, we provide pupils with essential tools to manage their own mental health, so that by the time they leave, they are resilient, mature enough to ask for help when they need it, and able to tackle any issues they may come up against.