A primary school in Bexley has been rewarded for its dedication to mental health awareness as the first winner of the Wellbeing Award for Schools.

Run by Optimus Education in partnership with National Children's Bureau, the award is designed to recognise schools that show commitment to monitoring and improving the mental health of its pupils.

And the first ever award will be given to the Lessness Heath Primary School in Bexley, which has been commended for prioritising wellbeing for both staff and pupils, as well as parents.

Kate O'Connor, headteacher at the school, decided to hire a wellbeing leader to put a project into place that would safeguard mental health.

Ms Hanaghan told News Shopper about the importance of looking after staff wellbeing as well as students.

"It was highlighted that staff wellbeing was sacrificed whilst we were looking at at parent wellbeing, and this is a massive issue." she said.

She added she has seen research to show teachers are leaving the profession which is often put down to mental health and the struggle to maintain a work/life balance.

So, alongside pupils, Lessness Heath Primary School set out to improve the mental wellbeing of its teachers, encouraging them to speak out about their problems.

The school now offers monthly activities for staff, including rounders tournaments, and sports days for its staff to help them de-stress and improve communication.

Last week, they held a Eurovision Song Contest party, with food and music from all over the world.

To promote good mental health amongst students, the school has taken two days off curriculum since January of this year to hold 'wellbeing days'.

These days begin with an assembly to talk to children about expressing their feelings, and usually encourage students to engage in physical activities - particularly yoga.

Since the school has turned its focus to mental health, Kelly says there has been a real improvement in the relationships between students and teachers, and a "sense of connection" amongst staff.

Ms O'Connor said: "We have noticed that as a result of our wellbeing focus this year, that staff are presenting as being happier and have seen a decrease in staff absences.  The pupils are happy and engaged and are able to ask for help." 

The award will be presented to the school at an awards ceremony on Wednesday, June 13.