Maidstone and Malling Alternative Provision (MMAP), a school that is committed to supporting vulnerable children and young people who are at risk of being excluded from school, has been nominated for a county-wide awards event.
In the very difficult times of the last year, where everyone has been affected by the pandemic, MMAP continued to offer help, support and guidance to the whole school community as well as to its families. All students at MMAP have social, emotional and mental health needs and their parents see MMAP as the first port of call for support and guidance on all types of problems.
The school remained open through all three national lockdowns because the students were at risk and needed continuity of support. For those students who could not come in or families that were under pressure from mental health and emotional needs, food parcels and daily phone calls were made and action was taken if required. All this happened before the government launched its free school meals programme.
When lockdowns eased and schools were able to return, MMAP had already established a support mechanism for students and staff to aid mental wellbeing, and to put into action tailored individual support plans for all to return to normal.
The school also took a decision to take part in a Distance Learning Technology pilot run by the government that meant that if any student or adult had a confirmed case of Covid-19, the school would not close, but everyone in close contact with the case would agree to be tested for seven days and would isolate at weekends.
Nominator Pauline Blayney said: “Maidstone and Malling Alternative Provision (MMAP) has rightly been recognised as being an outstanding school in response to the pastoral and mental health care of its students and staff.”
Pauline, who is the Vocational Lead and SENCO at the school, added, “The situations that our school community deal with on a daily basis are very varied and can be very demanding of all involved. MMAP has gone well beyond what is expected of a school, and I am proud to work there. That is why I have made the nomination.”
Headteacher Stacie Smith said: “Our school ethos, although centred on education, offers a lot more than qualifications. It is our intention to provide support, guidance and advice for all the young people in our care. The vulnerability of our pupils has affected their mental health and wellbeing during extreme unchartered conditions and it has been a vital part of our practice to provide a wider range of emotional support and development opportunities to protect and nurture their mental wellbeing.”
Mid Kent Mind is just one of the organisations helping to champion the new Kent Mental Health & Wellbeing Awards, and they are encouraging charities, businesses, schools and community groups to get involved.
Simon Dolby from the awards event team said: “With vaccination numbers climbing we are starting to see the light at the end of the lockdown tunnel. Now is the time to think about the people and organisations who have helped support us over recent months. This autumn we will celebrate that support.”
Mr Dolby added that although the Covid lockdown had prompted this pilot event to be staged, he was confident it would become a permanent fixture in the Kent calendar.
“The focus on mental health and wellbeing will not diminish over the coming years and so there will always be a place for an event to celebrate hard work, dedication, great ideas and wellbeing best practice.”
Nominations can be linked to a simple act of kindness that lifted the spirits, a business that has improved staff wellbeing, through to a targeted initiative delivered by a charity, community group or statutory organisation to support a mental health issue.
Submit nominations at www.KentMHWAwards.org.uk.
For awards news follow @KentMHWAwards on Twitter.
The Awards event is supported by Mid Kent Mind, Kent Community Foundation, Independent Music Productions, Cactus Graphics, Blé Couture Cakes, Ashford International Hotel and Crossways Community.