GCSE art students from St Helens Council’s Tuition Service welcomed guests into the Beacon Building last week as they showcased their work at an annual arts exhibition.
Attended by parents, pupils external agencies, and guests of honour, the Mayor and Mayoress of St Helens Councillor Joe Pearson and wife Sylvia, this year’s show was an opportunity for students to share with their family their amazing work as part of their drive to being an Emotionally Healthy School.
New to this year’s exhibition was the introduction of awards –sponsored by Commercial LED Lighting, owned by the parents of a former pupil at Tuition – to recognise pupils who had utilised art to support their own emotional health.
Councillor Joe Pearson was on hand to present winners Andrew Duckworth, Jordon Jones and Tia Baker-Wilson, all 16, with their trophies named after world-famous artists.
Andrew was awarded the Van Gogh Award for the most improved artist, Tia, who described art as a way of helping her create her own world within a canvas, scooped the Banksy Award for most creative independence – while Jordon picked up the Picasso Award for perseverance.
Earlier this year, Tuition Service – which provides a calm and nurturing environment to help pupils with complex and/or medical needs return to mainstream provision – showed its commitment to raising mental health and wellbeing awareness by becoming an ‘emotionally healthy’ school.
The St Helens Emotionally Healthy Schools Project, supported by St Helens Council and NHS St Helens Clinical Commissioning Group, has been introduced as part of the Local Transformation Plan for Children’s Mental Health services and is based on national guidance developed by Public Health England alongside the Department for Education.
The guidance was developed after evidence from a National Taskforce revealed that half of all mental illness in adults starts before the age of 14, and three quarters of lifetime mental health disorders have their first onset before the age of 18.
Paying tribute to Tuition for supporting his daughter Olivia during her time at the service, Bill Parr from LED Commercial Lighting said:
“Words alone could not describe the help and support the staff at Tuition gave my daughter, both while she was at school and since leaving to go to college.
“The staff here always go above and beyond to support their students and without them I know my daughter wouldn’t be where she is now. The staff are regularly prepared to give up their own time during holidays and weekends to support pupils struggling with crippling anxiety.
“They are a credit to the council and a credit to themselves, so when I heard they were looking for a sponsor for the awards I didn’t have a second thought.”