Prevention better than cure when it comes to mental health matters.


The road of adolescence will never be a completely smooth one. There will always be ups and downs, obstacles to navigate, and every so often maybe even the odd crash. In these unpredictable and uncertain times, young people are suffering more mental health crashes than ever before. As a school we look for any opportunity to help signpost each student along their journey to steer better and reduce their risk of crashes along the way.

At Downsend we are committed to ensuring the best possible pastoral care for our children and young people. Keeping them safe is one of our top priorities. Over the next two years, we are delighted to be rolling out a new online pastoral and assessment tool called AS (Affective Social) Tracking. We see this as an important additional piece of the pastoral jigsaw here at Downsend, putting the pupil’s voice at the centre of our pastoral care. Students will complete a short online assessment twice each academic year. The results will enable us to implement effective, targeted, precise pupil action plans, as well as being able to demonstrate to parents the personal development of each student.

We recognise that pastoral care and academic progress are strongly linked, and in some ways we will be mirroring our academic tracking processes. We already track each pupil’s academic development, so we can proactively give them the right academic support at the right time, in the right way. AS tracking enables us to track each pupil’s social-emotional development, so we can proactively give each child the right pastoral support at the right time, in the right way. Combined with our already strong pastoral system, AS Tracking will help us to pick up hidden issues we may not otherwise see, and enable us to act early to counter risks or potential areas for concern, as well as predicting future risks both in and outside school.

We’re very proud that our school culture has always been one that actively promotes kindness, respect, social responsibility and teamwork and collaboration with peers, and  are excited to now be able to go a step further, providing our students with the skills to navigate life effectively, and helping to prepare them for life beyond school. Mental health and wellbeing are such important elements of our students’ ability to learn and grow, and using this new technology we will be able to track and analyse student behaviour in order to nurture their development and make informed action plans to help them reach their full potential.

“Downsend is a school that nurtures, and cares for, each individual student and I am delighted to be able to commit to a proven solution that helps to cement those same values.” says Ian Thorpe, Headmaster. “Developing positive wellbeing in young people has never been more vital and the adoption of AS Tracking will ensure that we give our pupils every opportunity to communicate openly and develop their resilience and coping strategies, whatever challenges the future brings.”

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