Art therapy and wellbeing walks put staff first at Folkestone school


Earlscliffe is the latest school to be nominated for the Kent Mental Wellbeing Awards and puts wellbeing at the heart of its operation. Kate Orr from the awards team talked to the school to find out more.

In a world where work is a major aspect of so many of our lives, it is ironic that it is often an area where we sacrifice our own wellbeing in favour of succeeding.

It is normalised to be burnt out or stressed from work, which is extremely detrimental to our wellbeing, as well as our ability to do a good job as an employee. Earlscliffe, an independent boarding school in Folkestone, recognises this dichotomy and as a result has put major focus on wellbeing amongst its staff.

Earlscliffe has come up with fantastic initiatives, focusing on wellbeing, which they believe has an employee-first approach to ensure that they are respected, valued, and thus can thrive in the workplace. Over the past 18 months, activities that are staff-led, such as wellbeing walks which take place during lunch time, as well as creative art therapy sessions run by the Head of Art at Earlscliffe have been offered.

Both these activities allow staff to have the opportunity to relax and socialise without feeling guilty! Another initiative that should be praised is the corporate massage, where an external masseuse comes into the school on working days and conducts 20 minutes stress-relief massages for staff.

As well as this, back in October, a successful pumpkin-picking event was organised for the staff. This allowed the staff to bond outside of the workplace with their families. All these initiatives put staff wellbeing first, with a focus on ensuring staff feel welcome, supported and valued both in and outside of work.

More recently, Mental Health First Aid Training has been offered to staff and more than 25 per cent of staff have completed it. This is a fantastic opportunity to ensure the maintenance of prioritising wellbeing and is a vital and worthwhile qualification for members of the school community. Earlscliffe has set a example for other schools, businesses and high-pressure workplaces as it demonstrates the vitality of supporting staff and strengthening communication and a sense of community to achieve a happier and more productive workforce.

To nominate an individual, organisation or initiative for the Kent Mental Wellbeing Awards, or to find out more, visit