A secondary school has launched a new initiative to prioritise emotional wellbeing.

Chingford Foundation School in Nevin Drive aims to tackle deteriorating wellbeing in school students by operating a School Early Help Hub.

This scheme incorporates a safeguarding first line assessment service and mental health and wellbeing first aid triage service where trained members of staff will help students.

The initiative is being run by deputy safeguarding lead and mental health officer Sharon Goldstone and deputy safeguarding lead and child protection officer Kay Hall.

Ms Goldstone last year developed a peer listening service run out of the school hub which provided a safe place for students to gather their thoughts and speak to trained peer listeners about their difficulties.

Last week the second cohort of students were trained to deliver this service.

Mark Holder, 12, used the peer listening service in the past and is now a trained listener.

He said: "We learned many new skills, but the things I learnt the most during training was that we were there to listen, question our peers and not to offer advice, to keep things confidential. But to pass on cases if students were at risk."

The school provision was commended by Ofsted and received a commendation from the Prime Minister’s Office, thanking them for their work in successfully addressing emotional issues at early stages, preventing situations escalating into more complex issues.

Sharon is leading a whole-school approach to wellbeing and helping Chingford Foundation School obtain the Carnegie Centre of Excellence for Mental Health in Schools Award.

She said: "The most effective way to work with students, or just about anyone, is to build a relationship, through being non- judgmental, listening, being un-shockable and daring to believe the impossible.”

Later this month, Ms Goldstone will present her model at Optimus Education Inclusion and Wellbeing International Conference in Dubai where she will train others to provide preventative interventions, early identification of risk, rapid assessment of presenting concerns and early stage remedial interventions for students and families in school.

One in eight young people had a mental health difficulty last year, according to a survey published by the NHS.

The survey shows that 12.8 per cent of children aged five to 19, had a child mental health disorder in 2017.

It also highlighted that emotional disorders, including anxiety and depression, have become more common in five to 15-year-olds going from 4.3 per cent in 1999 to 5.8 per cent in 2017, but all other types of mental health disorder, have "remained similar in prevalence" for this age group since 1999.

In reaction to these increases and to mark Children’s Mental Health Week, the Education Secretary Damian Hinds announced on Monday that up to 370 schools in England will take part in a series of trials testing different approaches to supporting young people’s mental health.

Action for Children’s director of policy and campaigns Imran Hussain supported the initiative.

He said: "Every day our frontline services see children and teenagers struggling to get to grips with how they fit into the increasingly complex modern world - contending with things like intense pressure at school, bullying or problems at home, all while being bombarded by social media.

"It’s really encouraging to see the Government taking action to tackle the children’s mental health crisis by trialling different approaches in schools. We know from our own school programmes how vital it is to step in early with support to stop problems in their tracks. Crucially, services like these can lessen the anxiety, pain and anguish that some teens go through, but also reduce their need for intensive support further down the line."