Miss Péchard has been recognised with an award by the mental health charity Mind. Miss Péchard won the Senior Leader Award at Mind's 2018/19 Workplace Wellbeing Awards on 30th April, for tirelessly improving mental health literacy among both staff and pupils, resulting in a kinder environment for staff, pupils and parents.
Miss Péchard has worked at Norwich School for nine years and is currently Principal Deputy head responsible for the day-to-day running of the school as well as its pastoral care, including safeguarding; overseeing the counselling and welfare provision.
She had built up considerable experience working with pupils, parents and staff who have experienced poor mental health. Miss Péchard has worked hard to encourage a more open approach, ensuring that there is a collaborative approach to supporting families and a solid and expanding network in place to support the school's initiatives. Motivated by cases, many early in her career, where those with poor mental health had a paucity of options and often at the most critical of times.
Miss Péchard has had a profound impact on the culture of Norwich School by addressing the topic openly and in a non-judgemental way with families. The language surrounding mental health issues and treatment of those experiencing difficulty has softened, which has set a powerful model. She has pushed for and extended the provision of professional counsellors, introduced supervision for staff handling complex pastoral cases and driven forward with pastoral training for all staff and regular information sharing with parents and pupils on the well-being. She has also been enthusiastic in advancing the welfare of colleagues and supported the school’s initiatives here. Perhaps most importantly Miss Péchard always makes time to discuss issues and help colleagues find space and time at key moments so they have options and solutions, it is a real strength. Colleagues often cite that the harder the situation the better Miss Péchard gets.
Miss Péchard speaks regularly at conferences and training programmes for middle managers in pastoral positions in independent schools. She enjoys this work in supporting the next generation of leaders with their careers so that they set up the right culture in schools where we are proactive in responding to the wellbeing and mental health agenda. Miss Péchard leaves Norwich School this year to take up her post at Head at St Margaret’s School in Bushey.
On receiving the award, Miss Péchard said: “I am delighted to be receiving this award. It is such an important area of my work and one, due to confidentiality, that we often cannot shout about. My thanks to all those that work with me, inside and outside Norwich School, to make this such a rewarding and collaborative part of my role”.
Miss Péchard was nominated by a teacher at Norwich School, they said: “I’m thrilled that Miss Péchard has been recognised with this Award. The impact of her hard work on mental health issues and wellbeing has resulted in a kinder working environment. A vastly improved understanding of the pupil’s needs: clear guidance to support our pupils: a better understanding of how the wider society impacts on our pupils’ lives, particularly social media awareness. Her good work has influenced the improved communications with parents, pupils and teachers in the school.
“Miss Péchard has gone above and beyond – even personally visiting the homes of pupils experiencing mental health issues at school. She has offered counselling to parents alongside pupils who I know have valued this kind of support tremendously. She has influenced other senior management members giving way to a more understanding environment. Her hard work and dedication to the pupils has resulted in pupils being able to return to school after serious illness including bulimia, anorexia and self-harming.”
Norwich School achieved a Committed to Action award at the Workplace Wellbeing Awards in recognition for their commitment to workplace wellbeing, meaning they are well on their journey to creating a mentally healthy workplace.
Mind’s Workplace Wellbeing Awards are a benchmark of best policy and practice, celebrating the good work employers are doing to promote and support positive mental health, and providing key recommendations on the specific areas where there is room to improve.
This year marked the third annual Awards, with over 100 organisations taking part. The ceremony took place at The Ham Yard Hotel in Soho, Central London, and was hosted by TV presenter and Mind Ambassador Anna Williamson.