Conversations on Empathy: Sarah Smith (Hele's School)

I recently met with Sarah Smith, Head of Personal Development at Hele’s School Plymouth, for a conversation on connected learning in school. As well as discussing some of the insights that ThoughtBox can offer to school communities, Sarah shared some of the inspiring work already happening at Hele’s, and some of the strategies and initiatives that have been introduced to support more empathic engagement and emotional health within the community.
Here are just a few of them:

The Great Get Together Day

The RS department at Hele’s School organised a ‘Great Get-together Day’ in honour of the life of Jo Cox, MP killed in 2016.  The idea of the day was to bring people together, with the invitation extended out to students, parents and local community members. The theme of the day was to celebrate the fact that “we have more in common than that which divides us” and diversity was the focus of many of the discussions happening midst the tea drinking and cake eating. 


Acts of Kindness
The RS and PD department have introduced termly challenges across the school, such as ’40 Acts of Kindness’ – a chance for students to engage in simple acts that cost them nothing but that mean a great deal to others.

For more ideas and inspiration on promoting random acts of kindness in your community, why not take a look here:

Kooth is an online counselling and emotional well-being platform for children and young people. The service is designed to make sure that every child and young person can access the mental health and emotional well-being support they need.

Hele’s School have been using this programme for a while. Installed as a simple application on every computer in the school, students can anonymously click on the link and access a range of options to support their needs, from a quick chat with a councellor to a chance to read stories about other young people’s experience. It is also an application that they can use on their phone or own computer.


Rolled out in many schools across Plymouth, this is part of an initiative aiming to integrate a number of mental health services to create a blended model that ensures early intervention and stops young people from slipping through the mental health net. 

Find out more at or take a look at the video below.

Thank you to Sarah for sharing just a taste of some of the inspiring work that is happening at Hele's School, Plymouth. 

Rachel MussonComment