Nord Anglia
09 May, 2024

Wellbeing at OICB

A girl smiling with friends
A Well-Rounded Education

At OICB, we firmly believe that the foundation for achieving academic success lies in the health and happiness of each and every student. With this core belief at the forefront of our approach, we have cultivated a culture where wellbeing is not just an afterthought, but rather, it is woven into everything that we do. 

At OICB, we understand that the journey to academic success is not just about achieving top grades; it's about nurturing the holistic development of each individual. We recognise that a well-rounded education encompasses more than just academic achievement. That's why our commitment to wellbeing goes beyond mere support – it’s woven into everything that we do. Our academic curriculum is carefully designed to prioritise student welfare and we encourage students to pursue their passions, explore their interests and take time for self-care. We have implemented a range of initiatives and support services designed to promote positive mental health and foster a sense of belonging among our students. From mindfulness workshops to counselling services, we offer a comprehensive suite of resources to address the diverse needs of our student body, ensuring that every student feels supported, valued, and empowered to thrive.

When talking about our wellbeing approach at OICB, we use the analogy of a stick of Brighton Rock with the word ‘wellbeing’ running through the centre of it. “Whether it is academic excellence, personal development or career preparation, wellbeing runs through the centre of everything that we do”, Jonno Melia, Deputy Principal Pastoral and Wellbeing. The stick of rock represents five steps we follow at OICB to achieve positive wellbeing. Firstly, relate- we encourage one another and create opportunities for social connections. Secondly, observe- we take time to notice our surroundings, taking a break from technology. “Here at OICB we have a lot of greenery and nature and this is extremely important because sometimes you need that escape from all of the hard work and this really helps us to reset our minds and put in 110% again”, Osman, Year 12. Next, care- we give our time to others, we raise money for charity and are involved in the local community. Keep learning- we learn new skills through our Super Curricular and professional development. Lastly, stay active- we take advantage of our location to exercise and remain healthy. “We are surrounded by so much green space it is great for me as I am able to pursue my passion for Football”, Bahri, Year 12.

In our dedication to fostering holistic student development, our approach to wellbeing is made up of five fundamental components: research based, pioneering, student-centred, data-driven and location specific. Firstly, our commitment to evidence-based practices ensures that every aspect of our wellbeing initiatives are grounded in thorough research and proven methodologies, guaranteeing the effectiveness and reliability of our approach. We collect and analyse data from House Parents and Tutors on every student through our online system and input this through the Cambridge Wellbeing Check. Secondly, we pride ourselves on being pioneers in the field of student wellbeing, constantly exploring innovative strategies and embracing new technologies to address the evolving needs of our student community. Moreover, our student-centered approach places the individual student at the heart of our efforts, tailoring our support services and resources to meet their unique needs and preferences. We have a dedicated counsellor, wellbeing centre and staff committed to pastoral care to assist students with anything they need. Additionally, our data-driven approach allows us to continuously monitor and evaluate the impact of our wellbeing programme, enabling us to make informed decisions and refine our strategies. Finally, our location-specific approach recognises the unique environmental factors that influence student wellbeing. We encourage our students to take advantage of their natural surroundings and we are privileged to be next to the South Downs National Park and a short walk from the beach. “In order to relax our minds, we students take advantage of the nature around us. I usually go on wellness walks around the coast and countryside. This helps me to think about different things and look at things in a new perspective”, Viki, Year 12.

In an ever-evolving world where the pressures of academic study can sometimes feel overwhelming, OICB is committed to fostering a nurturing environment that prioritises the holistic wellbeing of our students. Beyond the pursuit of academic excellence, we firmly believe that supporting the emotional, social, and mental health needs of our students is paramount to their overall success. At the heart of our approach lies a robust pastoral system that provides unwavering support to every member of our college community. Our dedicated pastoral system, comprised of experienced tutors, counsellors and support staff, ensures that students have access to a network of support and guidance whenever they need it. Whether it's through one-on-one counselling sessions, group workshops, or informal check-ins, our pastoral team is here to listen, empathise, and empower students to navigate life's challenges with resilience and confidence. ”I think OICB supports student wellbeing very well because we have a wellbeing centre where the counsellor always has her doors open for us whenever we need to talk”, Anson, Year 10.

We understand that living and studying away from home can be difficult, which is why students are supported by a team of experts. Led by our dedicated boarding team, we strive to create an environment where students feel safe, supported and empowered to thrive. Beyond offering essential academic and pastoral support, our boarding team goes above and beyond to make the boarding experience enjoyable and enriching for our students. “In the boarding house we do fun nights such as bingo night, pizza night or baking cakes and it makes living here very fun”, Cheryl L, Year 12. From organising exciting weekend activities to encouraging community-building events on campus, every effort is made to ensure that boarding life is fun and fulfilling. By nurturing a warm and inclusive atmosphere within our boarding houses, we aim to create a home away from home where students can grow, learn and create memories that will last a lifetime.

From the moment students step onto our campus, they are greeted with a warm and inclusive atmosphere that fosters a sense of belonging and acceptance, signalling our commitment to nurturing a community where everyone feels valued, respected and supported. “The community here is really welcoming and everyone is nice” Cheryl, Year 10. Whether it is a friendly smile from a fellow student or the inviting atmosphere of our campus facilities, every aspect of our college is designed to cultivate a sense of belonging and connection. Through community building events, mentorship programmes and peer support initiatives, we strive to create opportunities for students to build strong bonds and find their place within our college community.

At OICB, our students enjoy a well-balanced diet, recognising that a healthy mind and body are essential for academic success and overall happiness. Central to our approach is the promotion of a well-balanced diet and regular physical activity. We are committed to providing nutritious dining options that fuel both the mind and body, with fresh, locally sourced ingredients and diverse menu choices to cater to all dietary preferences and requirements. Additionally, we encourage students to embrace an active lifestyle by offering a wide range of sports and fitness activities, from team sports like football and basketball to individual pursuits such as Archery or the Gym. The diverse range of Super Curricular activities, clubs, and societies provide opportunities for students to explore their passions, develop new skills, and forge lifelong friendships—all of which are crucial for a healthy and balanced lifestyle. Through these initiatives, we aim to instil lifelong habits of healthy eating and regular exercise, empowering our students to lead vibrant, fulfilling lives both during their time at College and beyond.

We understand that each student is unique, with individual needs, strengths and challenges. That’s why our approach to student wellbeing is anything but one-size fits all. We believe in personalised and proactive support, tailoring our interventions and resources to meet the specific needs and preferences of each student. “I feel like the College supports my wellbeing because teachers catch-up with us regularly and ask how we are feeling. If we are overwhelmed they will support us by asking us if we need to book an appointment to see the counsellor or if we need extra support on our studies” Christine, Year 12. Whether it’s academic support, mental health support or Super Curricular opportunities, we take the time to listen, understand, and respond to the diverse needs of our student body. Our dedicated team of support staff and tutors work hard to provide individualised guidance, encouragement and resources to help students navigate their college journey with confidence and resilience. By fostering a culture of care and collaboration, we empower every student to thrive.

Overall, our college’s dedication to placing wellbeing at the forefront of everything that we do underscores our commitment to nurturing not just academic success, but also resilient and fulfilled individuals. By placing health and happiness at the centre of everything that we do, we create an environment where students can succeed both academically and personally, enabling each student to reach their full potential.