A SCHOOL hosted a mental health week to help children cope with the conundrums of growing up.

Bladon CE Primary School near Woodstock dedicated this entire week of classes to healthy minds and bodies, providing special lessons and activities such as sport and meditation.

PE teacher Matt Gregor, the school’s mental health and wellbeing lead, said: “The era we live in now is very demanding, whether through social media and people comparing themselves, or the stresses of hitting grades - it's a big worry.

"There are more exams and more pressures on what [pupils] want to be when they are older.

"When things arise like exams or making new friends or going to new places, they can use the skillset they have learned.

"If they haven't learned to cope in different situations, when they get to secondary school problems become bigger."

Children still had subject classes as usual, as well as the special activities, but lessons were adapted to deliver a message about mental health.

The week coincided with World Mental Health Day on Wednesday, raising awareness and advocacy against social stigma.

Visitors during the week included a karate instructor called Sensei David, Pound Fit Oxford workout group, an Urban Strides dancer, meditation and yoga teacher Felicity Wood and a nutritionist from the Strength Chef.

One year ago the school started an ongoing project to promote mental health, introducing a relaxation corner and more of a focus on 'growth mindset', a learning theory that is said to teach resilience and reduce stress.

Mr Gregor said the school has close links to the CAMHS (child and adolescent mental health services) in Oxfordshire and also values the importance of exercise, having been named runner-up in the 2017 Sporting Primary School of the year competition.

Bladon's headteacher Tracey Fletcher said the school tries to alleviate the stress of learning where possible - instead of being told they are taking SATs exams in Year 2, pupils are asked to complete the tests as part of 'secret agent training'.

Mrs Fletcher added: "We do our best job to equip children to deal with pressures.We want them to understand emptions and be able to listen to others and empathise.

"Our focus is resilience and helping them to bounce back when things don't go as planned."