Three schools in Renfrewshire have been honoured for their efforts to put children’s emotional wellbeing at the heart of all they do.

Model School status has been awarded to St Margaret’s Primary, in Johnstone, Bishopton Primary and Todholm Primary, in Paisley, in recognition of their commitment to the PATHS programme.

Supported by children’s charity Barnardo’s, PATHS stands for ‘promoting alternative thinking strategies’ and helps to improve the mental health of primary school pupils by developing self-control, emotional awareness and problem-solving skills.

The three primaries have successfully implemented the programme within everyday school life over the past four years, with a particular focus on continued efforts to prioritise children’s wellbeing during recent lockdowns.

Gillian Miller, headteacher at St Margaret’s Primary, said: “We are delighted to receive such a strong accolade for our engagement with the PATHS programme.

“It has had a hugely positive impact on all of our pupils and has involved our families too.

“A lot of this positive impact is due to the dedication of Caroline Varendonck, our health and wellbeing project leader, who has been tenacious in her vision for the programme in St Margaret’s.”

Bishopton Primary headteacher Wendy McNaught added: “We are extremely proud to receive this award, which recognises the hard work of staff, pupils and the wider school community.

“A big thank-you also goes to Kristy Fotheringham, our Barnardo’s co-ordinator, who has supported us so well on this journey.”

And Aileen Cochrane, headteacher at Todholm Primary, said: “As a result of the programme, the children are appearing more confident and more able to navigate difficult situations and conflict.”

Elaine Britton, children’s services manager at Barnardo’s, has praised all three schools for their efforts.

She told The Gazette: “The management teams and teachers have shown such commitment to prioritising children’s emotional and social learning within their classrooms each and every day, and they are really seeing the results from doing this.

“Over the past year in particular, when the focus on mental health for all has never been more important, the schools have remained committed to running the ethos of the programme consistently through everything they do.

“This programme is all about early intervention and prevention, supporting children and young people at the earliest point to stop more serious problems arising. Some of the benefits seen for children include being able to regulate their emotions and make better choices about their behaviour, improved self-esteem and relationships, as well as the whole school approach benefitting school staff and parents.”

Other schools in Renfrewshire to previously have been awarded Model School status include St Anthony’s Primary, in Johnstone.

For more information about the programme, visit Paths Education.