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Sancton Wood School partners with Cambridge United to support boys’ mental health





Sancton Wood School has partnered with Cambridge United Football Club (CUFC) to launch the Sancton Wood Supporters’ Club, a pastoral support initiative for boys and fathers. Together they have developed a full programme of talks and events aimed at helping parents support their teenage children, with a particular focus on Years 7, 8 and 9.

Sancton Wood School has partnered with Cambridge United Football Club to launch the Sancton Wood Supporters’ Club, a pastoral support initiative for boys and fathers. Picture: Sancton Wood School
Sancton Wood School has partnered with Cambridge United Football Club to launch the Sancton Wood Supporters’ Club, a pastoral support initiative for boys and fathers. Picture: Sancton Wood School

Sancton Wood School in Cambridge is a co-ed, all-through school renowned for its exceptional pastoral care. Happy children are learning children, and this paves the way for their excellent results, having recently been ranked seventh in the Sunday Times for their GCSE results. The school knows that their responsibility to pupils doesn’t end at the school gates and caring for every child and their wider family is deeply engrained in the school’s ethos.

Sancton Wood have run PSHE programmes aimed at supporting girls’ wellbeing for a while, but when they turned to similar projects for boys, found that the wider provision available was lacking. In creating the Supporters’ Club they can now offer a more involved, therapeutic approach to the pastoral care of boys which includes their parents and other positive role models.

The Supporters’ Club includes a PSHE programme for boys delivered by CUFC, a series of parent talks open to everyone in Cambridge and some match day events for fathers and sons. A ‘lads and dads’ residential will take place in the summer term 2022.

The PSHE lessons are part of CUFC’s collaborative ‘Mind Your Head’ programme which uses the powerful platform of sport and professional football to capture young people’s attention regarding the importance of good mental health. Topics covered with students include banter and bullying, social media and self-image, the benefits of opening up and non-violent communication.

The parenting talks are being hosted by Sancton Wood and delivered by trained family therapists on topics such as ‘What does your boy need from you’ – a focus on the changing teenage mind and body; sex and relationships; becoming the referee – setting successful boundaries as a parent; and teenage friendships. You can book to attend at sanctonwood.co.uk/2022/02/11/supportersclub/.

Sancton Wood specifically chose to work with a football club. Many clubs are doing work around mental health because it’s generally accepted that male mental health is in need and CUFC are keen to work with schools - it’s been a happy meeting in the middle.



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