AN ARTS psychotherapist is helping staff at a Dorset school to see the bigger picture when it comes to improving pupils’ mental health.

Now Canford Heath Junior School has been nationally recognised as a good practice case study by the Department of Education.

Jodun Dunseath started working at the Poole school three years ago but, when the funds ran out, staff had seen such value in her work that they were determined to maintain the service through the Pupil Premium allowance, which allows schools to support more vulnerable families.

Headteacher Kate Carter said: “The feedback we have received has been overwhelmingly positive.

“One of our very vulnerable pupils is noticeably calmer and is less angry at life now. His behaviour, attitude and disposition has been much more positive.”

Ms Carter added: “Kate Middleton, on a recent visit to a school where they had an art therapist, said she believed every school should have one. We are proud that we do and that our children, particularly the ones who really need more help and support than most, can achieve their very best and most importantly, feel happy inside.”

Jodun explains that art psychotherapy uses creativity as a way of communication through drama, clay, painting and art materials.

“It is not about being good at art – it is about helping them to find a new language.

“It gives the power of expression to those who cannot express themselves verbally.

“And there is a greater need for this than ever as there is so much more pressure on children through social media and family breakdown.

“If a child has emotional baggage they can lose their motivation to learn.”

Jodun added: “It’s a hard job at times but it has many rewards, especially when you can bring about change, not just in a child’s education, but also their emotional well being and family relationships too.”