HOMEWORK has been suspended for the summer for hundreds of pupils at a Bournemouth grammar school.

The move is one of a number of measures being introduced to promote mental well-being at Bournemouth School for Girls.

Students in Years 7-9 will have homework suspended for the summer term, apart from work to prepare for summer exams.

Pupils in Years 7-10 will be asked to go outside and get some fresh air for half an hour at lunch time and a mile-long path will be marked out around the school to encourage pupils and staff to get more exercise.

Outdoor benches and table tennis tables will also be installed at a cost of £3,000 thanks to the fund raising efforts of the Parent School Association.

Head teacher Alistair Brien said: "We have been doing a lot of thinking and planning this year about how we further encourage good mental well-being amongst our pupils. "We strongly believe that promoting happiness, resilience and good health are key to not only academic success but also in producing well-rounded young people ready to go out and make a difference in the world."

Many pupils at the school have been involved in lessons based on mindfulness as part of a nationwide project in association with Oxford University.

It is part of a five year research project looking at the possible benefits of using strategies to promote the use of mindfulness.

Mr Brien said a lot of parents recently attended a well-being evening where they heard from speakers on subjects such as supporting girls’ wellbeing, eating disorders and mindfulness.

He added: "We had some very positive feedback on the evening and are planning future evenings to help inform parents about this vital topic. In the summer term we will be introducing some practical measures to support pupils to get outside, get active and achieve a sensible balance with their work."

Speaking about the reduction in homework he added: "We hope that this will enable girls to have more free time out of school to engage in hobbies, sport and activities which they might otherwise feel they do not have time for.

"We would ask parents to encourage girls to take up this opportunity and to use their homework diary to record how they are using their (hopefully increased) leisure time."

The new initiatives will be reviewed at the end of the summer term and parents will be asked for their feedback.