Up and down the country, there will be teams of senior leaders and teachers getting together (from a safe distance!) to discuss what school will look like come September. So how on earth do we start the process of prepping for September with children who have been away from school for over five months?
Pupil wellbeing is high on the agenda for educators as the phased return to school begins. Indicators such as Young Minds Charity are telling us that there is a growing need for mental health support. The Children’s Commissioner Anne Longfield shared her views that all schools would need to have an onsite councillor to help manage the current children and young people’s mental health crisis in the return from lockdown. Only today the DFE have announced that pupil mental health and wellbeing needs to be a priority for the school reintegration process. So, what can educators do to prepare for this additional support for young people’s mental health as the country moves out of the pandemic?
I had just finished a phone call with a parent of a Year 6 student joining our school in September. I had asked her how she and her child were feeling about the transition to high school. For twenty minutes, she had shared a lot of the typical concerns. However, there were also concerns more unique to the moment, including her child not having a ‘usual transition’.
When Boris Johnson announced the lockdown at 8pm on Monday 23rd March, I wept. I was relieved to know that I wouldn’t go home after a busy day of teaching 150 different children feeling terrified at the possibility of bringing death into my home. But after suffering from postnatal depression last year following the birth of my first child, I was shaken with the dawning familiarity of feeling trapped and isolated. The prospect of being confined within my home with my needs coming far below those of my child, husband and students, left me panicked.
My Grandma was becoming a teenager at the start of the second world war. Now in her nineties and ensconced in a lovely care home in South Devon she plays the role of an aging matriarch from an Agatha Christie novel to a tee. With several biblical resurrections to her name I am beginning to wonder whether she will outlive me, let alone the generation between us.