The last six months have been extremely unsettling for all young people as schools shut, public examinations cancelled, team sports and group activities stopped, extended family and friends distanced and all semblance of leading a normal teenage social life disappeared. It is therefore no surprise, that some children are struggling with the thought of returning to the new normal.
As the Royal Hospital School prepares to re-open this September, robust COVID-19 health and safety measures have been put in place to reduce the risk to the whole school community but the School is also equipping its staff to support young people on their return after such a long period away from school.
Zoë King, Deputy Head (Pastoral) explains:
"We have trained 25 teachers and 13 pastoral and support staff in Mental Health First Aid with the aim of empowering them to notice signs of mental ill health, and encourage them to break down barriers, listen in a non-judgemental way, and signpost vulnerable young people towards professional support either at school or from home. This is one the largest number of staff to be trained in this way in any school in the country and I believe it will heighten awareness and knowledge about mental health issues.
In addition, I will be running staff workshops just prior to the beginning of term to focus specifically on supporting both day pupils and boarders coming back into the school environment and dealing with complications associated with the Covid-19 pandemic. With 500 full boarders, some of whom are a long distance from home, we feel that this extra layer of support and awareness is vital".