On Friday, we supported and celebrated #HelloYellow with Young Minds, a charity committed to supporting the mental health of young people.

Lockdown has had a devastating effect on children and young people’s mental health and we have seen this at school with some students and staff struggling to make the transition back into full time school or work. However, we can be so proud of our community and the way in which it has helped, cared and lifted these individuals. At TS we live by a very simple message: your mental health is as important as your physical health so speak up and look after one another. In Head’s Assembly this week our Heads of School spoke with real warmth and pride about the community they lead and serve and how pupil wellbeing is at the top of their agenda for change. They were ably support by Max, Head of House in Goodland and Ben, a Year 12 student who wanted to share his story and how he has used sport to help him cope with anxiety. As Young Minds comment, it’s been unbelievably hard, but together, we can make a difference and show young people they are not alone.

The issue of mental health sits at the heart of a wider educational debate: how should schools respond to COVID?

This summer saw the death of one of the most important and influential educationalists, Sir Ken Robinson. His renowned TED talk, ‘Do Schools Kill Creativity?’ has been viewed over 50 million times and his book, ‘Out of Our Minds’, has sold 500,000 copies just in the UK. The central theme- great schools place creativity at the heart of their curriculum – had me thinking before we returned in September: can TS teach its pupils to be happy and if so, what role does creativity have in this? In our consumer society, happiness has become a transaction which never seems to deliver: buy this product and you will (finally) be happy. The truth is that mental health concerns are mushrooming and personal happiness seems to be ever harder to find. However, if you believe in the value of creativity then you also value a developing culture in which all individuals can find their own solutions to problems if they feel comfortable and empowered to do so. Indeed, if we have that positive mindset and we realise that it is OK to fail then we start to realise that the journey to lasting happiness is precisely that: it is a journey, not a destination.

Ed Burnett, Senior Deputy Head