Over the course of the week I have been recording screencasts for each year group about how to keep themselves safe over the next few weeks.
During the first lockdown the national picture was saddening with significant issues around social isolation, anxiety and vulnerability for children as their physical lives were shattered and moved almost exclusively online. Indeed, a harrowing report on Radio 4 today highlighted how vulnerable some children became as they were exploited on-line.
It is not surprising that calls to Childline are up 13% this year. There are many things we can be proud of from the first lockdown: the quality of lessons, the breadth of the co-curricular programme and Mr Sestaret’s cooking! However, the most telling was the strength of our community and how we all pulled together to support one another. This lockdown will offer the same challenges but our pupils will remain cared for in the same inclusive and warm manner and they will be able to seek help in numerous ways at school through their house system – tutor, Housemaster or Housemistress or through the many trained Peer Mentors of House Prefects – or through the health centre: once again, none of the front line nurses, mental health nurses or counsellors have been furloughed. If pupils would prefer to find support outside of school there are numerous excellent charities which continue to be an important route towards help – Childline, Kooth, Young Minds – whilst mainstream health services continue to offer invaluable support. Whichever route our young people take it is vital that we remind them of the importance of talking through their problems and in school, they will be listened to in a non-judgmental manner.
Ed Burnett, Senior Deputy Head & Designated