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As pupils return to school, we want to ensure that the lessons learnt from remote learning don’t get lost.
When the country entered the third national lockdown and pupils once again transitioned to remote learning, we put some serious consideration into how our schools could support the wellbeing of families during the period, aware of the challenges they faced.
Through conversations with parents, we established that many were concerned about the mental wellbeing of their children during the lockdown and were struggling with strategies to support them.
The Trust decided to reach out to local charity, the Youth Mental Health Foundation, which offered lots of helpful resources, as well as live family sessions where families could discuss challenges they were facing and receive advice on how to manage them.
Alongside this, we recognised that a lot of parents were feeling isolated due to limited connectivity with other adults, particularly other parents. We decided to offer ‘Care and Share’ sessions to parents, giving them a safe, supportive space to talk and share experiences of how they were dealing with the lockdown.
One parent fed back: “I am so grateful for the Care and Share sessions. They have been really useful and helped me to see that I am not alone. It was lovely to see other parents too as I am on my own at home and sometimes don’t even see another adult all week.”
Meanwhile, pupils were similarly encouraged to keep in touch with their friends and teachers as much as possible, beyond a purely academic capacity. In order to help pupils feel connected, daily live sessions were put on which focused on reading stories and talking through how to stay positive during this period.
Pupils were also offered ‘screen free Fridays’, which gave them the chance to do some exploring and focus on creative outlets, away from technology. One parent reported that this time really helped their family to stay creative and motivated at home.
Despite the undoubted challenges of lockdown, 89% of families across the Learning Academy Partnership schools reported that their children were coping well. As restrictions begin to ease, the Trust is determined that these practices and focus on mental health and wellbeing continue to be a priority.
Our Trust provides a first-class education to its pupils across the South West and has done so since it was founded ten years ago. The Trust is rated the best Multi Academy Trust in the country for the performance of disadvantaged children and in the Top 10 Trusts nationally for the progress that children make.
Miss Cleverly, Interim Chief Executive of the Learning Academy Partnership, said:
“Although the past year has certainly had its challenges, there is nevertheless a lot we have learnt and a lot we can take away from the experience. Lockdown has shone a light on the importance of looking after our mental health and wellbeing, and I am proud that the Learning Academy Partnership champions these in its culture.
“In many ways, through the pandemic our Trust community has been brought closer together and people have reached out and got to know one another better. As we welcome pupils back to the classroom this week, we want to build on the steps we have taken and continue to be a source of support for the whole community.”