Earlier this week The Duchess of Cambridge, Patron of Place2Be, spoke one-on-one with teachers from Ribbon Academy in County Durham about the important work they have been doing during the pandemic to support children and their families, and thanked them for their efforts.
Ribbon Academy and Place2Be have been working in partnership since 2002 to provide teachers and school staff with the tools they need to support children and parents’ mental health, as well as their own.
During the call, which took place during Children’s Mental Health Week, Her Royal Highness asked the teachers some quick fire questions, hearing from Head Teacher Ashleigh Sheridan and teachers Hannah Rispin and Louise Tweedie about how children have been faring during the pandemic, and the ways in which Place2Be supports the wellbeing of the whole school community, including teachers. Earlier this week children at Ribbon Academy took part in a Place2Be Children’s Mental Health Week activity to express themselves through art, and drawings from the school were showcased on Kensington Palace’s social channels.
The Duchess also spoke to Chris Reay, a High Level Teaching and Learning Partner, who attended Place2Be sessions as a child after a traumatic life event, and is now working at the school as an adult. Reay is one of five members of teaching staff who have completed Place2Be’s Mental Health Champions Foundation Programme in the last five months. The fully funded training programme has been made accessible to 50,000 UK teachers and school staff this year and provides a five week course on factors that contribute to positive mental health, what a child’s behaviour might be communicating about their underlying needs, and the importance of positive mental health for the adults around a child.
Speaking to Chris Reay, The Duchess of Cambridge said: “You play such a vital role in looking after our children. It’s so important that you’re looked after too and have the appropriate networks and support systems to make sure you can really do the best job you possible can. I’m really glad that Place2Be is there [for you]. They’re needed across the country more now than ever. I wanted to say a massive thank you to teachers across the country for doing fantastic jobs. It’s been really hard work but please look after yourselves.”
To mark the start of Children’s Mental Health Week, The Duchess of Cambridge sent a message of support encouraging children and parents to find ways to share their thoughts and feelings, which is particularly important during this challenging time. The Duchess also highlighted the crucial need for parents and carers to look after their own mental wellbeing, and the impact that this has on the children in their care.