Now lockdown lessons are firmly underway again Barnardo’s is launching a website to help teachers support their pupils who may be experiencing mental health and wellbeing issues.
Called Barnardo’s Education Community (BEC) the site is aimed at teachers, lecturers and staff working in the education sector.
Its aim is to be a ‘one stop shop’ where educators can go for trauma-informed resources, support and advice about how to help children and young people cope with any issues they are experiencing.
Crucially there is also a selection of resources for education professionals with a focus on both their wellbeing and that of their department.
These will help them deal with the immense strain they are under in managing their own experiences, while also coping with the impact of secondary trauma through supporting children and young people.
Visitors to the site, which launches today (January 21), will find useful materials about how best to support pupils who are experiencing feelings of loss, grief and bereavement, including the impact of trauma, because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Funding for the BEC came from a generous grant from the Westminster Foundation, which has made £12.5m of funding available since the start of the pandemic to charities and community organisations tackling the repercussions of coronavirus.
But the website will not stop when the lockdown restrictions are relaxed. Instead the content within BEC will be continuously evolving to meet the ever changing needs of children, young people and educators.
A key part of this evolution will be the ‘community of practice’ section of the site where visitors will be able to take part in facilitated and peer-led discussions about current and emerging topics.
These discussion forums will provide the opportunity for education professionals to discuss and share best practice at a nationwide level.
And people who participate in these discussions will also be helping shape the site and its content because the Barnardo’s team will be creating resources to help educators deal with these emerging issues.
Uniquely, on top of all this, BEC includes free access to video, webinar and audio training on the resources, as well in-person training where necessary.
Barnardo’s Chief Executive Javed Khan said: “As a former teacher I know just how difficult it can be to support children who are struggling with challenges at home or a history of trauma.
“In the age of COVID this is so much harder, with many children falling behind in their learning during the lockdowns, facing anxiety and mental health problems, and worrying about their parents’ jobs or their grandparents’ health. On top of all this teachers are facing huge pressures personally and professionally.
“This is why I’m delighted to be launching Barnardo’s Education Community today, with vital health and wellbeing resources to support educators at this uniquely difficult time.
“I’d urge all education staff to treat this as your community. Take part in online discussions with your peers and bookmark the page on your browser so it is always there when you need help.
“And if there are any resources you need but cannot see on there already then get in touch and we’ll work on creating them for you. The goal is for the site to be constantly evolving to meet your needs."
The Duke of Westminster, Hugh Grosvenor, who Chairs the Westminster Foundation, said:
“We may not know for some time the true extent of anxiety and trauma that children are experiencing through the pandemic, but we do know that changes to education have placed teachers and families under immense strain as they try to support children adapt or come to terms with the negative consequences of Covid.
"We also know that lockdown learning has a greater impact on the more vulnerable children in society as they face the real possibility of poor mental health compounding their existing disadvantages.
"We shouldn’t assume that education professionals can simply react to this without any extra help, on top of the many existing challenges they face. I’m proud the Westminster Foundation’s support has helped create the Barnardo’s Education Community and hope it will become a vital resource to everyone in the education sector.”
Visit Barnardo’s Education Community at www.educators-barnardos.org.uk