The End of an Unusual Academic Year.
Here we are at the Summer holidays. Another academic year has come to an end. And what an academic year it has been. A year I think a lot of young people will not forget for a long time and a year that will impact the lives of so may young people for a long time. We might think that the young people in our communities would have loved being off school. Not having to get up in the morning. Not having to attend lessons in school. Not having to do the amount of work they would normally do in a school week. But actually, this period of lockdown will have had a profound impact on a lot of young people. The National Youth Agency predict that an additional 2 million young people will have emerging needs as a result of COVID:19. That is a lot of young people. And within the first few weeks of lockdown Young Minds reported that 84% of young people with existing mental health needs reported worse mental health following school closures. Believe me when I say this pandemic will have had a major impact on our young people. As I write this, I think of the year 11 pupils worried about their GCSE results – will they be enough to get them into the next stage of their education? Will it be based on merit or a computer algorithm? I think of the year 6’s who will be going up to high school in September who would not have had the normal transition preparation afforded to previous year groups. And I think of those that for no fault of their own have not had a pleasant lockdown at home. So, what can we do? Well firstly I think we need to talk to our young people. Find out how they are REALLY feeling. Find out from them how lockdown has been for them. Listen to them and come alongside them. Secondly, if you need help and advice don’t be afraid to seek it. There are many organisations that can help. One is www.kooth.com. They offer free, safe, online support. Also speak to your schools. In all the schools there are people that can support and help. They are all aware of the situation and will have received training and advice to be able to help young people post Covid:19 Lockdown. Finally, TheO6 has a mentoring scheme to support young people. It provides a trusted adult for young people to build an appropriate relationship with – someone who can listen and support. Have a great summer everyone. Have a great time as families – be there for each other and talk about how you are feeling. Let this summer be a time of refreshing and repairing.