Student wellbeing: Teachers offered specialist support

Written by: Pete Henshaw | Published:
Image: Adobe Stock

Teachers are being offered free access to specialist support to help them talk to students about the pandemic, managing anxiety and related wellbeing issues.


The See, Hear, Respond Partnership – led by charity Barnardo’s and funded by the Department for Education (DfE) – is offering a range of resources for those working with children as well as a telephone helpline.

Meanwhile, in a separate initiative, charity Place2Be has launched online training focused on children’s mental health, which is to be made available to 50,000 UK teachers.

Earlier this year, Barnardo’s warned about the potential “trauma gap” between young people who may cope well with the return to the classroom and others who are now struggling to cope for various reasons because of the effects of Covid-19 and the lockdown.

It says that any teacher, child, young person, parent or carer can call the See, Hear, Respond support line (0800 157 7015) to request help.

See, Hear, Respond is there to support children with anxiety disorders, whether they be general or related to specific issues. It is also looking to support children transitioning to secondary school as well as those who have been excluded from mainstream schools.

A statement from Barnardo’s said: “It brings together all the people required to help a child return to school, to identify the practical and emotional support they need. Trained therapists work closely with children, parents or carers, and their school, to help them get back in the classroom. They can also do group work with classes or specific groups of children.”

The partnership includes Action for Children, The Children’s Society and 55 local charities, which will deliver support where needed, for individuals or groups.

The Place2Be training offer, meanwhile, has been funded by grants from from Morgan Stanley and the Law Family Charitable Foundation (LFCF).

Teachers can register for the Mental Health Champions foundation programme online and the course offers expert support to help build skills and capacity for supporting positive mental health in schools.

Place2Be is a children's mental health charity providing school-based support and training. More than 3,300 teachers and other professionals took part in a pilot of the programme during lockdown, with 93 per cent saying that they have changed their actions, behaviour or attitude in the classroom as a result of something that they learned on the course.

Both charities also published research ahead of the return to school this week highlighting concerns about the mental health impact of Covid-19.

Barnardo’s survey, involving more than 1,000 parents of school-age children, found that 23 per cent said their children were nervous about going back to the classroom; one in 10 said their children were scared.

At the same time, survey results published by Place2Be find that of more than 1,500 teachers and school staff polled, only 34 per cent feel confident in being able to recognise mental health and emotional wellbeing problems from the behaviour of their pupils.

Just one in five (21 per cent) are confident about tools or strategies to recognise and support emotional problems among pupils.

Barnardo’s chief executive Javed Khan said: “See, Hear, Respond is there to help families address challenges such as anxiety, so children can get back to the classroom, and on the road to a positive future. Specially trained staff from Barnardo’s and other charities are available through our See, Hear, Respond service to support them, and I urge teachers to get in touch if any of their pupils are struggling.”

Catherine Roche, chief executive of Place2Be, added: “Teachers play a crucial role in helping to normalise difficult feelings and promoting positive ways to look after our mental health, as well as spotting the signs when a child might be struggling and need professional help. There has never been a more important time for teachers to feel equipped and confident in their roles.”

  • For further information and the See, Hear, Respond resources hub, visit www.barnardos.org.uk/see-hear-respond
  • Any teacher, child, young person, parent or carer can call the See, Hear, Respond support line on 0800 157 7015 to request help. It is open Monday-Friday from 9am-9pm and at weekends from 10am-6pm.
  • Children, young people, carers and parents can find further support from Barnardo’s at www.barnardos.org.uk/c19
  • For more information on the Place2Be Mental Health Champions training, visit www.place2be.org.uk/foundation


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