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Much will have changed by the time schools reopen after lockdown and, more than ever, wellbeing will be the focus as staff and students return to new rules, routines and learning with social distancing in place.

As part of NetSupport Radio’s recent live broadcast, our guests shared their experiences and thoughts on what schools will need to consider or implement to look after staff and students’ mental health – and shared some ideas of what they are already doing to combat isolation.

For this topic, we heard from Kelly Hannaghan (Wellbeing Associate), James Donaldson (Dean of Learner Journey at Cardiff and Vale College ), Sarah Griffiths (Deputy Head at Caterham School), Professor Jonathan Glazzard (Professor of Mental Health, Wellbeing and Inclusion in Education at Leeds Beckett University) and Henry Platten (founder of GoBubble and eCadets).

This was an interesting segment, full of initiatives and ideas for communicating with students and staff, planning for the ‘future normal’ and their reintegration. Kelly warned that as education won’t function as we knew it for a long time yet, pupils and staff need to be prepared for things like separation anxiety after being with their parents for so long – and some will have to, unfortunately, be prepared for dealing with bereavement.

James talked about his college’s AI helper for wellbeing (the WellBot) and Sarah explained how her school is helping to look after parents’ wellbeing too, by running wellbeing webinars and activities that promote a sense of community, such as a Saturday night virtual family pub quiz! Jonathan talked about the importance of providing chances for his university students to ‘meet’ virtually to maintain motivation –  and Henry commented that GoBubble (his social media platform for under-13s) is seeing friendships and connections being strengthened as children share experiences and creativity.

To listen to this discussion topic, click here.

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