565 Service - Information for schools
The role of schools and colleges
During this period of social distancing it can be very difficult for children, young people and families to feel connected to their support networks. Schools and colleges act as community hubs for a large number of families. With many closing or operating with minimal staff and very few students, the supportive nature of schools is significantly reduced. The coronavirus pandemic and the resulting death toll creates community wide feelings of loss and bereavement and schools have a vital role in supporting families. This can be achieved by:
‣ Trying to stay connected with families
Those already been receiving pastoral support before schools closed are especially in need of additional care. Regular calls from appropriate staff members to ‘check in’ with families during social distancing can make a huge difference in feeling connected and supported. There are also many additional services that are available to help those in need during the pandemic.
- Domestic violence
- Lighthouse Women’s Aid- Call 01473 228270 for advice
- Young carers
- Suffolk Family Carers- Call the information hub - 01473 835477
- Mental health
- Suffolk Children and Young People’s Emotional Wellbeing Hub- Call 0345 600 2090
‣ Keeping the school work consistent with normal learning
During the ‘lockdown’, where many parents are adapting to an element of ‘home schooling’ in daily life, it is important to have consistent levels of school work. School work provides structure to the week, this provides comfort to many young people and helps manage anxiety.
It can be greatly beneficial to families if parents are given guidance and a framework to help timetable the work, balancing work, play and rest in the same way the school does. If children have experienced (recent or historical) loss they may wish to integrate remembrance and emotional wellbeing activities into their timetable.
‣ Helping children stay connected
With schools, libraries, community spaces and parks all temporarily closed (or inconsistent to their normal expectations), children have less social contact with peers at the moment. If the school can facilitate connection with other children in any way this will help with general wellbeing and feeling connected to a supportive network.
- You could try an online class ‘catch up’ with older children
- For younger children you could start a letter writing group with the school redirecting letters to maintain confidentiality
- You could ask children to share pictures of their ‘lockdown’ week and post them on the school website for other children to see
These are just a few examples, there are many other ways you can help children to feel connected to the school community.
‣ Community fundraising
Another way of helping children feed connected to their community is through fundraising. Local communities and school play a massive part in fundraising for St Elizabeth Hospice and can help with the development of emotions and the importance of understanding of community care.