The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge went back to school on Friday, as they visited Stewards Academy in Harlow for an engagement as part of their ‘Heads Together’ campaign.
The day began with a little drama, as the Lord Lieutenant, who traditionally greets Royal visitors, took a tumble. Jonathan Douglas-Hughes did not see the bollard behind him and fell over after taking a step backwards. Prince William was one of the first to his aid, assisting him upright once more.
William and Catherine visited the school to help continue to raise awareness over childhood mental health issues, and change the conversation by removing stigma from around the issue.
It was straight into the classroom for the Royal couple, as they took part in a lesson with Year 8 students, which centred upon changes in the life of teenagers, be it exams, relationships or home life. The school year has only just started but the pressures of it can easily take their toll.
Place2Be, a charity which Catherine supports, works with the school to prioritise emotional health, just as they do physical. The couple learnt about the mentor scheme, in which older students support the new joiners in their first year of school.
Then came assembly, where William spoke. In a short address to year 7 pupils, the Prince joked about his public speaking ability, and told students it was ok to feel down: “I am a bit nervous as I was never much good at public speaking at school and I am not much better now. We are impressed with what we have seen at Stewards Academy.
“Catherine and I are extremely and very impressed by what we have seen at Stewards Academy, as we’re both strong believers in schools where the emotional wellbeing of young people is nurtured and protected just as much as your learning and academic skills.”
“It’s particularly good to see the role played by Place2Be, the charity that is part of our Heads Together campaign,” he added. “Catherine, Harry and I have decided that we can use our positions to make a difference on the subject of mental health. It should not be a taboo subject in the year 2016. So, the Heads Together campaign is all about getting people talking about the difficult times that many of us will face and have faced in our lives.”
“For some, it is hard to move from the comfort of a school that you know, surrounded by friends, to one that is new, unfamiliar and so much bigger,” William continued.
“So, Catherine and I were really pleased to learn about your buddy system just now, and we hope it means that you have a happy and fulfilling time at school. We hope that it helps bring about a habit in your life of turning to someone when you need help, as that will be just as important to your adult lives as academic success.”
Since parents are responsible for their children at home, it is important to have them on board with regards to mental health, and so William and Kate took part in a discussion with students’ parents, even swapping tips.
See the Duke and Duchess discuss parenting below: