As Patron of Place2Be, The Duchess of Cambridge spoke one-to-one with teachers from Ribbon Academy in County Durham about the work they have been doing during the pandemic to support children and their families. Catherine said they were ‘fantastic’ for their ‘vital work’.
Headteacher Ashleigh told the Duchess how Place2Be was ‘fundamental to what we do. Before we address the academic side of school life our children need to be socially and emotionally secure’.
She added: “The pandemic has exposed mental health issues everywhere. Hopefully that awareness and need to have secure mental health will be recognised across the country.”
The Duchess replied: “I think everyone can recognise that schools are doing an amazing job, as parents as well you really recognise what a vital role you do play for us on a day-to-day basis.
“Having remote learning going on as well it must be hugely challenging to juggle both for a school as well.”
It was only last week the Royal admitted she thought homeschooling was ‘exhausting’ and that her maths skills were not up to scratch to help her children.
Speaking about Place2Be with Ashleigh Sheridan, the Duchess praised the mental health charity, which provides counselling and emotional support to children and teachers: “They are an amazing organisation, hugely passionate about the work that they do.”
What an inspiring group of teachers!
Although it’s Children’s Mental Health Week, we need to ensure our teachers are supported as well. @Place2Be have been champions of mental health in schools across the UK & continue to provide support to those in need throughout lockdown. pic.twitter.com/I7Oo0oCBVU
— The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (@KensingtonRoyal) February 4, 2021
Prince William’s wife told teacher Louise Tweedie: “I’m so passionate about all the work that teachers up and down the country are doing. You are doing the most amazing job.”
“You are a lifeline to so many families out there. I know it takes an awful lot of effort, energy, and patience. Thank you for the hard work you do on a day-to-day basis for the children that you look after.”
Teacher Hannah Rispin told the Royal of how, each morning when remote learning begins, her pupils talk about their family life, telling her what they’ve been making at home.
Hannah said: “Seeing the children succeed in such a devastating time it makes you feel a bit emotional. They are like shining stars. I feel privileged to be experiencing this with our little heroes every day.”
Kate laughed and said: “You’re obviously doing an amazing job Hannah! We need more people like you out there as a workforce.”
“I can feel your positivity. It’s definitely made my day a lot more positive.”
The mother of three also spoke to Chris Reay, a High Level Teaching and Learning Partner, who attended Place2Be sessions as a child after a traumatic life event, and is now working at Ribbon Academy.
Speaking to Reay, The Duchess of Cambridge said: “You play such a vital role in looking after our children. It’s so important that you’re looked after too and have the appropriate networks and support systems to make sure you can really do the best job you possible can.”
“I’m really glad that Place2Be is there for you. They’re needed across the country more now than ever.”
Reay is one of five members of teaching staff at the school who have completed Place2Be’s Mental Health Champions Foundation Programme in the last five months. The training programme has been made accessible to 50,000 UK teachers and school staff this year, and provides a five-week course on factors that contribute to positive mental health and the importance as well as what a child’s behaviour might be communicating about their underlying needs.
The Duchess concluded by saying: “I know this time has been really challenging for teachers across the country. You play such a vital role in looking after our children so it’s important that you are looked after too.”
“I want to say a massive thank you to teachers across the country. You’re doing a fantastic job. It’s been really, really hard work. But please look after yourselves.”
To mark the start of Children’s Mental Health Week, The Duchess of Cambridge sent a message of support encouraging children and parents to find ways to share their thoughts and feelings. The Duchess also highlighted the crucial need for parents and carers to look after their own mental wellbeing.
Although the royal mum has been homeschooling Prince George and Princess Charlotte at their Anmer home, near Sandringham in Norfolk, she has been taking the time to speak to fellow parents about home schooling.