SCHOOL leaders in the Tyne Valley have put measures in place to support students and staff in helping them cope with stress and anxiety during the coronavirus pandemic.

Children throughout the district were faced with months of home-based learning earlier this year, and with heightened health and safety measures in place at schools, the school day and once regimented routines have been disrupted.

At Queen Elizabeth High School, in Hexham, students are each given their own personalised wellbeing passports to reflect on their mental wellbeing and the strategies they can use to help themselves,

Registration period, usually at the start of the day, was moved to allow students the opportunity to discuss any concerns individuals may have about the day ahead.

Student surveys were carried out on the first week back, the school said, which gave teachers an insight into student’s experiences of lockdown and any concerns students may have had about returning to school. Those that indicated that they would like extra support were swiftly seen by one of our pastoral team.

The school has enlisted a group of Year 10 students who have been trained as peer mentors and will offer advice and develop resources for the wider school.

A ‘safe to start’ system has been implemented at Haydon Bridge High School and includes five key points: sanitisation, seating plans, settled students, starter activities and social distancing.

“We identified the students categorised as vulnerable before we returned and allocated a member of staff to contact them every week,” deputy headteacher Stephen Hill said.

“We have been very aware that our staff had different experiences,” he added. “We held one to one sessions with each member of staff to discuss how they were feeling and if they felt they needed further support.

“We’re aware how much time students have missed from school and student so there has been a big focus on student and staff wellbeing.”

At Hexham Middle School leadership, staff are embracing a ‘new normal’ but insisting it is business as usual.

On return to school in September, Hexham Middle School pupils spent time with their form group, undertaking a carefully planned programme of lessons to address wellbeing.

The school’s assembly programme this half term also prioritised areas of physical and mental wellbeing.

Executive headteacher, Graeme Atkins, said: “We are proud of the sterling effort by staff and the determination of our pupils.”