A leading children’s health charity is partnering with Scottish universities to ensure that future generations of teachers in Scotland have the skills and understanding to support children’s mental health.
The two-year pilot programme, which starts next month, will see specialist Place2Be clinicians embedded into Moray House School of Education in Edinburgh, part of the University of Edinburgh, and the learning and teaching department at the University of Stirling.
The aim is to bring mental health expertise to both staff and students within the schools. The move comes after a recent announcement by the Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH) which revealed that 63 per cent of teachers in Scotland do not feel they have received sufficient training in mental health to allow them to carry out their role properly.
Only one out of 100 respondents recalled doing detailed work on mental health when they were student teachers.
Jonathan Wood, national manager for Scotland at Place2Be said: “We’re delighted to be working with both the University of Edinburgh and the University of Stirling on this innovative partnership.
“Our experience of working in schools over many years has taught us that teachers are generally passionate about supporting their pupils, but sometimes lack the knowledge and confidence to know how best to help.
“We are not expecting teachers to become mental health experts, but by equipping them with the necessary skills and understanding, we can ensure more children and young people get the support they need, when they need it most.”
Place2Be has been working in Scotland since 2001, and is now providing support in 39 schools across Glasgow, Edinburgh, North Ayrshire and Renfrewshire reaching a school population of more than 9,500 pupils and their families.
The charity has also provided its Mental Health Champions training and consultation programme to 49 schools in South Ayrshire and Glasgow.
Professor Rowena Arshad OBE, head of Moray House School of Education, said: “The Moray House School of Education and Sport (The University of Edinburgh) believe that to enable our individual and collective wellbeing, our relationships with each other come before learning.
“We believe that as an embedded partner/consultant Place2Be will provide our student teachers and our staff with an on-site resource to centre issues of wellbeing and emotional literacy within our practice.
“This we hope will impact on our approach and work in the wider education sector.”
Dr John l’Anson, associate dean, learning and teaching, in the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Stirling said: “The proposed project with Place2Be will make a significant contribution to the strategic development of initial teacher education here at Stirling, enhancing the ethos and scope of our programme in the years to come.”