25th September 2020 — The coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdown is an unprecedented situation in modern times. Although the silver linings of lockdown may have included additional time with family at home and a chance to embrace a different pace of life, for many it has been a turbulent and worrying time.
This was marked for many by the school closures and need to adapt to home learning. During the school closure, staff at Greenfield School in Woking worked tirelessly to deliver a full virtual curriculum and ensure all pupils were able to progress with their education. The timetable was adapted to reflect the impacts of online learning and the teachers quickly got to grips with delivering lessons via video call.
Part of the reason Greenfield was so determined to keep a regular routine of live lessons was to maintain the communication and relationships between children, helping them to feel less isolated. The feedback from parents was extremely positive, particularly amongst those with young children as they were able to see their friends and teachers.
Now that children are transitioning back to physically being in school again, some may be experiencing additional anxieties around seeing their peers again and being back in a “normal” school environment after so many months.
In order to combat any apprehension children in their school community may be feeling, Greenfield School launched a new “Student Champions” scheme. This child-led initiative ensures that children feel able to share their worries and not feel burdened by them.
The Student Champions at Greenfield are a selection of teachers and Year 6 pupils who are passionate about helping people and offering a listening ear. Pupils are able to identify these people through special badges that are worn.
At any time, children can approach a Student Champion to share their worries and ask for help. This may be anything from falling out with a friend to concerns about homework or exams. As well as being on hand throughout the school day, every Tuesday breaktime Student Champions will be holding sessions for children to attend.
Greenfield School is renowned in Woking and beyond for its caring ethos and excellent pastoral care. In recent years, Greenfield has hosted various initiatives to boost positive mental health and encourage the children to manage their own wellbeing as well as being aware of the wellbeing of others. One of these initiatives was a “Wellbeing Day”, where the children took part in various activities designed to promote resilience, collaboration, empathy, perseverance and confidence.
When such an ethos is instilled in the children, it is no surprise that the Year 6 pupils jumped at the chance to support their peers by becoming Student Champions. The children put together a video which was shown to all pupils in the school, explaining why they have chosen to become Student Champions. One Year 6 pupil said: “Helping people gives them a better life and it helps you be a better person.” Another said she was volunteering for the scheme because she “want[s] everyone at Greenfield to have someone to talk to”. A third pupil said: “I like seeing people thrive and succeed and I want to help people reach this point.”
Greenfield School are hoping that by offering this additional layer of child-led pastoral support, all pupils will feel able to share their concerns and navigate this new term together, helping each other to maintain good mental health and feel positive about the future.