Students at our independent, accredited high schools have amazed us with their resilience and strength during what has been a stressful year for many. While it seems like so much of the world has been put on hold, the harsh realities our young people face daily have certainly not, and in many cases, their disadvantages have been heightened by COVID -19. As always, our teachers and school staff have gone above and beyond to ensure that every student at our schools is safe and supported.
Our Principal of Wellbeing, John Martin, says there have been many support systems put into place to ensure the mental wellbeing of all of our students is cared for during this time:
“As opposed to mainstream education, our students were given very specific individualised mental health care plans. This is only possible because of the unique staff to student ratio that we are able to provide in our schools. Our psychologists and school counsellors identified which students would need the greatest access to mental health support and put in place appropriate systems that allowed us to assist a student, whilst also respecting the current health issues in the community.”
On a daily basis, our students have to overcome many barriers before they can sit down to do schoolwork. These barriers, such as limited access to IT devices and internet services, crowded housing, no space to set up for online learning, limited food availability, family conflict, learning difficulties and being overwhelmed by mental health concerns make getting a good education challenging, even at the best of times. Not to mention the other personal hardships that can drastically affect their education such as substance abuse, homelessness and domestic and family violence.
Given all this, our teachers, youth workers and psychologist are ensuring they’re taking a holistic approach in supporting all students from a distance during this pandemic.
Without the support of Merrylands RSL, who fund the Chapel School psychologist, we wouldn’t be able to offer this specific, tailored mental health support for our vulnerable young people. In a mainstream setting, regretfully, there will be many students who go unnoticed simply because the student support team are stretched and cannot logistically identify everyone who would benefit from mental health access.
Everyone associated with our schools appreciates that we have this opportunity, and is proud that we can say that our students receive the very best mental health support available in education. This is because we have very dedicated and professional psychologists and counsellors who work alongside our students to provide them the best opportunity to achieve their education goals.
Thank you to Merrylands RSL who have once again funded our school psychologist at our Merrylands site. Merrylands RSL have funded this position for the past 9 years, which has had a direct effect on the lives of hundreds of students.