Covid saw Scottish schools adapting in many ways. Innovations came in many forms and Philip Graham, deputy head (pastoral) at the High School of Glasgow senior school, highlights a pupil-led initiative which will have lasting impact.
“Lockdown saw the birth of a mental health council after a pupil brought forward the idea to further improve our wellbeing provision. The council is run by pupils, for pupils, and since its inception, a group of fifth and sixth years have been trained in how to listen and signpost to further help. This proved invaluable throughout lockdown and when pupils returned to school.
“The peer-led council provides an informal route for seeking support in addition to the school’s official channels. Pupils who feel embarrassed to speak up can be more comfortable confiding in a peer first. The mental health council has also been trained in delivering personal and social education classes on topics including anxiety and stress.
“The approach is not only to support those who need it, but is a preventative and resilience-building one. The aim is not to remove the challenges that life throws at us, but to prepare pupils for tough times so they meet them head on.
“In addition to the impact this is having on wellbeing, this increase in pupil advocacy is heartening as we see more young people taking an active role in shaping their school experience.”
Pupils at the High School of Glasgow have established a pupil-led mental health council which will support students through their school experience.
Making sure pupils flourish as they learn is an important part of the approach at the High School of Glasgow.