Our Senior education consultant shares thoughts on mental health for children and young people

The timeliness of the recent Link2ICT Mental Health Event at Edgbaston Priory Club is not therefore lost. And equally, you could not help but be impressed by the diversity and strength of expertise brought together to share their messages.

From understanding the role of social media and the effect on young people and their body image, to creating an emotionally aware classroom, from using robust systems for reporting and accountability to identifying the patterns of online behaviour directly linked to mental health issues using digital monitoring services – this event opened up the mental health debate in ways I suspect have not been done in Birmingham before.

Barriers have certainly been broken down – perceptions that an education technology organisation such as Link2ICT was part of the mental health support mechanism were firmly demonstrated to be routed in reality.

The event from our education business, Link2ICT, also brought together a number of parties working together from a diverse range of providers, including Services for Education, MyConcern and Entrust. It was pleasing to see too, such a wide and diverse audience base – from chairs of governors and headteachers to DSLs, learning mentors and behaviour leads. 

One of areas of concern raised was that around sexting. Link2ICT’s Professional Services team are delighted to be working with Charlotte Aynsley, author of the DfE document

“Sexting in schools and colleges: responding to incidents and safeguarding young people.”

Charlotte is working with Link2ICT and I strongly urge you to book early to get one of the limited places on the course she is running for us, helping schools use the latest information and strategies to tackle this very serious issue.

Finally, I wonder what ownership your pupils have of the online safety message for your school? Perhaps they know the words and actions to follow that a teacher or parent wants to hear, but maybe they don’t truly own the message. To help with this, our Professional Services team have developed an exciting new package of support that really helps in that process. Here’s a summary of what it is all about:

Our lives. Our safety. Our message.

At the end of this one and a half day project your group of pupils will have created short online safety videos that can be used to help promote online safety in your school community. Once created, you can share these videos wherever you feel is appropriate and right, perhaps on the school website, digital signage or school YouTube channel. Whilst video production skills in their own right are important, simple techniques will be used to ensure the focus is upon the online safety message to be delivered. We will help your young people to explore what are the rights and wrongs when participating in an online world, and help them to take ownership of the bespoke message they want to share with their peers. Working with our highly experienced online safety consultant, all kit required will be provided for the duration of the project. With natural links to PSHE, computing, digital literacy, and technology, this project will help translate the national messages for online safety into a personalised and school-owned approach to sharing powerful messages that will ultimately help keep your pupils safe.

This project is ideally aimed at school councils, whole classes, small groups, digital leaders and is equally suitable and will be tailored appropriately for, both primary and secondary settings. 

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