Yesterday Barnardo’s NI launched their new report ‘New Term, New Challenges, New Opportunities: Putting Children’s Mental Health at the Heart of Education’. The report is available from the link below. The report has been optimised for viewing on digital devices and contains live links to the strategies and reports highlighted. You will also be able to click through the contents pages to jump to different sections within the report.

Barnardo's NI is a leading provider of schools-based support, reaching more than 25,000 children in schools across the UK and Ireland through our NI-managed social and emotional literacy programmes. Over the course of two weeks in June 2020 they surveyed education professionals in our partner schools across Northern Ireland to understand how schools are supporting children and young people with their mental health and wellbeing in light of Covid-19 and the 'lockdown' measures currently in place and their concerns for the return to school.

They found that the vast majority of respondents thought that the pandemic and lockdown was likely to have an impact on the mental health and wellbeing of pupils. Whilst every child will respond differently, the potential impact of the pandemic and of lockdown on the mental health and wellbeing of children is very concerning, and they believe that addressing this must be the first priority on the return to school.

They make three recommendations for government in their report:

  • Prioritise mental health and wellbeing in the recovery curriculum.
  • Increase funding and investment in mental health and wellbeing services in school.
  • Child-centred guidance, developed in consultation with schools, must be communicated clearly and directly.
Geraldine Alexander
Assistant Secretary