Emotional well-being classes and daily mile runs for London schoolchildren

The government is aiming for schools to begin re-opening from June 1st in a phased approach: Getty Images
The government is aiming for schools to begin re-opening from June 1st in a phased approach: Getty Images

London children will be given daily “emotional well-being” classes and PE lessons to help them deal with the mental and physical effects of lockdown.

Pupils at Stanhope Primary in Ealing will be given training in self-worth, confidence and expressing their emotions in an effort to help them feel safe again and cope with the return to school.

They will also run a mile every day and attend daily PE lessons to increase their fitness.

Headteacher Sahreen Siddiqui said: “Of course we will do our utmost to get them back academically, but they can’t do that until everything else is right. There may be lots of children experiencing anxiety in a classroom setting. Some will have experienced trauma and lots of change.”

As a consequence, she said the school will incorporate emotional well-being into the daily curriculum.

Ms Siddiqui said: “At the moment we might do PSHE [personal, social, health and economic education] once a week and also drip feed it in assemblies, but it wouldn’t normally be a large part of every day. In September we will have to make it part of the daily offer, along with fitness.

“We are mindful that some children may not have had adequate exercise.” The school already offers play therapy to children and this will be stepped up.

Teachers will be given specific training in how to deal with children who have experienced trauma.

Ms Siddiqui said some children have regressed in basic “emotional regulation” such as knowing how to ask for help, calm down and express when they are angry and confused.

She said: “They haven’t been around lots of other children. They have been around family so the boundaries at home are different from what we expect in school.

“Collaboration, getting on with each other, taking turns to speak, rule-following and behaviour will all need to be reviewed.

“The vulnerable children inevitably won’t have seen role models of behaviour around them.”

About half of the eligible children in reception and Year One and Six have returned to Stanhope Primary school so far.

During lockdown it is estimated that 30 to 50 per cent of children were taking part in home schooling lessons.

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