The Duchess of Cambridge spoke with a group of teachers at a County Durham school to mark Children’s Mental Health Week, noting the important role that teachers play in their students’ lives and how their mental health is also important.
Kate opened the call by asking head teacher Ashleigh Sheridan, “I know the school is open supporting key workers and things like that but I was wondering how are things? How are you getting on?”
Sheridan told the Duchess that they were doing okay, and, “Of course, we can’t replicate what is going on in school entirely because that would be impossible but we’re trying our very best to make sure everything is as good as it can be.”
Kate told Sheridan, “I think everyone can recognise that schools are doing an amazing job, as parents as well you really recognise what a vital role you do play for us on a day-to-day basis.
“Having remote learning going on as well [it must] be hugely challenging to juggle both for a school, as well.”
Speaking about the importance of children’s mental health, Kate asked if that would be a priority when schools reopen again. Sheridan confirmed this, saying, “It’s imperative to have a safety net.
“The pandemic has exposed mental health issues everywhere. Hopefully, that awareness and need to have secure mental health will be recognised across the country.”
From there, the Duchess of Cambridge spoke with other teachers at the school, including Louise Tweedie, to whom she admitted that she’s “so passionate about all the work that teachers up and down the country are doing. You are doing the most amazing job.”
Kate added, “You are a lifeline to so many families out there. I know it takes an awful lot of effort, energy, and patience. Thank you for the hard work you do on a day-to-day basis for the children that you look after.”
Kate also spoke with Hannah Rispin, who praised how her students have taken to online learning and have adjusted during a difficult time.
“Seeing the children succeed in such a devastating time it makes you feel a bit emotional. They are like shining stars. I feel privileged to be experiencing this with our little heroes every day,” Rispin told Kate.
Kate replied, “I can feel your positivity. It’s definitely made my day a lot more positive.”
Speaking to another teacher, Chris Reay, Kate said, “I know this time has been really challenging for teachers across the country. You play such a vital role in looking after our children, so it’s important that you are looked after too.
“I want to say a massive thank you to teachers across the country. You’re doing a fantastic job. It’s been really, really hard work. But please look after yourselves.”
Children’s Mental Health Week is organised by Place2Be and runs from 1-5 February.