The Countess of Wessex marked World Teachers Day with a visit to Stepping Stones School in Surrey on October 5th.
The Royal Family social media account shared photos of Sophie visiting with students outside at their Forest School, where they showed the royal aspects of their outdoor learning. The students chatted with Sophie about their teachers and other adults on staff and told her what makes them special. The Countess then joined them as they thanked their teachers for their hard work.
Sophie also chatted with teachers and staff members to learn about protective measures taken to ensure safety and support during the pandemic and subsequent reopening.
Stepping Stones School is an independently-run school and charitable organisation that aims to provide its students with “a positive school environment to become self-confident, independent learners for life,” according to its official website, “[w]ith the aim that each will fulfil their personal potential to gain the qualifications and skills they need to be socially and economically independent in their local community.”
World Teachers Day has been celebrated annually since 1994 and is a joint venture between UNICEF, the International Labour Organisation and Education International. It was first held to commemorate the anniversary of 1966’s ILO/UNESCO recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers, which saw guidelines for the rights and regulations of educators.
The UNESCO website notes that 2020’s World Teachers Day was commemorated this year with the theme ‘Teachers: Leading in Crisis, Reimagining the Future’ following the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly added to the challenges faced by already over-extended education systems throughout the world,” UNESCO writes. “It is no exaggeration to say that the world is at a crossroads and, now more than ever, we must work with teachers to protect the right to education and guide it into the unfolding landscape brought about by the pandemic.”