This week has been Children's Mental Health Week, and, under the leadership of Mrs Young and with the support of our staff, we have been very busy helping to make a difference to the lives of children and young people at Chenderit School through the overarching theme of Let's Connect. The week, which was established in 2015, shines a spotlight on the importance of children's mental health and all activities are designed to encourage children, young people and adults to consider how we can make meaningful connections that support our mental health.

During their Tutorial PD sessions this week students have been looking at topics such as creatively connecting to others by drawing/writing a postcard to someone in Year 7, for example. In Year 8, students have been looking at how connections were made during the Christmas Truce of 1914 during the First World War. Year 9 have been looking at unexpected friendships between people from different walks of life and students in Years 10 – 13 have had the opportunity to discuss and debate how they can make connections to different facets of society, including being allies to the LGBTQI+ community, being anti-racist, being feminists, intervening when bully is taking place and ensuring introverts are able to have their voices heard.

Students have also had the opportunity to sign up to join in with ‘Let’s Connect’ workshops throughout the week including creative activities such as bread-making, crochet, mandala colouring-in, cross stitch, knitting and origami. There have also been workshops where students have been able to get involved in Dungeons & Dragons, boxing, a HIIT/aerobic session, mindfulness & meditation, and playing board games (see photos overleaf). Thank you to everyone who contributed to such a successful week.

This week has also been National Apprenticeship Week and, to coincide with the week, Minister Robert Halfon (i.e. the Minister for Apprenticeships) has written to students and parents about the opportunities and benefits apprenticeships can bring to young people. Students in years 11, 12 and 13 and their parents and carers in particular may be interested to read the linked letters. The Department for Education has also announced this week that students will be able to use UCAS to search and apply for apprenticeships, alongside degrees. From this autumn, UCAS will expand its service so that young people can see more personalised options, including apprenticeships. From 2024, students will then be able to apply for apprenticeships through UCAS, alongside an undergraduate degree application.

Jane Cartwright

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