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Place2Be & University of Edinburgh prioritise mental health for student teachers

Place2Be has partnered with Moray House School of Education and Sport at University of Edinburgh to help strengthen student teachers’ understanding, skills and knowledge around children’s mental health and emotional resilience.

Teacher writing on whiteboard

Building on an approach developed through a two-year pilot, the partnership will provide a new generation of teachers with unique resources to better understand mental health, ultimately benefitting the children and young people they will work with.

Through the partnership, student teachers can access mental health expertise through a dedicated Place2Be clinician. Students can participate in reflective Place2Think sessions to explore the impact teaching may have on their own emotional health and wellbeing.

They will also be able to engage in additional mental health and wellbeing teaching which will complement that being offered by their tutors. This will include a bespoke student teacher version of Place2Be’s Mental Health Champions - Foundation programme, an online mental health training course designed to foster positive wellbeing in schools and communities.

The version of the programme for qualified teachers and school staff is currently being offered to up to 50,000 teachers across Scotland and the rest of the UK.

Lizzie Hay, former student at the University of Edinburgh and now a teacher at Kirkcaldy High School, who experienced Place2Think during the pilot phase said:

“Place2Be helped me to understand and provided me with the important skills to support our young people’s mental health from the beginning of my journey as a teacher. It also helped me to realise the importance of my own mental health and how it feels to be a teacher. Teaching is a multi-dimensional profession and Place2Think provided me with the opportunity as a student teacher to take a step back, speak about my experiences and receive guidance from a mental health clinician on how to support my learners but also how to look after myself”.

We are very proud to be the only UK Higher Education Institution providing this unique mental health resource for student teachers. There are many pressures facing new teachers today, so the more we can do through their teacher education to prepare them for the challenges they will face in the classroom, the more confident and successful they will be. Dr Zoè Robertson, Director of Teacher Education, University of Edinburgh

Kathleen Forbes, the Place2Be clinician who will be based at the University of Edinburgh, added:

“As the Place2Be clinician embedded within the school of education I see first-hand the desire of students to make a positive difference to the children they will teach. At the heart of Place2Be’s work is the creation of mentally healthy classrooms, and we need a mentally healthy teacher workforce to achieve this. We know that Place2Be’s support is a much-needed resource for a future generation of teachers, and it is a privilege to deliver it.”

Teachers across Scotland have talked to us about the need for greater understanding of, and support for, mental health in teaching practice. Now more than ever, it’s vital to address this. We are pleased to be able to work in close partnership with University of Edinburgh to help generations of Scottish teachers feel better equipped with the  understanding they need to support children’s mental health and their own. Jacqueline Cassidy, Director for Scotland & Wales, Place2Be

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