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John Swinney celebrates University of Edinburgh and Place2Be partnership to support mental health

Yesterday we celebrated the launch of our partnership with Moray House School of Education and Sport (MHSES) at a virtual webinar with Scotland's Deputy First Minister, John Swinney.

Teacher writing on whiteboard

John Swinney, Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills attended the launch event to discuss the role that reflective spaces can play in supporting the teacher workforce, and to find out more about the unique partnership.

Speaking at the event, he said: “I am pleased to see the continuation of this unique partnership between Place2Be and the University of Edinburgh and the financial commitment the university has made to it. It undoubtedly brings great benefit to students taking part, at a time when mental health has become a focus for us all during the pandemic."

The role of the teacher is much broader than it used to be, with a greater likelihood of being required to resolve traumatic experiences and there is a need to consider how best we can support teachers to meet those requirements. John Swinney, Deputy First Minister of Scotland

Mr Swinney was joined by staff from both partner organisations, as well as student teachers from Moray House, who have benefitted from the pilot of this partnership and representatives from across the education sector.

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.

Speaking about the partnership, James Cuddy, a student teacher from Edinburgh said:

“Teaching is an intense relational profession where we have to manage relationships with pupils, parents, and staff. We have to manage our own emotions and interpersonal styles while handling a wide range of difficult situations.

Place2Be gives me the chance to reflect and ask questions about my practice, rather than burying or ignoring aspects that are difficult. James Cuddy, student teacher

”Having access to a reflective therapeutic space allows teachers to thrive in the profession, rather than just survive. It enables us to be the best teachers we can be, and in turn, allows us to serve our pupils and our classrooms in the best way possible. Why don’t all teachers have this? It is such a valuable resource.”

Jacqueline Cassidy, Place2Be's Director for Scotland & Wales, added:

“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 the 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.’’

The partnership means that students across all Initial Teacher Education (ITE) programmes at Moray House engage in additional mental health and wellbeing teaching, complementing the teaching and guidance offered by their tutors, provided by the dedicated Place2Be clinician. Student teachers are also able to access mental health expertise and participate in reflective Place2Think sessions, supporting them to explore the impact teaching may have on their own emotional health and wellbeing.

Watch the video below to learn more about the partnership:

Read more about our partnership with the University of Edinburgh.

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