Keeping children safe and supporting their wellbeing during the school closure

Please see our page on Living with Grief and Loss, here.

Guidance for parents and carers: Keeping children safe and supporting their wellbeing during the school closure

Keeping your child safe online

At a time when students need to remain inside for long periods of time, many young people will be spending a significant amount of time on social media. This presents a challenge for parents and carers to do the best to ensure they are safe when online. Fortunately, there is lots of support and guidance available.

To find out more about the different social media platforms that your child may be using, a good starting point is this site from the NSPCC: https://www.net-aware.org.uk/

Other support for parents and carers to keep their children safe online includes:

If you need to report online behaviour, start with these:

Prior to the closure, pastoral staff in school were aware of many students having large numbers of ‘friends’ or followers on social media that they had never met, or whose identity they could not verify.  This can lead to a range of issues, including adults befriending young people (sometimes by posing as young people) in order to manipulate or exploit them into unsafe behaviours. We recommend that you have agreed evening cut-offs, after which social media is not accessible by your child, with all phones and tablets kept out of their bedrooms. You should monitor, restrict and time-limit the social media platforms that they have access to (using the guidance and links above). We also recommend that you have regular conversations with your child about what they are accessing online, mindful of the impact of peer pressure, online bullying and online safety on their welfare and mental health. 

New Home Office Guidance
The Home Office published new guidance on 14th April which covers a range of online harms including radicalisation. The advice and guidance on GOV.UK is being regularly updated and this page is likely to become the location for any future guidance on online harms. You can find it here.

CTPHQ Online Harms Guidance 
The impact of COVID-19 means most children will be at home for an extended period and will be spending increasing amounts of time online. Counter-Terrorism
Police have produced some guidance to parents relating to the specific online radicalisation risk. This can be found on their website under advice for parents and carers. The link is here.


Supporting your child’s mental health

Below is some guidance for you to discuss with your child. Bear in mind that every family and every young person will find different things that work for them and that this might change over time; there is no single correct way to do this. More advice on supporting learning can be found on the website here: https://stmarylebone.school/supporting-learning-at-home/ 

Listen to your own emotions:

You might feel lots of different emotions during this time. This is normal and to be expected. To help you manage all these emotions, you might want to keep a diary, or find a way to express them in music or art or movement.  Importantly, remember that we’re all in this together, so do talk to others: someone at home, one of your friends on the phone or online. 

Sleep and maintaining routine:

Give your mind and body rest – not too much, not too little.  As tempting as it might be to lie in late, stay up late and wear pyjamas all day, after a while your body-clock won’t like this and it’ll affect your mind and body negatively.  Set your alarm for a set time each morning and wind down in good time to go to bed allowing at least 8 hours of sleep.  

Use your body:

Even if you’re stuck inside there are many ways to exercise and keep your muscles, lungs and mind healthy.  Exercise helps to stimulate your mind, get rid of restlessness and boredom, will energise you in the day and help you sleep at night.  You could try: yoga with Adriene or PE with Joe Wicks  or dance with Oti Mabuse

Calm your mind:

Meditation Apps like Headspace or Calm can help us clear our minds and feel in control.

Do nice things that you enjoy:

If you like to sew, read, make things, do art, draw, do puzzles or sudoku.  Put on your favourite playlist and dance! Get your parents and siblings to join in.  Watch funny things on tv or listen to funny or thoughtful podcasts. Humour and laughter boost your immune system and are a good antidote to feeling low or anxious.

Talk to others and stay connected: 

Staying at home can feel lonely and frustrating at times. It’s important that when you’re feeling this way to remember that you’re not alone. Stay connected with your extended family and friends via social media, phone and video calls. Sharing your experiences and hearing a friendly voice is reassuring and positive. Just remember to keep yourself safe online and respect family agreements around online activity. School staff are still here to support you too, so use google classroom to connect with your form tutor(s) or email your Head of Year if there’s anything you’re worried about. We can still make referrals for school mentoring as well as to external support services. 

If young people need to talk:

If young people are worried about themselves or  a friend, it’s important they let a trusted adult know their worries. If they don’t feel there is anyone they can talk to, the following are available: 

Further mental health support:

  • Self-care strategies from the Anna Freud centre – Self-care is about the things we can do to look after our own mental health. Here you’ll find information about a range of strategies. https://www.annafreud.org/on-my-mind/self-care/

Safeguarding and Family Support – Accessing Children’s Services

Every borough has a Children’s Service where you can find support in relation to:

  • Safeguarding services – if you are worried about the safety of a child or young person and you think they are at risk of harm. 
  • Support services for families – including parents and carers, children and young people.

If you have a concern and you contact Children’s Services, they can advise you on the best help available for you and your family. You need to contact the service within your home borough. 

Local Authority

Phone number

Email address

Barnet

020 8359 4066

mash@barnet.gov.uk

Brent

020 8937 4300 (option 1)

cfis@brent.gov.uk

Camden

020 7974 3317

LBCMASHadmin@camden.gov.uk

Ealing

0208 825 8000

ECIRS@ealing.gov.uk

Hammersmith & Fulham

020 8753 6600

Familyservices@lbhf.gov.uk

Islington

020-7527 -7400

csctreferrals@islington.gov.uk

Kensington & Chelsea

0207 361 3013

socialservices@rbkc.gov.uk

Lambeth

0207 926 5555

helpandprotection@lambeth.gov.uk

Southwark

0207 525 1921

MASH@southwark.gov.uk

Westminster

0207 641 4000

AccesstoChildrensServices@westminster.gov.uk

As always, during term time you can contact the School’s Safeguarding Team:


Please see our page on Living with Grief and Loss, here.