St. Antony’s Catholic College Associate Headteacher Fiona Wright has become the latest Head to sign the Trafford Youth Cabinet’s ‘Emotional Health Pledge.’
Inspired by a speech by 15-year-old Youth Cabinet member Hannah at a special meeting of all 18 Trafford secondary school headteachers, Mrs Wright is now keen to introduce the sort of measures proposed by the teenage activists.
Hannah explained: “We want more awareness from our teachers of the range of problems today’s teenagers face and greater consistency in how our teachers deal with these emotional problems.”
Hannah continued: “There is a growing incidence in all our schools of problems such as eating disorders and self harm. Teenagers don’t know how each individual case will be dealt with. Many don’t want to get involved with the Trafford Schools’ Counselling Service, but just want to talk to someone in school, but they don’t know if they will lose control of their own case; whether their parents will become involved and what ramifications there will be for seeking help.”
Fellow Trafford Youth Cabinet member Lauren, 17, also a pupil at Altrincham Grammar School for Girls, added: “We have asked local headteachers to sign this pledge so they can access more resources for training and adopt right across the borough a much more consistent approach.”
Lauren added: “The Trafford Youth Cabinet conducted a research of both pupils and teachers and it showed more and more youngster had problems but most teachers were unaware of exactly how they should handle these matters.”
Mrs Wright, who has driven forward a dramatic increase in standards at St. Antony’s since her appointment over 12 months ago, said: “I could not agree more. All the headteachers were simply blown away by Hannah’s presentation. We do need a more consistent approach and all staff need to be more aware of such problems. It’s a very important issue in our schools today not just in Trafford but nationwide.”
Mrs Wright added: “There will be some instances where the context of the situation demands more flexibility but in principle I am fully behind this proposal and only too delighted to sign the pledge and look forward to instituting the type of teacher training this programme requires.”
Lauren added: “This isn’t just for this generation of young people but for generations to come and that is why we want to institute a programme of ambassadors in each school so youngsters on the spot can communicate their wider concerns to Youth Cabinet members.”
Mrs Wright is the fifth of Trafford’s 18 secondary school heads to sign up.