As Charlie Mackesy depicts in the above image, asking for help is one of the bravest and most important things that we can do. I am continually impressed with how our pupils do this in their lessons; whether stuck working out a quadratic equation, questioning some text in a Drama performance, being nervous about lighting a Bunsen burner in science/or unsure about handling a chicken or animal in our orchard, or unsure about the right verb to use in a French lesson, their ability to engage, question, challenge and ask for help is extremely prominent. We are also extremely keen to equip our children with the confidence to ask for help when it comes to many other areas in life, including their mental health. We are so fortunate that, as a society, we are becoming increasingly better at recognising and discussing the importance of not just our physical health, but also our mental health, which subsequently makes supporting our children much easier, as we navigate the twists and turns of daily life.

Next week sees a national ‘Children’s mental health week’ campaign, and we are delighted to be marking it here at Lambrook, as the children take part in various activities in their lessons and tutor times. Research has shown that the more time that we can spend supporting our children when they are young, the better the impact on their mental health will be as they become adults. We will also be supporting the children’s mental health charity Place2be, which makes a real difference to those children in our country who are less fortunate and cannot access mental health support as readily. I had the enormous privilege of supporting Place2be in the summer of 2019, for a Dawn to Dusk sporting challenge, alongside 21 other Prep School Head teachers. Not only was this an exciting physical challenge for those of us who could be far fitter than we are but it was also a genuine privilege to raise the awareness of children’s mental health needs and what we can do in support. Many of you very kindly and generously sponsored me.

Exercise is also incredibly important to our mental health and wellbeing, and I have been so encouraged to see how the children have engaged with their sports lessons and clocked up the miles in their ‘Around the World’ Challenge whilst learning remotely. I believe that Year 7 has got the furthest and have covered 2126km already, which is a remarkable achievement! Outside of Lambrook lesson time, our PE staff are also running live sports lessons for a local state school which is unable to access such an opportunity; our PE department will be the most well-exercised group of staff!

I do hope that you are able to have a break this weekend and I look forward to seeing your children virtually over the coming week.

Jonathan Perry

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