Framlingham College conference to tackle teenage mental health in education

Coastal Scene, 11.02.16, a Suffolk headmaster is uniting state and independent schools in a battle against mental health with a conference promoting mindfulness and wellbeing for pupils. HMC member Paul Taylor headmaster of leading independent Framlingham College is quoted.

Paul Taylor, headmaster at Framlingham College, is among those organising an inter-school conference, with all state and independant junior and secondary schools invited from across East Anglia. It follows a pledge for increased focus in promoting mindfulness and wellbeing at the college as highlighted in the headmasters annual address at its speech day last year. This year, 30 members of staff at Framlingham College and its preparatory school Brandeston Hall are undergoing training on mindfulness. It will become part of the timetable from September, to include breathing techniques, meditation and coping strategies as well as promoting good personal mental and physical health.

“Mental illness among teenagers is now far too common and is much more prevalent than in previous generations,” said Mr Taylor. “We have a duty to help our pupils - and staff - to manage better the pressures that they face.

“I’m not setting us up as any sort of experts, we are in as steep of a learning curve as any other school, but I hope we are at the forefront of trying to address it. We are all coming together - this is about shared good practice.

“What this [the conference] reflects is what we have all been talking about. We are nto the only ones talking about mental illness in teenagers. There’s a social peer pressure that there simply wasn’t 15 years ago with everyones’ lives out there online and on Facebook.

“Schools in general have got a lot better at recognising the causes rather than the symptoms. They [pupils] are getting much more respect, but we need to be giving this generation of teenagers coping strategies and that’s what mindfulness and wellbeing is about. It’s just as applicable to adults.

“It is very much a training day for all local schools, senior and junior, state and independent. It’s about a heightened awareness of the need for addressing mental health, identifying and addressing mental health issues and what we can do in ours schools in terms of training staff and implementation of coping strategies for the children. It’s about embedding this in educational culture.”

Speaking at the event will be Claire Kelly, director of Mindfulness in Schools; James Shone, author and founder of website www.icanandiam.com; Tom Caston, head of pastoral at Framlingham College; Mary Spink, mindfulness and well-being expert, and Dr Hazel Harrison, clinical psychologist with more than 10 years’ experience in the NHS and private sector.

Tickets cost £100 per delegate, to include lunch and refreshments. Additional delegates from any school cost £50. For more information, contact Framlingham College on 01728 723789 or visit www.framcollege.co.uk/Conference

Read more © Coastal Scene