'Help teachers to deal with pupils' emotional trauma’

Teachers will need to 'go beyond teaching' to support pupils affected by the crisis, says Labour's Rebecca Long-Bailey

Coronavirus and pupil wellbeing: Labour's Rebecca Long-Bailey is calling for a national support programme to help teachers to support pupils who have suffered 'emotional trauma' in the crisis

Rebecca Long-Bailey is calling for a “national support programme” to help teachers deal with pupil “emotional trauma” caused by the coronavirus.

The shadow education secretary, who has a son in Year 2, said teachers needed to be given extra time to help pupils.

And in some cases they will need to "go beyond teaching" with emotional support when schools return, the former Labour leadership contender told Tes.

“Even if pupils have not been faced with a horrific bereavement, they’re going to have been psychologically affected when they’re at home," she said.

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“Seeing the news every day and seeing the number of deaths that are happening, that is going to have a profound psychological effect on the mind a young person, not to mention the fact they haven’t been in that classroom learning environment for a long period of time.

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“The government needs to be looking at producing a national support programme for all pupils that provides teachers with the additional support to deal with the emotional support that pupils are going to need when they go back to the classroom."

Ms Bailey, who took up her post last month, said that suspending school assessments and accountability measures would be a way to “free up teachers” to allow them to give extra support when schools return.

She added: "There'll need to be a review or a consultation done with the teaching profession and the teaching unions as to what additional support is going to be needed. There are going to be things that go beyond teaching.

"There is going to be emotional support and mental health support. Do we need to start introducing school nurses, for example, to make sure we've got that clinical support within schools? There's a lot of work that needs to be done."  

Ms Long-Bailey is also calling for the scrapping of baseline testing, which is due to be introduced in September which, she says, is another way to free-up teachers.

The Department for Education has been contacted for comment.

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Dave Speck

Dave Speck is a reporter at Tes

Find me on Twitter @Specktator100

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