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If shiny becomes dull, where is the hope?

Beyond the shiny new shoe feel of returning to school there lies an anxiety.

It’s playing out in the school community; in teenagers who cover it over better than a pharaohs tomb and in the underlying tensions of symptoms or not symptoms. It is playing out in classrooms as the hidden unrest begins to bubble through. There’s a growing tide of parents on social media and beyond, who are concerned about their normally happy children beginning to feel sad, worried and not wanting to go to school beyond their first weeks, because it isn’t as they have known it. Our teenagers are breaking down at the smallest mistake. I hear it, I see it. I am being called to help.

I know only too well that such insecure thinking can be supported and healed. I know the value of planned support as a teacher, a leader, governor and a parent. I also know there are other teenagers and children who will not be speaking up about their fears, they will be hiding them and feeling quite isolated.

What really matters? What scale of caring should we address? How should we do this?

- Universal information sharing across the whole school means we have a table to come to, a chair to sit on, a place and an understanding that we ALL matter. We are all feeling a little strange just now , all of us.

Let me help you as parents and teachers, I have been studying this for a long time and I know some really good simple methods you may be using.

- Daily opportunities for talk are crucial for keeping those insecurities at bay. SAFELY. PLUS support for you to understand how to manage this.

- An ability to see and check our emotional mind state as something we can safely express creates such a healthy place to be. SAFE SELF EXPRESSION Helping you to readily understand what is needed. - Having a regular space to know how to learn more about our emotions creates a calm safe space for growth. Let me offer you support right here with one tap or click Into this podcast

Also, here is my book on Amazon

Simply Being YOU: The ultimate guide for choosing a stress free life. Minimum effort, maximum gain https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/108051953X

Most schools I know, appear to bob along nicely. straining under the financial turbulence and keeping one eye on storm Boris, the other on Covid measures. And yet the real danger is an underlying current, one which appears to be ok one moment and will no doubt break apart in the next. I speak of our children and youth. our school staff and we are failing them slowly and surely, unless we acknowledge the creeping tide of underlying anxiety.

Why? The rawness of managing this pandemic life, coupled with the insecurities of so many unknowns from this, creates a constant unsettled gnawing feeling. As if someone is slowly turning up the heat. For now it may be noticed occasionally, it may even feel uncomfortable. What if that discomfort begins to suddenly intensify?

I see a pattern that I know so well after years of professional coaching in schools, it goes like this.

“Yes, mental health matters We do it for an hour a week in our lessons.

And we have interventions, someone in charge, support systems.

Do we do it daily? Yes ( 3 named staff ) have it all covered.

no we don’t do it daily. We don’t have time actually.”

This is when mental health is an add on, a curriculum, something external and needs an expert.

No. No


There is a real poverty in education far worse than hunger. It is a lack of time and space to be, simply discovering who we all are, vulnerabilities, scariness, fears of the Covid monster

Currently we are in trepidation and recovery with an invisible enemy lurking in the valley, We are aware of this threat subliminally when we see masks or the tape around where the distance must be maintained. Out body’s are triggered into that alert sense of flight or fright. Fear that gently erodes our wellbeing (worse than a whole army of inspections). And like teenage acne this tide of insecure feeling will not go away.

Time to talk out our anxieties brings a feeling of reassurance, these are normal feelings we all experience and that through our sharing become less fearful. I know that time is short and catch up,is being constantly bellowed out from Whitehall . . .


I know this lack of time pressure, I was an executive head, a consultant , a governor, a parent. I have seen the despair of educationalist who care so much more than the metrics.

How are we supporting these children? How are we supporting each other? Is it carry on as normal ? I don’t see normal in our world today. I see fear, anger, hunger, job loss and I sure as anything see anxiety. That will not go away unless we find time every day and make it the new normal to talk about our emotions and how to support them. It takes listening and practice. Listening without judgement or wanting a specific outcome - for a child to see it your way. How about we coach great listening and spaces to talk about fears and frustrations, woven into every school day. It makes huge differences in learning, behaviour, attitudes and it brings a new open normal in through the front entrance of your school today.

#Simply Being ME Whole School Wellbeing. #Simply Being You- wellbeing for teachers.

Further blogs, podcasts here www.hlsgroup.net and on you tube here


Anni Poole is a former primary headteacher, executive head, former S.I.P .and now a leading wellbeing and leadership coach.