The question every teacher should be asking

Eddie Aylett

Eddie Aylett is one of the assistant principals at Bower Park Academy in Romford, Essex. He received his BA Honours in Physical Education with QTS from Greenwich University, London in 2000. He has taught in Secondary Education in the London Borough of Havering and has also taught overseas in The Netherlands. In addition to teaching Physical Education, Drama and Science, Eddie is also the academies International School coordinator and global leader.

Follow @bowerparkac

Website: Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Image credit: Flickr // niexecutive. Image credit: Flickr // niexecutive.

I ask my friends “How are you feeling?” almost everyday. Not because I have to, but because I need to! Our lives are busy, complex and difficult, and to pass our friends by without a simple question would be unfriendly!

So why do teachers so often become robotic and almost non-human in the classroom? We need our students to feel safe, to know “Mental health is currently talked about outside the classroom with great frequency.”that they can share their problems, fears and concerns. I generally worry that if teachers do not take it upon themselves to ask questions about students’ wellbeing, we are on a very slippery slope. We need to ask “How are you feeling?”

The new GCSE specifications are just a small piece of this gigantic puzzle - a piece I fear will create a student body that is scared, fearful of failure and prone to mental illness. Mental health is currently talked about outside the classroom with great frequency, and on social media almost every other tweet. However, what are we doing inside the curriculum to combat this illness.

Mental health is something that affects nearly everyone, but the lack of education on it in Secondary schools is worrying.

Even at an extracurricular level the current input into wellbeing and mental health is undervalued. Here at Bower Park Academy, we worked the charity World Youth Organization (WYO) to design a mental health workshop that can be rolled out into schools. We have the facilitators, information guides, case studies and a platform to start something amazing!

The workshop provided advice, information and covers real case studies to improve the understanding of mental health so young people can speak more freely about the subject and seek help more easily.

Our students filmed an introduction video for the workshops. They helped film the case studies and promotional materials. I am very proud!

1 in 10 children and young people aged between 5 and 16 suffer from a diagnosable mental health disorder. That’s 850,000 children and young people across the UK. About 290,000 young people have an anxiety disorder and around 80,000 children and young people are seriously depressed.

WYO aims to reduce these numbers and educate around 10,000 young people across the UK on the different types of mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety and eating disorders; ways to reduce exam stress; confidentiality; healthy lifestyles and the importance of friendships.

Put together not just by health professionals including mental health nurses, GPs and general health advisors, but also by students “This workshop has truly been shaped by everyone.”from schools across the UK, this workshop has truly been shaped by everyone. As a programme WYO focuses on Sex Education, Mental Health and Lifestyle Skills & Careers. The organisation offers workshops to Secondary schools and HF/Sixth Form Colleges in the United Kingdom.

It's about time that the mental health of our students is put before our Progress 8, Attainment 8 and GCSE percentages. My fear is that if we do not provide adequate information, guidance and support for our young adults, then the progress and attainment will never improve. How can it? We will have a disaffected youth, with a backlog of GCSEs they have earnt from memory recall.

Education is about creating a person who can flourish in any environment, who can be adaptable to different situations. Having strong mental health and wellbeing will allow our youth to achieve everything they desire.

My mother repeatedly asks my sister, regarding my nephews: “What's the plan?” My sister’s reply is one that makes my nephews strong-minded, resilient and dedicated to their individual cause: “We only have Plan A, Plan B will evolve if needed.” Strong mental health, coupled with physical exercise, drive, determination and resilience, is what I want to develop in my students and encourage in my colleagues.

Want to receive cutting-edge insights from leading educators each week? Sign up to our Community Update and be part of the action!

Register for free to continue reading
Registration is a free and easy way to support us.
When you register, you'll join a grassroots community where you can:
• Enjoy unlimited access to articles
• Get recommendations tailored to your interests
• Attend virtual events with our leading contributors
Register Now

Latest stories

  • How to handle stress while teaching in a foreign country
    How to handle stress while teaching in a foreign country

    Teaching English in a foreign country is likely to be one of the most demanding experiences you'll ever have. It entails relocating to a new country, relocating to a new home, and beginning a new career, all of which are stressful in and of themselves, but now you're doing it all at once. And you'll have to converse in a strange language you may not understand.

  • Is Learning Fun for You, Teacher?
    Is Learning Fun for You, Teacher?

    Over the weekend, my family of five went to an Orlando theme park, and I decided we should really enjoy ourselves by purchasing an Unlimited Quick Queue pass. It was so worth the money! We rode every ride in the park at least twice, but one ride required us to ride down a rapidly flowing river, which quenched us with water. It was incredible that my two-year-old was laughing as well. We rode the Infinity Falls ride four times in one day—BEST DAY EVER for FAMILY FUN in the Sun! The entire experience was epic, full of energizing emotions and, most importantly, lots of smiles. What made this ride so cool was that the whole family could experience it together, the motions were on point, and the water was the icing on the cake. It had been a while since I had that type of fun, and I will never forget it.

  • Free recycling-themed resources for KS1 and KS2
    Free recycling-themed resources for KS1 and KS2

    The Action Pack is back for the start of the brand new school year, just in time for Recycle Week 2021 on 20 - 26 September, to empower pupils to make the world a better and more sustainable place. The free recycling-themed resources are designed for KS1 and KS2 and cover the topics of Art, English, PSHE, Science and Maths and have been created to easily fit into day-to-day lesson planning.

  • Inspire your pupils with Emma Raducanu
    Inspire your pupils with Emma Raducanu

    Following the exceptional performance from British breakthrough star Emma Raducanu, who captured her first Grand Slam at the US Open recently, Emmamania is already inspiring pupils aged 4 - 11 to get more involved in tennis - and LTA Youth, the flagship
    programme from The LTA, the governing body of tennis in Britain, has teachers across the country covered.

  • 5 ways to boost your school's eSafety
    5 ways to boost your school's eSafety

    eSafety is a term that constantly comes up in school communities, and with good reason. Students across the world are engaging with technology in ways that have never been seen before. This article addresses 5 beginning tips to help you boost your school’s eSafety. 

  • Tackling inequality in EdTech
    Tackling inequality in EdTech

    We have all been devastated by this pandemic that has swept the world in a matter of weeks. Schools have rapidly had to change the way they operate and be available for key workers' children. The inequalities that have long existed in communities and schools are now being amplified by the virus.

  • EdTech review & The Curriculum Lab
    EdTech review & The Curriculum Lab

    The world is catching up with a truth that we’ve championed at Learning Ladders for the last 5 years - that children’s learning outcomes are greatly improved by teachers, parents and learners working in partnership. 

  • Reducing primary to secondary transition stress
    Reducing primary to secondary transition stress

    As school leaders grapple with the near impossible mission to start bringing more students into schools from 1st June, there are hundreds of thousands of Year 6 pupils thinking anxiously about their move to secondary school.

  • Generation Z and online tutoring: natural bedfellows?
    Generation Z and online tutoring: natural bedfellows?

    The K-12 online tutoring market is booming around the world, with recent research estimating it to grow by 12% per year over the next five years, a USD $60bn increase. By breaking down geographic barriers and moving beyond the limits of local teaching expertise, online tutoring platforms are an especially valuable tool for those looking to supplement their studies in the developing world, and students globally are increasingly signing up to online tuition early on in their secondary education schooling. 

  • Employable young people or human robots?
    Employable young people or human robots?

    STEM skills have been a major focus in education for over a decade and more young people are taking science, technology, engineering, and maths subjects at university than ever before, according to statistics published by UCAS. The downside of this is that the UK is now facing a soft skills crisis and the modern world will also require children to develop strong social skills as the workplaces are transformed by technology. 

In order to make our website better for you, we use cookies!

Some firefox users may experience missing content, to fix this, click the shield in the top left and "disable tracking protection"