The Road Ahead
Winter is almost over and the beauty of the trees and frosty landscapes is slowly fading. There is an urgency to see new life, fresh beginnings, and a bit more of the sun. Nature will deliver in the weeks ahead.
This restlessness can also be felt in our schools at this half way point in the year when most of the curriculum for the exam classes has been covered and the long road to summer exams begins. Mocks over, targets set and heads down - hoping for the best.
It is a time of planning, anticipation, and decisions for many young people. College and university offers are coming in. For some, apprenticeship applications and interviews need to be thought about and prepared for. There is a level of anticipation and trepidation about what is coming next.
For young people, whose attendance at school might be disjointed because of hospital stays, or if they are not well enough to make it into school every day, those extra decisions and preparations can feel overwhelming. Missing the extra sessions or notes can often add to the worry.
If you are a teacher, SENDCO, mentor or careers adviser, please ask yourself if there is anyone that might need checking in with right now. Doing it now might make things easier down the line, not only for the young person but for you too! Often, it is the little things that make a difference. A gentle reminder that help is available, a reassuring word that they are not the only one worried. A welcoming smile can make an enormous difference after an absence. It is much easier to ask for help if someone appears open and warm towards you.
Sometimes it is easy to forget we all want the same outcome - for each young person to move onto the next stage in a way that is right for them. For students living with complex medical needs or a mental health condition the road to the next stage is often steeper. Words of encouragement, practical adjustments and kindness can all help. One of the things young people tell us is that they want the same as everyone else, it is just that the route to getting there is not always as straightforward.
If we can take a little time to listen, look out for, and be proactive in reaching out, it might make all the difference to a young person who may be feeling overwhelmed right now. There is still time to make a steep road ahead just a little bit easier.