School staff get the Royal seal of approval at national awards ceremony

Joy Hodgkinson (left)  from Cotsford Junior School meets the Duchess of Cambridge.
Joy Hodgkinson (left) from Cotsford Junior School meets the Duchess of Cambridge.
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Staff from an East Durham school had the chance to rub shoulders with royalty.

Two staff members from Cotsford Junior School in Horden met the Duchess of Cambridge at the annual Place2Be Wellbeing in Schools Awards.

Alison Ross (left), a parent counsellor at Cotsford Junior School, with the Duchess of Cambridge.

Alison Ross (left), a parent counsellor at Cotsford Junior School, with the Duchess of Cambridge.

Place2Be is the leading children’s mental health charity providing in-school support to improve the emotional wellbeing of pupils, families and school staff.

Founded in 1994, the charity also provides expert training for professionals working with children.

They offer a range of mental health services from self-referral to one-to-one counselling for children age 4-14-years-old, building children’s and young people’s resilience and giving them the tools to cope with life’s challenges.

This year’s Place2Be Wellbeing in Schools Awards were held in London and attended by Princess Kate, who is patron of the charity.

They are a testament to the care and support that school staff and Place2Be counsellors give to pupils and their families

Beverley Jones

Joy Hodgkinson, a special educational needs co-ordinator at Cotsford Junior’s, was a finalist in the School Hero Award category and picked up a highly commended at the awards.

The audience heard how Joy had been instrumental in developing new approaches to support pupils who are struggling to access learning, due to their emotional wellbeing.

Amy Marshall, deputy headteacher at the Third Street school, said: “Joy works tirelessly, creatively and without judgement to secure the very best outcomes.”

At the awards ceremony, Alison Ross, a parent counsellor at Cotsford Junior’s, also received a highly commended award in the Place2Be Chairman’s Award category.

This is awarded to those whose dedication has influenced exemplary practice in promoting emotional wellbeing and thanks to Alison, parents with children at the Horden school no longer see accessing counselling as an admission that they can’t cope, but rather a tool to help them move forward with their lives.

Beverley Jones, headteacher, who attended the ceremony, was delighted with the commendations.

She said: “They are a testament to the care and support that school staff and Place2Be counsellors give to pupils and their families, in the local community.”