Sunderland school given royal seal of approval by the Duchess of Cambridge

Former headteacher at Southwick Community Primay School, Trish Stoker, meets HRH the Duchess of Cambridge.
Former headteacher at Southwick Community Primay School, Trish Stoker, meets HRH the Duchess of Cambridge.
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A city school’s relentless work to support the mental health of pupils has been given the royal seal of approval.

Southwick Community Primary School is celebrating scooping a national Wellbeing in Schools Award at a glittering ceremony held by child mental health charity, Place2Be.

Trish Stoker accepts the award on behalf of Southwick Community Primary School.

Trish Stoker accepts the award on behalf of Southwick Community Primary School.

HRH The Duchess of Cambridge, who is patron of the charity, went along to the event in London to meet the winners, including the recently retired headteacher of Southwick Community Primary School, Trish Stoker, who has dedicated more than three decades to the school.

The Shakespeare Street school won the ‘School Community Award – Primary’, which recognises its commitment to promoting positive mental health in the school community.

It was nominated thanks to its pastoral team, who work relentlessly to support the mental health of staff, children and parents.

Staff are offered support and counselling training and parents are offered a wide range of courses. To help to bring together the community and raise awareness of mental health, the school has held 13 annual lantern processions which have helped to create a sense of belonging.

No matter how invincible we seem n the surface, all of us need help from time to time

The Duchess of Cambridge

The Duchess of Cambridge, said: “I have been privileged over recent years to visit a number of schools and to meet the teachers, volunteers, and parents who make Place2Be’s work a reality. Together, you ensure your students know they have somewhere to turn, someone who will listen, or simply a safe place to escape.

“As you all recognise through your support of Place2Be, even the luckiest people can face great challenges. No matter how invincible we seem on the surface, all of us need help from time to time. This is why William, Harry and I have set up the Heads Together campaign.

“We want to end the stigma surrounding mental health that stops people getting the help and support that they so desperately need.”

Place2Be partner schools were invited to nominate school leaders, teachers, support staff, parent champions, child champions counsellors who go above and beyond to enhance the life of the school community.

The winners in the nine categories were selected from almost 100 entries.

Place2Be President, Dame Benny Refson, said: “I’d like to congratulate Southwick Community Primary School – in a world where we hear so many stories of stigma and fear, it is important to celebrate the brave and inspirational champions, who do so much to ensure that no-one in their communities is ever afraid to ask for help when they need it.”