A HEADTEACHER and a Sunderland pupil will be rubbing shoulders with royalty when they meet The Duchess of Cambridge.
Highfield Community Primary School is in the running for three awards at the national Place2Be Wellbeing in School Awards.
Kate is a patron of the children’s mental health charity and will attend the award ceremony in London’s Kensington Palace.
Headteacher at the Sunderland school, Simon Marshall, is a finalist in the School Leader category and 11-year-old Bailey Dunn is a finalist in the Child Champion Award.
To add to that success Highfield is itself a finalist in the School Community Award.
Mr Marshall and three other school representatives will be travelling down to the event later this month along with Bailey, where they will be introduced to the Duchess.
The headteacher said: “It is very exciting for us, we have done really well to get this far.”
He said everyone was thrilled to be through to the finals and they are particularly proud of Bailey, who left Highfield to start St Aidan’s Catholic Academy this year, and are rooting for him to win.
Mr Marshall said: “Bailey has done so much to improve both his own mental health and that of others. He even mentors other young people now.”
Place2Be is the leading UK provider of school-based mental health services, providing early intervention in the form of emotional and therapeutic services to help children cope with issues such as bullying, bereavement, domestic violence, family breakdown, neglect and trauma. Highfield has built on the service so much they now have a large group of Place2Be counsellors providing immediate support to children with a whole host of issues and they also provide support for parents and carers when needed.
Mr Marshall said: “It means the children can talk about anything on their minds, from falling out with a friend to domestic violence. Since we introduced it, attainment has increased rapidly, attendance has improved and exclusions have reduced.
“It all adds to the better well being of the whole school and teachers can get on with the job of teaching.”
The Wearside primary is one of just two schools in the finals for the School Community Award and the winners will receive a £10,000 prize.
The person who nominated Mr Marshall for the leader award, said: “Simon’s inspirational leadership has ensured that Place2Be is not simply an additional service, but is a set of values that can be seen in everything we do.”