CfESEND blog: supporting people and communities of practice at Weston College

Blog by Jacqui Ford, Deputy Principal Curriculum Innovation and SEND at Weston College, for the Centres for Excellence in SEND programme.

This month’s Spotlight is slightly different as we continue to deliver education, training and support during the Covid-19  pandemic.

Supporting People

An article in HR magazine recently reported “a large number of the working-age population have reported feeling stressed at work amid the growing uncertainty of Coronavirus.”

There is no doubt that Covid-19 has (and continues), to have a huge impact on people, organisations and businesses.

In response to feedback at our Mental Health conference on 5th March (see last month’s Spotlight for details) and requests from learners, key strategic partners and our business community, the college has moved its entire provision online and has mobilised a suite of online courses. These include:

  • Mental Health and Wellbeing
  • Understanding Mental Health issues
  • Understanding Autism
  • Understanding Volunteering, Prevent and Safeguarding
  • Understanding Children’s Mental Health
  • Certificate in Specific Learning Difficulties
  • Certificate in Behaviour and Challenges, to name but a few.

Supporting Mental Health and Welfare

The focus of the 5th March Centre for Excellence in SEND (CfESEND) event was Mental Health: Challenging Perceptions, Changing the Narrative.

In line with the ‘People’ theme of our CfESEND, all guest speakers were carefully selected to highlight the breadth of resources, toolkits and support available to support ‘People’.

The range of mental health and welfare services we have available are being accessed and taken up now more than ever.

In order to ensure that this key theme is promoted during a time of social isolation and lockdown, we have produced several short films which were recorded by our Keynote speaker Anna Williamson:

These films will be promoted during Easter but also used going forward into the next CfESEND phase.

Interestingly, with social distancing and remote working, we have seen increased interest in the support we can offer around fitness, nutrition and exercise, wellbeing and mental health.

Learners continue to be able to access support through our Welfare Team, Body and Mind Initiative, online supportive community and resource library (delivered through Big White Wall), complemented by regular updates from tutors and specialist staff, to ensure they do not feel alone (which is even more important at this time).

It’s a very tough climate currently. We’re passionate about supporting our learners, businesses and wider community in any way that we can #mentalhealth #wellbeing #mentalhealthawarness #mentalhealthfirstaid.

This ‘People focused support has been promoted over the past year through our CfESEND.  This will continue into Phase 2 over the coming weeks and months.

We’re keen to hear from anyone who would like to work collaboratively with us and the ‘People’ themed CfESEND.  Please do get in touch with your suggestions and ideas at: 

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