26 March 2021
This year has seen a huge increase in the number of Peer Support Leads (PSLs) from five in Year 1 of the programme to 17. All the PSLs had the opportunity to take part in a safeguarding and counselling training course at the start of their tenure, this proved invaluable in supporting their efforts to look out for fellow students this year. A new focus this year has been on ‘creative loitering,’ being present in key locations around the school where conversations can be struck up easily and naturally with other students. Whilst lockdown and remote learning have made this difficult the PSLs were given approval for zoom 1 to 1s during lockdown and on the return to school have been given access to different ‘bubbles’ to continue performing their role.
To make the PSLs an obvious presence around the school site they have been given new lanyards and have created short videos and presentations to tutor groups to raise awareness of their availability. A new instagram page has been created to give students the opportunity to DM the PSLs instead of having to have face-to-face conversations, this is extremely beneficial for those who may not feel as comfortable talking about issues they are experiencing at school. The instagram page, which can be accessed here, has also been a platform to educate students about issues such as exam stress and anti bullying. It’s a key sign of their success that the PSLs have expanded their role into a student voice for mental health and wellbeing across the school. As their time draws to a close, we thank this year’s PSLs for their role in supporting their fellow students and we already have plans to recruit new PSLs in preparation for next year.