Buckinghamshire’s Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, Zahir Mohammed, has promised to raise students’ concerns over mental health with county education chiefs.
And he will also voice their concern about the wellbeing of students transferring from primary to secondary school.
The topic of pupils’ emotional wellbeing was on the agenda at Cabinet this week, when two pupils presented a report to councillors based on issues raised by young people during the national Takeover Day last month.
Among their recommendations to the Cabinet was that Personal Social and Health Education (PSHE) should become a school subject in its own right.
They also recommended finding ways to smooth the transition from small primary schools to much larger secondary schools, where pupils have more teachers to relate to and aren’t taught principally by one teacher.
Student Molli Harding, from The Beaconsfield School, and Jordan Blackmore, from Cottesloe School, Wing, played the roles of County Council Leader and Deputy Leader at last month’s mock Cabinet for national Takeover Day
And Monday’s (Dec 7) Cabinet meeting gave them the opportunity to raise those issues with decision makers, including Leader Martin Tett and Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, Zahir Mohammed.
Zahir Mohammed promised to discuss concerns with education chiefs. ‘It’s important children get the best start in life as the transition between schools can be daunting,’ he said. ‘There is some good work going on, including some schools not giving out homework in the first few weeks and others using theatre groups to help teach PSHE, but we need to make sure that support is consistent.’
Jordan said: ‘Because of your age in primary school, that part of your life should be focused more on making friends. We’d rather see a situation where the transition and eleven plus are spread out over a longer period of time.’
Of Takeover Day, and the experience of presenting to Cabinet, Jordan said: “This has given me a real insight into what I might want to do in future. It’s so important to me that my voice is heard, and that Buckinghamshire County Council gives young people opportunities like this for that to happen.’