Introducing our new Social Worker
It has been a pleasure to welcome Karen Fitzpatrick as a member of staff. Karen joins our wellbeing team and will augment the services we are currently offering students and their families in the area of mental health and wellbeing. Karen will enable us to support a holistic and family centred approach to wellbeing within our school community. The school social work role is unique in its approach, as it focuses on the students in their school and broader social environment in order to promote and support successful educational outcomes.
Emerging from the COVID pandemic, coupled with other social stressors, our young people need as much support as possible to recover, strengthen and thrive in their education and personal development.
In Karen’s words…
‘One of the main contributions social workers make is having a holistic overview of the intersecting issues that people grapple with in their lives. This is underpinned by values of social justice and respect for human dignity. We have specialist clinical knowledge but also a much broader, systemic knowledge, skills and understanding of how to support people through the spectrum of challenges and transitions that arise in their lives. School social workers have specialist knowledge in working with children, young people and families to address issues such as social, emotional and mental health, life transitions, family change, managing study load, relationships, grief and loss, personal and social skill development and support for students with complex needs. Parents and carers play a valuable role in informing this work as well in order to meet the developmental, social and emotional needs of students and support them in their capacity to reach their full potential. I am a parent of two adolescent children and am well aware of the joys and challenges associated with this phase of the parenting journey. I am excited to become a part of the St Columba’s community, and getting to know students and their families’.
Welcome to Karen once again, who comes to us with expertise in hospital, community health, mental health and research settings, with a focus on women’s health and wellbeing through the life stages.
Young people and mobile phones
Adam Grant is an organisational psychologist and author who presents great research snippets through his social media presence. The latest piece of research relates to young people and mobile phones. In summary, “the earlier young people get smartphones, the worse their mental health as adults”. In a new study of more than 27,000 people, it was shown that owning a smartphone at a younger age “predicts lower self-worth, motivation and resilience. In addition, it also predicts more sadness, anxiety and aggression, especially for girls”. The recommendation in Adam’s summary is that smartphones should wait until high school.
A full copy of the research report can be found via this link. If you scroll towards the end of the report, there is a section that provides implications for parents. Our decision some years ago to remove phones from the school environment is also supported by the research. This is one area where we need to remain constantly vigilant, and we rely on parent support to remind students of the rules, and to reinforce our expectations when students choose to breach them.
House System Review
As you would be aware from the letter shared with you at the start of Term Two, we are conducting a review of our House System.
The review aims to capture voices and experiences across the whole school community, including current and past students, parents, teachers and leaders. This short video provides some background on the review.
Parents and guardians have a particular perspective that we are interested in understanding. Please take this opportunity to share your voice.
Thanks so much for your contribution to this process. The survey will close on 31 May 2023.
If you have any questions, please do be in touch.