School offers parents insight into pupils’ minds

Barnard Castle School held the two-hour session, looking at everything from hormones to growth spurts, in a bid to help attendees support their children’s learning

A County Durham school has been offering an insight into their pupils’ minds.

Around 40 parents of pupils at Barnard Castle School and prep school attended a two-hour session where the issues covered included hormones, growth spurts and the influence of digital devices.

Senior and prep school pastoral deputy heads, Peter Lavery and Rebecca Robertson, led the event, designed to help attendees support their children’s learning.

“We want them to come into class and concentrate for 40 minutes free from any worries, as well as giving them the tools to deal with stress,” said Lavery.

“Just like physical health, they need to have good mental health and we promote this through PSHE, assemblies, a varied cocurricular programme and by using visiting speakers.”

“Guide rather than lecture, use humour where appropriate and avoid confrontation”

Parents were informed that young people are hardwired to behave in a certain way until around the age of 25, when the frontal lobe has sufficiently developed to help control impulses and enable them to rationalise.

“We all need to try and help [pupils] understand their own brain and explain what they are going through – although it also has to be explained that it is no excuse – and how to form strategies to control themselves,” added Lavery.


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“We provide lessons and activities to keep them in this ‘settled system’ where the biochemicals released on the brain prompt a better reaction,” he continued. “We also push them outside of their comfort zone and urge them to be brave, compassionate and grateful.

“Communication is key. Choose your words carefully – criticism will lead to shutdown. Wise up to young people’s issues and talk to them about them. Actively listen and let them speak. Guide rather than lecture, use humour where appropriate and avoid confrontation, which escalates tension.”

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