Bishop gives blessing to project helping pupils recover after pandemic

Rt Revd Alan Winton, Bishop of Thetford, at the opening of The Hub wellbeing project at Harleston Primary School.

Rt Revd Alan Winton, Bishop of Thetford, at the opening of The Hub wellbeing project at Harleston Primary School. - Credit: St Benet’s Multi Academy Trust

Pupils affected by the pandemic are benefitting from a pioneering wellbeing project at a Norfolk primary school. 

Launched with a blessing by the Rt Rev Alan Winton, Bishop of Thetford, ‘The Hub’ at Harleston Church of England Primary Academy will help children with complex needs as well as support and pastoral care for all pupils. 

It includes a multi-purpose area with sensory and motor skills areas, social and emotional support, music and Lego-based therapies and nurture style support groups.

It is staffed with the pastoral team and teaching assistants who have undertaken training in specialist areas.

Rt Revd Alan Winton, Bishop of Thetford, launches ‘The Hub’ wellbeing project at Harleston Primary School.

Rt Revd Alan Winton, Bishop of Thetford, launches ‘The Hub’ wellbeing project at Harleston Primary School. - Credit: St Benet’s Multi Academy Trust

Year 5 and 6 pupils have also been involved in developing two previously forgotten areas of the school garden as part of the project.


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Headteacher Hannah Holgate said: “We recognise that the pandemic has caused pupils to need more support. I am proud of the work the children are doing in ‘The Hub’ and of the support that they are receiving. 

Pastoral team and teaching assistants at The Hub wellbeing project at Harleston Primary School

Pastoral team and teaching assistants at The Hub wellbeing project at Harleston Primary School who have undertaken specialist training. - Credit: St Benet’s Multi Academy Trust

“My staff have created an inclusive atmosphere to support children in a wide variety of ways. They have trained in different areas, enabling us to support our children to flourish and grow.”

Emerging evidence suggests the Covid outbreak could have an effect on children’s long-term development, education and sense of identity.

Rt Revd Alan Winton, Bishop of Thetford, launches ‘The Hub’ wellbeing project at Harleston Primary School.

Rt Revd Alan Winton, Bishop of Thetford, launches ‘The Hub’ wellbeing project at Harleston Primary School. - Credit: St Benet’s Multi Academy Trust

More than 72pc of the region’s young people have struggled with their mental health during the pandemic, a survey revealed.

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Richard Cranmer, chief executive of St Benet’s Multi Academy Trust, which manages the school, said: “This unique area within the academy is designed to look after pupils’ complex needs and support their mental health. 

Rt Revd Alan Winton, Bishop of Thetford, and St Benet’s Multi Academy Trust CEO Richard Cranmer at Harleston Primary School.

Rt Revd Alan Winton, Bishop of Thetford, and St Benet’s Multi Academy Trust CEO Richard Cranmer at Harleston Primary School. - Credit: St Benet’s Multi Academy Trust

“There is no doubt there has been an impact on children’s mental health from the fall out of Covid.  

“Most children and indeed adults have suffered from anxiety because of the perceived threat of the virus, disruption and isolation.”

Rt Revd Alan Winton, Bishop of Thetford, launches ‘The Hub’ wellbeing project at Harleston Primary School.

Rt Revd Alan Winton, Bishop of Thetford, launches ‘The Hub’ wellbeing project at Harleston Primary School. - Credit: St Benet’s Multi Academy Trust

Bishop Alan said: “We are increasingly mindful of the pressures under which some children and young people live today, and the pandemic has merely added further anxiety to many young lives. 

“This innovative idea of a Hub to focus on wellbeing in a variety of creative ways is a very welcome project, and I am very happy to lend my support, my prayers and my good wishes.”

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