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Weekly Welfare - 05/02/2021

Welcome to your weekly welfare email. This is an email that I will be sending to all GPUTC students, parents and staff every Friday whilst students are learning at home. Each email will include a selection of positive news stories, mental and physical wellbeing tips, links to interesting resources for parents and students and links to support services. I hope this is helpful to our community in these challenging times.  

I have two focuses this week, both of which link to events that will be happening next week. Firstly, following on from last week’s focus on careers is National Apprenticeship week. Attached to the student version of this email is a mindfulness page linked to the idea of apprenticeships to get you thinking about the exciting events planned for next week. Out Careers Co-ordinator, Katie Elias, will be sending students loads more information about the events they can get involved with next week so keep a look out for that.  

My second focus is community. It feels harder during this lockdown to feel that we are part of a community, but we are. In fact, each one of us belongs to several communities (the most important of which is clearly the GPUTC Community!). It may be harder to communicate with some of them at the moment, with sporting and social clubs paused, but we are nevertheless still part of those communities. One of my favourite quotes about the idea of community is from American author, Helen Keller: ‘Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.’ I urge you to think about the communities you are a part of this week, and consider how you can join with others to make those communities stronger. I’d also be interested to hear your thoughts or favourite quotes about community. Send them to l.donaldson@gputc.com.  

Our welfare and pastoral teams continue to work hard to support students whilst they are learning at home. If you need to be in contact, your first port of call is your child’s mentor. You can also contact safeguarding@gputc.com for urgent matters.   

 

Positive news story: Linked to the idea of community and how we are stronger together, this week’s positive news story is a slice of brilliance: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-stoke-staffordshire-55670566. An anonymous group of sixth form students clubbed together to buy pizzas for critical care staff at Royal Stoke University Hospital to show their appreciation of how hard the team are working to look after the community.   

 

Helpful resource for parents: For those parents who are not so familiar with the Microsoft Teams platform we are using to host students’ virtual learning, this guide from Microsoft should answer most of your questions: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/office/distance-learning-with-microsoft-365-guidance-for-parents-and-guardians-89d514f9-bf5e-4374-a731-a75d38ddd588. If you have specific questions about your child’s learning, please contact their mentor who will answer your query or pass it on to the person who is best placed to help.  

Many families have seen a change in circumstances in the last year. If your family income has been reduced recently, I would encourage you to check whether your child qualifies for Free School Meals. The criteria can be found here: https://fis.peterborough.gov.uk/kb5/peterborough/directory/service.page?id=HDtwUlc8p5A. To apply, email bursary@gputc.com and we will process your application as quickly as we can. If you need urgent help to access a Food Bank, please let us know via the same email address.   

Families can also receive support from the community hubs set up by our local councils: 

 

Helpful resource for students:  

Wellbeing resources: As part of our Session 3 provision, the Welfare team have created a range of resources to support you whilst you are learning virtually. If you’d like to browse the resources available, go to the Wellbeing Session 3 Team and look back through the posts. The resources cover recommendations for mindfulness, yoga and calming playlists as well as a weekly session on how to create your own personal wellbeing plan.  

 

Message from Peterborough and Cambridgeshire Local Authorities: 2020 was a difficult year for us all, but even more so for the children and young people who go in to 2021 without a stable home and loving family. This New Year we are looking for people who are determined, energetic and caring, to become foster carers. 

Fostering with Cambridgeshire County or Peterborough City Councils means you are fostering with a local authority that truly cares about you and the children in our care. We offer comprehensive training courses both before and during your fostering adventure with us. We also allocate a social worker who will support you and we also provide a 24/7 helpline so you will never feel alone! 

Remember if you are a Cambridgeshire County Council or Peterborough City Council employee and undergoing an assessment as a foster carer for either council, (with agreement from your line manager), you are entitled to additional annual leave of up to 5 days to attend training courses. 

So, whether you are single, married, retired, working or a full-time parent to a birth child YOU CAN FOSTER! Make this a happier New Year for our children and young people. To find out more, call 0800 052 0078, text FOSTERING to 60777, email fostering@cambridgeshire.gov.uk or visit www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/fostering

 

Links to support services:  

Working online:  

We are all spending more time online at the moment, so it’s really important that we understand how to keep ourselves and others safe online. The following organisations have loads of information about how to do that:  

For students: Thinkuknow   

For parents: Internet matters  

For staff and parents: London Grid for Learning  

  

Mental health support:  

For students: Young Minds Crisis Messenger - If you are a young person experiencing a mental health crisis you can text YM to 85258 for free 24/7 support  

For parents: Parents Helpline - If you are a parent who needs advice about your child’s mental health you can contact the Parents Helpline directly on 0808 802 5544 between 9:30am-4pm  

For staff: If you are a member of staff or parent who works in a school, college or university, you can call the Education Support Partnership for free support on 08000 562 561.  

If you need assistant to contact other support services, please email safeguarding@gputc.com and we will be in contact.   

I hope everyone has a lovely, restful weekend. I’ll be back next week with more positive stories and resources. If you have anything that you think other students, parents or colleagues would find useful please email me the details (l.donaldson@gputc.com).  

Kind regards,  

Lynne Donaldson  
Director of Support