Published: 06:00, 23 October 2020
| Updated: 16:04, 23 October 2020
A primary school is set to welcome a mental health specialist to help children as young as four cope with conditions like anxiety and low self-esteem as they grow up.
Reculver Primary in Herne Bay has been selected to take part in a £95 million government scheme to place practitioners in schools across the country.
Head teacher Jenny Ashley-Jones says even young children can have worries
The expert will work with teachers and the parents of pupils showing symptoms of anxiety to help them cope.
Head teacher Jenny Ashley-Jones hopes Reculver will pave the way for other schools in the area to offer the service.
“She will help us provide early intervention mental health support for the children,” Ms Ashley-Jones explained.
“Like all schools, we’re seeing children (with conditions like anxiety) coming through all the time. Children as young as four worry about things.
"The biggest one we see in Reception class is separation anxiety, as they want their mums.
"In Year 6, they will worry about exams, changing schools, body image and they’ll be more aware of issues within their families – that tends to be the age where you get those deep-seated anxieties coming in.
“With the help of the practitioner, we’ll hopefully be able to manage these worries in a positive way.”
When the scheme was first announced by the government in 2018, it was hoped that it would be rolled out in a quarter of schools by 2023.
Education chiefs also wanted to spend a further £215 million on creating networks between head teachers and child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS).
At Reculver, the practitioner will begin her one-day-a-week role in the new year.
Ms Ashley-Jones added: "This will help children with anxiety, low confidence, behavioural difficulties, low moods and older children with anxieties around their bodies, like anorexia.
“When you see an emerging mental health issue, that early intervention is absolutely vital to stop it from becoming a big thing.
"It’ll work through a referral system, so a parent could come to us and say they’re concerned about something and request a meeting, or it could be referred to the practitioner by the teachers.
“She’ll provide training for staff, individual help for staff and parents, and run groups for parents.”