New Beacon School will host a children’s wellbeing conference in April, Emily Pavey finds out more

New Beacon School is shining a light on child mental health. In April they host Helping Young People Navigate the 21st Century, a conference incorporating impressive keynote speakers and potentially life-changing workshops. The two-day public event is open to parents and educators alike and is part of a collaboration across schools in the Sevenoaks area. Headteacher, Mike Piercy, is proud to bring the subject into sharp focus. He says, “I think young people are under more pressure than they’ve ever been.”

In Piercy’s view, today’s children experience more anxiety due to a number of factors. There are academic pressures and expectations from an increasingly early age, the complexities of social media, along with changing parental working patterns. The in/out assessments many youngsters face can lead children to feel they have ‘failed’ at ages as young as 11 – Piercy prefers to speak of “disappointment rather than failure.” All this before the challenges of GCSEs, A Levels, university places and careers have even been introduced.

The Helping Young Minds event is structured to equip attendees with skills to identify childhood mental health issues and recognise the impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) and then give valuable tools to help, information about where to turn for more assistance and the confidence to move the situation forward in a positive direction. This is an opportunity to hear from those at the forefront of children’s mental health. Keynote speaker Dr Pooky Knightsmith, is an internationally renowned speaker on child and adolescent mental health. Pooky prides herself on her ability to break complex and challenging ideas down into practical strategies that can be put into practice right away. 

Richard Burnett, of Tonbridge School, is the founder of the Mindfulness in Schools Project. He has taught mindfulness to over a thousand adolescents in the past 15 years. Richard’s TEDx talk helped define the landscape of mindfulness in education and he was an expert witness at the All Party Parliamentary Group that led to Mindful Nation UK.

Find out more: newbeacon.org.uk/mental-health

Event Programme

Thursday 23 April 

9am-3pm

‘Drawing & Talking’ workshop which is for professionals working in education. 

9am-4pm

‘Mental Health First Aid’ 

(MHFA) is an accredited course focusing on awareness and ways to support young people with mental health difficulties. 

7.30pm-9.30pm 

An evening talk by Dick Moore, a global speaker on young people’s mental health and wellbeing (in conjunction with the Charlie Waller Memorial trust). 

Friday 24 April 

9.00am until 4.30pm

All day conference featuring a range of internationally respected speakers and professionals.

Public speaker giving talk at business event.

Public speaker giving talk at business event.

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