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‘Emotionally regulate before you educate’ urges BPS

18 August 2020

With schools in Northern Ireland reopening soon, we're urging them to prioritise the psychological wellbeing of both staff and pupils to ensure that children are emotionally ready to learn and that adults are emotionally ready to teach.

The education system in Northern Ireland (NI) has faced unprecedented challenges during the Covid-19 pandemic, with the uncertainty of the crisis placing stress on both pupils and educational professionals. 

With schools in NI starting to reopen from 24 August, the British Psychological Society (BPS) has today published new guidance advising that schools must prioritise the psychological wellbeing of both staff and pupils to ensure that children are emotionally ready to learn and that adults are emotionally ready to teach.  

The guidance, devised by the Division of Educational and Child Psychology Northern Ireland Branch, outlines how stress can affect the brain and our ability to learn, and provides practical, psychological advice to support adults and children on their return to school. 

Dr Marie Hill, chair of BPS Division of Education and Child Psychology NI, said: 

“The Covid-19 pandemic has been a stressful and challenging time for us all and it is essential that its impact is taken into account and addressed if we are to see a successful return to school for both children and educational professionals. 

“It’s so important that stressful emotions are processed and regulated before starting a new school day. Children and young people look to adults to provide them with support and reassurance, so we hope this guidance gives educational professionals the practical information and advice they need to both support their pupils and focus on self-care.”

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