This week, one of our school principals wrote: “Our educators forge good relationships with our learners and have been successful in their teaching of a tight academic curriculum. We are concerned, however, that we are not able to provide the level of pastoral care that we feel our learners need. There are lots of issues and pressures from home life that we simply do not have the time nor the skills to fully engage with. Also some of our learners are reluctant to come forward to talk to the teachers they see every day.

The posting of ‘Community Keepers’ at our school fills a desperate need. It allows our learners to have confidential conversations that will empower them to make wise decisions and support them through any hidden crises in their lives. We are particularly concerned at this time of COVID-19. I think about how difficult adults are finding the new situation to navigate and can only wonder at how much more challenging it must be in your final year at school. An active Community Keepers office helps learners (and staff if necessary) deal positively with the feelings this situation brings up as well as point the direction of further support if needed.”