A PRIMARY school has achieved a quality mark for its provision of personal, social and health education which is aimed at helping pupils with their mental health.

Springfield Academy, which has been reaccredited by Darlington Borough Council, has two mental health leads – Jen Foster and Juliet Waistell – and even has a pet therapy dog called Charlie to help youngsters.

Year 2 teacher Laura Monkman, who helped collate the portfolio of evidence for council consideration, said: “The sense of community does come across strongly in the evidence and there wasn’t a single negative comment in the feedback questionnaires we got from parents, which was lovely.

“Mental health has become so important and this accreditation recognises that we have made it a priority.

"Our headteacher talks daily to anyone who needs any help and he is seen as a leading light in the community.

“If children have things on their mind then how can they be expected to concentrate on their learning? There is a little point in trying to teach a child who feels traumatised as they will not be able to take it in.”

She said, often, education was a refuge where children could escape their concerns and they took comfort in the routine of school day.

“Lockdown showed that we are the heart of the community and we brought a lot of children back into school because we felt it was beneficial to them,” she said.

The accreditation will be made available to Ofsted during future inspections.

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