Secondary school is an exciting time in your life it is where you change from child to teen to young adult, make friends and decisions about where your next step into young adulthood will be. It can also be a difficult time with lots of obstacles to overcome, but they can be overcome and if you need help and support, you only need to ask.
As you go through school you will find adults who you will trust and who will do all they can to support and help you. The list below details some of the common issues and some of the less common, but more serious issues that can occur with ways in which you can get help and support.
You find class work difficult
- Remember that your work is going to be challenging, we want you to think so hard that your head hurts!
- However, if you are struggling, speak to the class teacher or the Head of Faculty and arrange a time to come back to get some extra support.
- Or, speak to your Form Tutor and ask for their support in speaking to your teachers.
You can’t access Class Charts or you are unable to access the Homework allocated
- Speak to your Form Tutor or Assistant Head of Year to help with Class Charts.
- Arrange with your Form Tutor or Assistant Head of Year time to access a computer.
- Ask your class teacher for a hard copy of the homework and explain you can’t get access at home to Class Charts.
You are having difficulty in concentrating or managing distractions
- Speak to your Assistant Head of Year and Head of Year and explain the issue, they will help you to identify what the issue is and support you to solve it.
You are diagnosed with a specific learning disorder (for example Dyslexia or ADHD) and need help
- Teachers will already be aware but you may be able to support them in supporting you – speak to Mr Jackson or Mrs Scott who will arrange a meeting with you and your parent / carer and put strategies in place designed to help you.
You have fallen out with your friends and are feeling lonely
- Remember that it is not uncommon to have a falling out with your friends; usually the issue resolves itself with a bit of space or time.
- However, if you are still worried, speak to your Form Tutor or Assistant Head of Year – they will help you resolve the issues with your friends or support you in making new friends.
You feel you are being bullied
- No one should be bullied and it needs to stop immediately – make sure you speak to one of the teachers you trust – if you can, speak to your Head of Year. Take a friend with you and if possible write down exactly what is happening with dates and times. Your Head of Year will investigate, alongside the Assistant Head of Year, and work with you to make sure the bullying stops.
You are struggling with your relationships with adults
- Speak to your Form Tutor and ask if you can have a couple of mentoring sessions with either them or your Assistant Head of Year. Mentoring can support you in working out what the issues are and how to resolve them either yourself or with support from your Assistant Head of Year.
There are issues at home
- Speak to your Head of Year – they are very experienced in listening to young people and helping them resolve issues.
There will be times when your teachers can’t keep information to themselves and they have to share with other staff in the Academy, specifically Mrs Dickson (Deputy Headteacher) or Mr Jackson (Assistant Headteacher) as these teachers are responsible for the safeguarding of all the students. If they do speak to these teachers, then they will speak to you and keep you informed at all times of what is happening and why.
You are worried about a friend
- Tell someone – if you are worried for whatever reason then they need help from an adult. Whoever you tell will tell the appropriate adult in school that will be able to help your friend, no matter how big or small the problem and they will make sure your friend knows you have told to get them help and for no other reason
You feel unwell
- Let your class teacher know you are feeling unwell and they will monitor you in class. If needed, a First Aider is always on hand.
Your Period starts
- The Student Office has a large choice of pads and tampons you only need to ask. If your period has leaked through your clothes then speak to Mrs Petrie, Mrs Hughes or Mrs Buck in the office and they will ring home and support you in getting clean clothes. If you are embarrassed, then ask for help from a teacher you trust or get a friend to help.
You are suffering with anxiety or depression
- The Academy has a counsellor who comes in every week and will see young people who are referred.
- Speak to your Head of Year and they will put a number of strategies in place to help for example mentoring to try to get to the bottom of the problem, referral to school counsellor or referral to outside agencies such as Washington MIND or CAMHS.
You need help with substance misuse
- We can refer young people to YDAP (Young Person Drug and Alcohol Programme) – these are specialist workers who can come into school and support you
- We can ask for support from School Nurses specifically for support in stopping smoking or healthy eating.
You think you may be pregnant
- The Academy does not have to inform your parent / carer depending on your age, however we would support and encourage you to do so.
- Your Head of Year can refer you to specialist services who can help.
E-safety is all about staying safe with new technologies such as mobile phones, tablets, laptops and netbooks. New technologies are exciting, innovative, fun and informative and open up a range of possibilities when used safely, however if we are not careful about the way we use these technologies then we can put ourselves and others at risk.
Always ensure your Social Media accounts are private and the privacy settings are the highest they can be. Only accept people as friends if you actually know them. Be aware that:
- Once you have posted something you can never truly delete it
- Never post comments about people if you are not prepared to say it to their face
- Any photos you post via social media can then be used by those companies for whatever purpose they like and you cannot do anything about it!
- Prospective employers and top Universities may look at social media accounts and names used for emails and will often not interview based on what they find
- 80% of 18 year olds regret what they posted when they were younger and wish they could start over.
You are being bullied online
- Block the person who is bullying you – it is hard to do but once it is done then they can’t do anything.
- Speak to an adult in school and make them aware of what is happening – they can support you in keeping safe online and ensuring that it doesn’t happen in school.
- Report the bullying to the social media company they can often issue warnings or remove abusive content.
You are spending too much time online (social media, x-box etc)
- Speak to your parent / carer and ask them to support you in cutting back on the number of hours online.
- Remember the blue light in computer / phone screens keeps your brain active and so there should be no screen time at least 1 hour before you go to bed otherwise you may have difficulty in sleeping.
You are being pressured to send nude pictures
- This is illegal, and you need to inform an adult immediately who will support you and may decide to phone the police.
- If you have sent nude pictures it may be embarrassing to tell an adult, but you need to tell someone – your Head of Year will support in ensuring the pictures are deleted from other people’s accounts and help you tell your parent / carer if you are finding it difficult.
Websites that can help and support young people
Together for Children work on behalf of Sunderland City Council to deliver children services in Sunderland. If you or someone you know is being neglected, abused or living in a household of Domestic Violence you can report it to Together For Children.
NSPCC has a lot of information for young people on a variety of issues to help keep them safe.
Childline has a lot of information including specific information on Domestic Abuse and how to safety plan and get help.
These websites have a lot of information on how to keep yourself safe online and show you how to lock down your privacy settings for social media accounts, as well as the latest news on apps that may be dangerous for young people.
If you are worried about online sexual abuse or the way someone is communicating to you or a friend online then you can make a report to CEOP.
Fearless allows you to report Crime in your community 100% anonymously – even if you don’t have any evidence you can report what is happening – do it online via the website and help keep your community safe.
Talktofrank is a website giving you information about drugs and alcohol and it includes Sunderland YDAP information so you can get in touch with them and refer yourself if you don’t want to go through school.
This page on the NHS website gives you tips on healthy eating.