East Norfolk Sixth Form College hires full-time nurse as it puts mental health at the heart of the matter

East Norfolk Sixth Form College principal Catherine Richards. Picture supplied

East Norfolk Sixth Form College principal Catherine Richards. Picture supplied - Credit: Supplied

The principal of a sixth form has emphasised the importance of acknowledging mental health, after making it a priority at the college.

East Norfolk Sixth Form College in Gorleston has placed extra focus on the wellbeing of its students this school year, adding a full-time nurse to its team.

The addition comes as the college continues to make pastoral carer a priority, an issue principal Catherine Richards identified as crucial.

Dr Richards, who has been principal at the college for five years, said: 'Mental health is as much a part of being a young person as it is being an adult, particularly when making that transition as our students are.

'Our students are at points in their lives when they are beginning to think about what they want to do in life and planning for the future, which is a great deal of pressure for them to be dealing with. This can lead to such issues as pressure and anxiety.'

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The college was recently praised by regulatory body Ofsted for its 'supportive culture' and Dr Richards said the addition of a nurse is something the sixth form had been considering for a long time.

She said: 'The students are willing and happy to go to her and the parents also know the service is there, so it is making a big difference.

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'I'm positive that the more support we offer our students the better they achieve, which is of the highest interest to both the college and the students themselves.

'Moving from school to a large sixth form like this is a key moment in life, so it is incredibly important to make sure that they are looked after, both in terms of their education and their wellbeing.'

The college's Ofsted inspection was published in January, with inspectors returning 'good' verdicts in all categories.

Dr Richards spoke passionately about the Great Yarmouth area, suggesting its achievements are often overlooked.

She said: 'We are an area that faces certain challenges, but within that there are still a lot of great things happening. At the moment we as a college are experiencing more students going on to university than we ever have before. 'There is a lot going on Great Yarmouth and the surrounding area that we can all be proud of.'

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