Kate to highlight Children’s Mental Health Week with school visits

The Duchess of Cambridge will meet the woman named as the world’s best teacher during a series of school visits to mark Children’s Mental Health Week.

Kate will travel to north-west London to learn how the school of award-winning Andria Zafirakou is supporting the wellbeing of pupils and staff.

Ms Zafirakou was awarded a million dollars (£766,000) in prize money and the 2018 Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize, which recognises an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the profession.

The art and textiles teacher, who works at Alperton Community School in Brent, learnt how to say basic greetings in many of the 35 languages spoken at the school to help parents feel welcome.

Andria Zafirakou, named the world's best teacher last year, teaches at Alperton Community School in Brent, north-west London (Varkey Foundation/PA)
Andria Zafirakou, named the world's best teacher last year, teaches at Alperton Community School in Brent, north-west London (Varkey Foundation/PA)

With colleagues she redesigned the curriculum to make it relevant to pupils, is known for taking the time to understand students’ lives by visiting their homes, and was awarded an MBE in the New Year Honours.

Place2Be, a children’s mental health charity which has the duchess as its royal patron, is behind Children’s Mental Health Week which this year has a theme of Healthy: Inside and Out, focusing on the connection between physical and mental health.

The charity works with more than 280 primary and secondary schools across England, Scotland and Wales, providing support and expert training to improve the emotional wellbeing of pupils, families, teachers and school staff.

Kate, pictured during an event to open the headquarters of Place2Be, has been the charity's patron since 2013. Victoria Jones/PA Wire
Kate, pictured during an event to open the headquarters of Place2Be, has been the charity's patron since 2013. Victoria Jones/PA Wire

During her visit to Alperton Community School, Kate will join a round-table discussion with teachers about students’ school readiness and teacher welfare, and will meet pupils taking part in an extracurricular club focusing on the wellbeing of the school community.

The duchess will also visit Lavender Primary School in Enfield, north London, to watch pupils taking part in the school’s Daily Mile challenge, which teaches children about the importance of being active.

She will also join a group of parents talking about the challenges of putting in place good routines and habits around sleep, screen time, healthy eating and exercise.