Community collaboration results in school safe space

A special safe space set up in a Stonehaven school for pupils and teachers is already proving useful.

Thursday, 14th October 2021, 9:55 am
Pictured are Louise Moir (l), Head Teacher at Mackie Academy, and Scott Rennie (r) from Raeburn Christie Clark and Wallace in the Raeburn Room.

Thanks to £1,000 worth of funding from Raeburn, Christie, Clark and Wallace, Solicitors, Mackie Academy was able to convert a secluded space to become a room specifically dedicated for use as a quiet area.

The room became a place where pupils can take time to reflect or where challenging conversations can take place in a calm environment.

Commenting on the new facility, Mackie Academy Head Teacher Louise Moir explained: “When we came back from the second period of lockdown, we knew that perhaps there were going to be greater demand around both our staff and our pupils’ health and wellbeing.

“We were also very much aware that many of the rooms are formal and make pupils and staff think they are in a classroom or meeting room. It is not going to be the best setting if you are having a conversation that may be quite difficult, challenging or emotional. The spaces are also quite public, so people don’t feel comfortable about the setting they are in.”

To resolve this dilemma, Mackie Academy with the financial support of local solicitors Raeburn, Christie, Clark and Wallace created a bespoke room called the Raeburn Room.

The room is specifically designed for those moments during the school day when a private space is required.

The Stonehaven school also used funding obtained from the Scottish Government to meet additional costs.

The room was redecorated, painted with a calming colour, and furniture was added, including a comfy sofa, so the room could be used for a variety of activities and to make it look less like a classroom or a teaching space.

It is used for internal one-to-one meetings with pupils and staff, small group work and on occasions when upsetting or difficult news needs to be shared with a pupil. Meanwhile, it can also be utlised for external meetings, such as supporters catching up with their young carers also use this safe space.

Louise Moir added: “I am hugely grateful to Raeburn, Christie, Clark and Wallace for the support provided. We are a community-minded school, so it is great to be able to work in partnership with local business to improve the school.”

Callum McDonald, the Managing Partner of Raeburn, Christie, Clark and Wallace, said: “We have now been established in Stonehaven for over 30 years and our recent acquisition of Connons of Stonehaven has consolidated our place at the heart of the business community of the town.

"We were delighted to take the opportunity to support the school in creating the safe space at a time when it is needed more than ever. We hope that both staff and pupils of the school benefit from the facility for many years to come.”

Lockdown has been difficult for many people, but particularly school children.

A survey from Young Minds showed that 80% of young people with an existing mental health problem felt their mental health had worsened during the first weeks of the coronavirus pandemic.