The work of educational psychologists supporting pupils across the north-east during the Covid-19 pandemic has been praised by councillors.
Aberdeenshire Council’s education and children’s services committee received an update on how the local authority is dealing with the crisis.
Youngsters spent several months out of the classroom in a bid to curb the spread of the virus, only returning earlier this month – leading to increased concerns over those struggling with their mental health.
During lockdown, the council set up a telephone service to replace the care usually provided in school, manned by educational psychologists.
Open to any parents or pupils with concerns, the confidential service continues to operate on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.
And members of the committee praised its impact on young people across the region after hearing it had fielded thousands of calls.
North Kincardine councillor Alison Evison said: “I want to give particular praise to the educational psychologists for the service they have been providing for vulnerable children.
“Part of our response to the pandemic must be to see what we can learn from the good practices which have come into effect.
“Let’s look at how we can continue this service as we go back to normal.”
Anne Simpson, who represents Central Buchan, added: “Mental health has been such an issue and the support the team has given to children and young people has been fantastic.”
Councillors heard the phone service had received between 15 and 20 calls every day – amounting to thousands over the course of lockdown.
With pupils returning to school, the local authority will continue to assess how they have been affected and put targeted support in place if necessary.
Laurence Findlay, the council’s director of education and children’s services, said: “It’s fair to say everyone has been learning at 100 miles per hour and we are not going to get everything right at the first attempt.
“I have spoken to headteachers on a number of occasions and although we will make mistakes, we are learning all the time.
“The educational psychology service has been getting about 15 to 20 calls a day so it is clearly having an impact.
“We have to look at how we can continue that.”