Inspiring head teacher's letter to parents goes viral in Milton Keynes

The head teacher's empathetic message to his pupils' parents reminding them that their and their families' that mental welfare should come first has hit a chord.

Friday, 22nd January 2021, 3:16 pm
Updated Friday, 22nd January 2021, 3:19 pm
Richard Benson, head teacher at Leedon Lower School, his letter has gone viral at Milton Keynes and beyond

Richard Benson, head teacher at Leedon Lower School in Bedford, praised the parents of his pupils, reassuring them it is ok to feel overwhelmed by the strains of homeschooling.

The letter stated: "“What our parents and carers have been asked to do over the last couple of weeks has been an impossible task. I want parents and carers to understand that it’s not hard because they are doing it wrong. It’s hard because it's too much."

One of the more surprising aspects of the letter was Mr Benson encouraging families to take breaks from school work and not 'feel guilty' if an exercise is missed. The letter stated: "Don't feel guilty if some things get missed. Find out what works best for you and your family during the next few weeks.

"Share a book, watch a film, bake a cake, have a nap. If you have to choose, because at some point you will, choose being together. Choose playing a game over arguing about schoolwork. Choose teaching your child how to make a cheese sandwich rather than feeling frustrated that they aren’t helping. Choose laughing, cuddling and reminding the children that they are safe.”

He also said: "If you feel yourself getting stressed (because you will), lower your expectations where you can and ask for help. We are in this together. That means mentally as well."

Sarah Arkle, the parent who first shared the letter online, said: "I would never normally share a letter on Facebook but every conversation I had with anyone who is a parent has been about how hard they are finding this lockdown and I felt like people needed to see the letter as it really felt like the perfect wording and tone.

"The response has been so positive and parents are finding reassurance and comfort in knowing that none of us are finding this easy."

Mr Benson explained his thinking behind the letter and his surprise at the response, he said: "I didn't expect the letter to go beyond the families of our children at Leedon Lower School, and I'm delighted it has struck a chord with so many parents across the country.

"I put together the letter by using quotes from inspirational figures and my own personal thoughts as a way to process what we are currently being asked to do. I think the timing helped, with the letter landing on Blue Monday and the beginning of the third week of homeschooling, this is the sort of message that was desperately needed.

"We have been inundated with thank you messages from parents and carers. It's been quite something."