On Thursday, June 18, the Duchess of Cambridge led an online assembly for the school children across the UK via OAK National Academy as the patron of Place2Be. In a pre-recorded message based on the theme ‘Spread a Little Kindness‘, the Duchess spoke about the importance of children’s mental wellbeing during the School Assembly. The assembly encouraged children to explore ways of showing kindness and recognise the benefits of being kind to others.
OAK National Academy is an online classroom providing high-quality video lessons and free resources to parents and teachers. The Academy was created in response to the lockdown due to COVID-19 and supports teachers in educating their pupils remotely. Since its launch, the Academy has delivered over 12 million lessons to children and young people.
From its website,
Every teacher has had to adapt since the coronavirus lockdown. They’ve changed plans at speed – moving resources online, teaching remotely, and continuing to support their students. Oak National Academy is our contribution. It has been built by more than 80 state school teachers and organisations across the sector, working together. Our aim is to support teachers to support their pupils. Nothing can replace the unique relationships between teachers and their pupils. But we hope our bank of high-quality video lessons and resources can help support remote teaching.
We’ll cover a range of subjects including maths, English, art and languages. Teachers can use these to complement their own lesson planning and teaching until schools fully re-open. Parents can access our resources to support home learning, as guided by their child’s school. Every lesson will be free to use for every teacher and every pupil.
We built Oak National Academy at speed, and have now expanded to include a specialist curriculum. This is our initial offer, but we want to do more. It doesn’t yet cover the full range on offer in schools in normal times. And it doesn’t yet cater to the full range of pupils who attend specialist settings. We intend to develop our curriculum in the coming weeks and add content as we can. We’re also looking to expand our offer in KS4.
Each week OAK National Academy hosts an assembly in partnership with TES, available from 11 am Thursday. These are opportunities for school children, teachers and others to come together, hear from some inspirational guest speakers, and to think and talk about wider things affecting everyone. You can join the Assembly live here.
Drumroll please… 🥁🥁🥁
This week, we’re absolutely thrilled to have The Duchess of Cambridge leading our assembly with @tes on kindness ❗️❤️👫
With help with from some special guests from @WaterlooPA 🤗
Don’t miss it this Thursday at 10am!@KensingtonRoyal @Place2Be pic.twitter.com/p0iSvxVpGU
— Oak National Academy (@OakNational) June 17, 2020
On Wednesday, June 17, Kensington Palace released a clip of the message that was recorded the previous week. which speaking from her Norfolk house, Anmer Hall, the Duchess of Cambridge said,
Hello everyone and thank you very much for inivting me to take part in your assembly. Today, I wanted to talk to you about the importance of being kind and looking after one another.
We all have our ups and down, especially when things change in our lives, as they have in so many ways recntly. This can cause us to have a huge range of different feelings- sometimes these feelings can be good, but sometimes they may be uncomfortable and we feel worried, angry or upset. Being unable to see your friends or spent time with your family will undoubtedly be frustrating for you, just as it is for them. it’s been really diffidult time for us all.
But it’s improtant to know that these feelings and frustrations are totally normal and they won’t last forever. Talking to someone, whether it’s a friend, family member, or teacher, is something you can do to make yourself feel that little bit better.
And you can also play your part in helping others to feel better too, whether offering a friendly ear, or helping someone in need. Small acts of kindness can go such a long way.
But as we help others, we mustn’t forget to nurture ourselves, by taking the time to focus on the things that make us feel happy too. This might be palying our favourite game, being outside or talking to your friends. They all help with our mental wellbeing.
I’m now going to join a zoom call with some pupils from Waterloo Primary Academy in Waterloo to find out what kindness means to them.
The Duchess’ assembly was based on Place2Be’s lesson plan ‘Spread a Little Kindness’ which was part of Children’s Mental Health Week 2017 and is available on the Mentally Healthy Schools platform. Mentally Healthy Schools Website was developed in collaboration with children’s mental health charity Place2Be and encourage children to explore ways in which they can show kindness, and recognise the benefits of kindness to others.
The Duchess of Cambridge launched the Mentally Healthy Schools site in January 2018, as a legacy of The Royal Foundation’s Heads Together campaign, where schools can find hundreds of resources to help them support their pupils’ wellbeing. The site was developed by leading children’s mental health charities The Anna Freud Centre, Young Minds and Place2Be and is being managed by The Anna Freud Centre. The Duchess of Cambridge patron of both The Anna Freud Centre and Place2Be. At the launch, The Duchess of Cambridge said,
“I’m all too aware, of how much we ask teachers to take on. You need resources you can trust, and you need to have easy access to them at all times.”
School kids watching Duchess’s video. During the assembly, the Duchess also talked to students from Waterloo Primary Academy in Blackpool, whose parents have been working on the frontline during the coronavirus pandemic. In the clip, we can see her asking,
Who wants to tell me what kindness means?
A student responded back with a sweet answer, “Treat people how you want to be treated? Sharing? That’s Kindness.” From Daily Mail’s report,
The children shared photographs they had taken and submitted to The Duchess’s Hold Still photography project, based around one of its central themes, ‘Acts of Kindness’, and spoke about the acts of kindness they have carried out in recent weeks.
Matt Hood, Principal at Oak National Academy, said: ‘We’re thrilled that The Duchess of Cambridge was able to lead this week’s assembly on acts of kindness. Being kind and considerate is a vital lesson for children at any time, but especially so in the current pandemic. We must encourage young people to talk about their feelings and to know that it’s normal to feel a bit anxious or upset right now.
‘The Duchess’s Hold Still competition is a fantastic way to get children engaging with their mental wellbeing as they think about what kindness means to them and how they can show it towards others.’
Duchess concluded the call with a lovely message, “Look after yourself. Reach out when you need help. And do your part to support those in need“.
For the video message, The Duchess of Cambridge was wearing a stunning Marks & Spencer Printed Yoke Midi Waisted Dress. Thanks to Katie on Twitter for the quick id.
The £39.50 Liberty-Esque blue floral print dress features a shirred waist and puff sleeves. It’s described on the online store as, “Take style inspiration from country gardens with this cabbage-print dress. Frilled, slightly puffed sleeves and an elasticated waist add structure to its breezy shape. Midi length with a round neck and short sleeves”. The Dress is currently available online.
The print is also available in £12 Floral Waisted Short Sleeve Top. It’s possible that Duchess might be wearing a top instead of the dress.