AN ISLE of Wight school wants local military veterans to spend time with their students and become great role models for them.

St George’s School, in Watergate Road, Newport, is extending a warm welcome to those who have served in the British forces, from across the Island, to come along and share their experiences and common interests.

St George’s is a secondary special school for young people, aged 11-19, with severe and complex learning needs. 

School spokesperson, Mike Sizer-Green, said: "We want to welcome military veterans, who have a wealth of worldly experience and are able to offer time to spend with some of our students. 

"The intention would be for students to build positive relationships with community members, share common interests, talk about experiences and, for our volunteer military veterans to become a positive role model for identified students. 

How to become a forces veteran volunteer at St George's School

For more information, you are invited to attend a 'get to know you' tea and cake event at St George’s School, Watergate Road, Newport, tomorrow (Wednesday), between 1.30pm and 2.30pm. 

Further information, or details of how to register your interest, contact the school office on 524634.

"As the only state secondary school on the Island, we have a diverse range of needs running through our student population. 

"At St George’s, we believe some of our students are now experiencing the effects of the recent pandemic and the impact of lockdowns.

"They have missed out on essential social interactions and experiences as a result. 

"We have a small number of students experiencing challenges with their wellbeing and this is often communicated through behaviour that can be difficult, alongside dysregulated emotional responses."

Dysregulation, or emotional dysregulation, is an inability to control or regulate emotional responses, which can lead to significant mood swings or significant changes in mood, which can include sadness, anger, irritability and frustration. 

"Our students are often socially isolated and don’t always form a strong identity with peers at school," Mike adds. 

"They look to community activity or social media networks to build relationships, but these can often have a negative impact on their wellbeing in the longer term. 

"Some of our students are incredibly vulnerable and engage in risk-taking behaviours to ‘fit in’. 

"This has led to some low-level criminal activity, anti-social behaviour and this has an impact on dynamics within the school setting."

Recent studies involving volunteer military veterans in another Island school, veterans were able to express and reflect on values important to them, and relayed to a younger generation. 

Military veteran volunteers stated that they benefitted themselves, by reminiscing to children about their service, and described the positive effect it had on their mood and memory. 

Children taking part in that project showed real enthusiasm, with teaching staff noticing a real change in the attitude and attainment of participating pupils. 

"When you become a volunteer at St George’s, you can expect to be treated like one of the school team. You will be provided with a warm space, a hot drink and wonderful students to chat and learn with," added Mike. 

Veterans be willing to undergo security vetting.