School’s focus on resilience skills earns national recognition

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A Manchester school’s work to develop their pupils’ resilience skills has earned them national recognition.

Newall Green High School has developed a PLEATS programme (personal, learning, emotional and thinking skills) to embed resilience in teaching. It has also written a new curriculum for years 7, 10 and 11 called Time for TEA, focused on thoughts, emotions and actions.

The school’s work was recognised as the winners of the national Resilience and Results competition were unveiled.

The competition judges said they were “especially impressed” with the school’s family liaison work and its “extensive work across their curriculum to develop pupils’ key resilience skills”.

Newall Green was last year judged to have “serious weaknesses” by Ofsted, but since then has begun to turn things around with inspectors already noting improvements, including better attendance. Other strategies praised by judges include a school-based social worker, emotional health advisor and police officer who work to support families.

The school’s resilience curriculum was developed in partnership with more than 40 health and education professionals across Manchester and an assistant head oversees the resilience work. 

The competition is run by the Children and Young People’s Mental Health Coalition, which campaigns for schools to champion a culture focused on good mental health and emotional wellbeing.

Last year, it produced a free resource for schools, Resilience and Results, offering guidance on approaching, intervening and taking steps to prevent behavioural and emotional difficulties arising in pupils.

First prize in the competition went to Kings Hedges Educational Federation, a primary school in Cambridge, while runners-up awards went to Newall Green as well as Epsom Downs Primary School in Surrey.

Lead judge, Katherine Weare, Emeritus Professor of Education and honorary member at the Faculty of Public Health, said: “It is encouraging to see so many schools that place the mental health and wellbeing of their pupils at the heart of their work.”

She continued: “They not only understand the inextricable link between emotional resilience and academic attainment, but how investment now can lay the foundations for a positive and mentally healthy adulthood.”

For more on the award winners, visit www.cypmhc.org.uk/schools_competition_2013

For the Resilience and Results resource, see www.cypmhc.org.uk/resources/cypmhc_launches_a_new_guide_for_schools_resilience


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