The confidence-building initiative is known as TEA (short for thoughts, emotions and actions), so staff at St Paul’s Catholic High School in Wythenshawe treated year 7 pupils to a slap-up tea – with delicious cakes and cups of tea served in vintage china cups.
Specifically devised for the school’s 175-strong year 7 cohort, the TEA programme lasts for 18 weeks and aims to support children in their first year of secondary school and beyond.
Delivered as part of PSHE and citizenship lessons, TEA helps youngsters to manage their thoughts, emotions and actions.
“The pupils learn to recognise the impact their thoughts, emotions and actions may have on their day-to-day lives,” explained Cathie Halbert, the school’s lead for emotional literacy, who organises the programme.
“This understanding will help them to interact more effectively with peers and adults alike. We have created a great number of visual resources around school and the programme is very interactive, with lots of interesting and exciting tasks in each lesson.
“The lessons promote positive interaction and boost interpersonal skills by allowing everyone to voice an opinion in a non-confrontational manner.
“Pupils are also encouraged to develop their team-building skills as they engage in a variety of tasks that require different skill-sets to succeed, such as thinking, planning, doing and evaluating.”
The launch tea party proved to be a huge success, with pupils jumping at the chance to try a host of specialist teas.
“The use of the vintage crockery, loaned to us by a member of staff, was a huge benefit,” said Ms Halbert, who is also working on a refresher programme for students once they get to year 9.
She continued: “It added a lovely element of refinement and much discussion as to whether the little finger should stick out when drinking from the dainty cups.”
Headteacher Fiona Minshall is confident that the pupils will enjoy the programme and benefit from the skills they gain.
“The programme will boost confidence, resilience and self-esteem in the children, with the result of improving their behaviour and school performance,” she said.