it is With Mental Well-Being firmly on the national agenda, as part of our mental well-being offer, TSSW was pleased to support the Building Resilient Learners (BRL) project. A collaboration between Sidmouth College (Senior Project Lead, Lisa Whitworth), The University of Exeter (Research Associate, Hollie Gay) and Five Areas Ltd (Dr Chris Williams, Director), funded by the NESTA Future Ready Fund.
The aim of the project was to test whether an emotional health and well-being intervention can be effective in improving pupil’s well-being, which may in turn have a positive effect on their resilience, so that they felt settled in the classroom, were able to attend lessons and improve their school attendance.
Reading this now, clearly, the premise of this academic research has an added depth of meaning and poignancy given the unprecedented lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic that will have unsettled many children and exacerbated existing issues. As professionals, we are already painfully aware that absence from class and school, low resilience and poor well-being can have a negative impact on pupil engagement, outcomes and life chances. Hence the findings are all the more insightful and relevant.
The intervention was aimed at Year 7 students with the lowest well-being scores, and was conducted as a six-week series of classes based on a Cognitive Behaviour Therapy resource entitled ‘My Big Life’ created by Five Areas Ltd, with each session delivered as a life-skills lesson.
Obviously, the school closures presented an additional challenge, but it is heartening that the conclusions were positive. Data from the students’ reflective journals is encouraging in that the Building Resilient Learners was found to have a positive effect on the measurable well-being and resilience of students with low well-being scores. It is particularly heartening that the children participating in the project were putting these positive life skills into practice in their everyday life, both in and beyond school. Positive makes positive.
The project leaders are grateful to those schools who participated in the study – not least in view of the Covid-19 circumstances. We also thanks Lisa Whitworth for her excellent leadership and vision for the project, Hollie Gay for her academic rigour and Chris Williams for providing the substance based on Cognitive Behaviour Therapy principles.
You can read the full report here.