Confident Teens is celebrating its four year partnership with Herts for Learning, a leading education company operating with a not-for-profit ethos.
Teachers know the impact on learning of friendship difficulties, social media and body worries for teen girls. They see the distraction, anxiety and, sadly all too often, mental health problems that can develop. The ‘Building Resilience’ programme from Confident Teens supports girls to combat these pressures and build their resourcefulness. Hertfordshire secondary schools have seen the difference in progress for girls who have taken part, “This girl is much more engaged and tries difficult questions” fed back one teacher. The programme is of particular benefit to Pupil Premium students.
The Building Resilience programme focuses on equipping girls from Year 7, 8 and 9 with skills to handle the pressures of teen life and beyond. The six workshop programme forms part of schools’ preventative mental health strategies, by supporting girls to develop their self-belief and help prevent mental health problems develop.
“Children with higher levels of well-being have higher levels of academic achievement and are more engaged in school” Department of Education
Looking back over the four years of Confident Teens’ programmes, they have benefited students and schools in these four ways:
1. Supporting progress – academically and personally
By focusing on the topics that girls worry about most, including expressing themselves, friendships and their future lives, the Building Resilience programme addresses barriers to learning and supports girls in their personal development, so they are in a stronger position to progress both personally and academically. For example, in the ‘Speaking Confidently’ module, girls learn the mindset and body language to express themselves confidently, and practise these skills in the session. And teachers have seen the difference in class for example:
“This student has always been an excellent student on paper, but would not speak up. Now she engages in class discussion, leads group tasks and offers to read things out and give answers in front of the whole class.”
2. Raising aspirations
Setting goals for their own futures is an effective way to support girls to progress at school. In the ‘Goals and aspirations’ module of the Building Resilience programme girls are encouraged to consider their future careers, and make short and long term goals towards this achieving this. They are taught how to make a step-by-step plan to achieve their goals, and are held accountable for their progress towards their first goal. And this makes a difference in terms of their aspirations. Feedback includes:
“These students now have greater aspirations for themselves.”
“It was excellent. I have a sense of confidence and feel more positive and ambitious for the future”
Year 9 student
3. Targeted support for Pupil Premium students
This programme is of particular benefit to Pupil Premium students, and can form part of a school’s strategy for closing the gap.
It addresses barriers to learning including confidence, aspirations and engagement.
With groups of 15 girls participating in the programme, every student receives support and encouragement to develop her own skills and mindset.
4. Measuring impact and providing evidence
Measuring impact and providing evidence is integral to the programme, including a before/after comparison of students’ attitudes, plus students’ written feedback of their experience. These findings are compiled into a report for the school, alongside examples of output from the sessions.
95% of students rated the workshops as excellent or good.
During the six workshop programme, varied resources are used for group discussion, individual and small group exercises. Every student has her own four-page workbook in every session, to use for self-reflection, and keep afterwards (a series of six in all).