Resilient Pupil Programme
Call of the Wild Development Trust
The Trust, which is a Community Interest Company (CIC), was formed with the purpose of offering a Resilient Pupil Programme, free of charge principally to Primary school children in the community who are about to transition to Secondary school. It is designed to develop resilient, confident young people who are able to cope with difficult situations now and in their future lives, by building their mental toughness and improving their wellbeing.
Through our programme, which includes various team tasks over seven days we build their confidence, communication skills and positive behaviour. On the last day we take them for an outdoor activity such as climbing or gorge scrambling which pushes them out of their comfort zone so they can use all the skills gathered over the programme.
This has never been more important due to the impact of Covid. Children have spent too long looking at screens and we need to get them to connect with each other in the outdoors to offset the anxiety and lack of confidence they are feeling.
The “Pupil Resilience” programme can be suitable for both year 6 and year 10 pupils. The programme seeks to improve resilience within year 6 pupils during their important transition from primary to secondary education and year 10 pupils about to start GCSE’s thereby improving performance during these key stages in their school life.
What is a CIC?
A Community Interest Company is a type of company, introduced by the UK Government in 2005 under the Companies Act 2004, designed for social enterprises that want to use their profits and assets for the public good.
The programme aims to introduce the concepts and benefits of “Pupil Resilience” to the staff and pupils of the schools involved and focusses on the development of the following behaviours and skills;
- Increased personal and inter-personal confidence
- Increased social skills
- Increased ability to work effectively with others
- Increased self-awareness
- Increased resilience in the face of challenges
- Introduce the concept of reflective learning
Mental Resilience and Building Confidence
The first step in this programme is to assess all pupils with the MTQ48 Young Person’s/Education questionnaire. Secondly to assess the impact (effectiveness) of interventions delivered to each young person.
The levels of Mental Toughness (Resilience) of pupils taking part are measured using the MTQ 48 Mental Toughness Report. This psychometric has been shown to be a robust and reliable tool for measuring the overall mental toughness (resilience) of pupils when faced with the day to day pressures of school life.
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Recent research carried out in schools, colleges and universities in the UK and Europe show that there is a close link between Mental Toughness and the following critical parameters:
- Performance-in exams and tests
- Wellbeing- the ability to deal with the pressures and challenges of everyday life
- Positive behaviours-the higher the Mental Toughness the more the individual displays positive “can do” behaviours
- Aspirations-the higher the level of Mental Toughness the individual displays the greater the level of aspirations of the individual. This is particularly relevant to areas of economic and social deprivation
The MTQ48 Distance Travelled Report further enhances the effectiveness of this process by measuring an individual’s progress and may be used to assess the effectiveness of any programme of interventions.
Mental toughness is a personality trait which determines, in some part, how individuals perform when exposed to stressors, pressure and challenge …. irrespective of the prevailing situation. Our programme looks at the following areas.
Describes to what extent you see challenges, change, adversity & variety as opportunities or as threats.
“stick-ability”. Describes to what extent you will “make promises” and the extent to which you will keep those promises.
“Can do”. Do you believe you shape what happens to you and can manage your emotions when doing it?
A measure of self-worth. Indicates the extent to which we believe we shape what happens to us … or the other way around
Measures how effectively an individual manages their emotional response to situations and manages the mood of people around them – positively
“Self-Belief”. Describes to what extent you believe you have the ability to deal with challenge and the inner strength to stand your ground when needed.Confidence in Abilities is a measure of self- esteem, identifying the extent to which you feel worthwhile and in need of external validation. Interpersonal Confidence measures the extent to which we are prepared to assert ourselves and our preparedness to deal with challenge or ridicule
Why Mental Toughness is Useful for Transition
It helps young people deal better with:
- New settings – secondary school
- New programmes & courses – GCSE studies, coursework and exams
- New teachers/peers, etc..
- New experiences and opportunities
Duration and Format of Programme
The programme can range from a one day introduction through to a full 7 day development programme culminating with a masterclass. This can be spread over a whole term. It can be split between delivery at the school and off site delivery, possibly at our centre in the Brecon Beacons or similar. To really reinforce the messages, learning and understanding on the part of the pupils we would also recommend a residential element at our centre but this is optional.
Feedback has been requested from the teachers at some of the schools involved. The overwhelming reaction from each teacher was that the experience of the pupils has been a very positive one.
“I would like to take this opportunity to fully support the ‘Mental Toughness’ project. The ethos of reflection, evaluation and improvement that the project promotes reinforces school, county and national priorities. It was great to see these principles transferred to the everyday activities of pupils and PSE tasks (not only reading/ writing activities). It was also a great opportunity for me to assess the pupils’ social skills – some behaved as expected while others totally exceeded my expectations (always a joy to see the academically weaker/ quieter pupils shine through). We have started using similar activities with the junior’s on a weekly basis and look forward to rolling this out to the rest of the school.”
“The reasoning behind the programme and its aims were very clear to see and will definitely benefit pupils, given more time. The activities were excellent – they challenged the pupils so much so that pupils felt they were ‘impossible’ however, pupils had a massive sense of achievement once they were completed. It was great to see such determination in the pupils and the encouragement that they gave one another.”
Head of Year 6
Cwmnedd Primary School
“As regards the project – it was excellent – as it gave different children opportunities to respond in ways that the class teacher did not expect. It also highlighted certain group issues – regarding the ability to work with others – take criticism and problem solving.
What were most interesting were the answers to the questionnaire that the children filled in. As a school we do believe that increasing self –esteem and giving children opportunities outside the classroom does have a positive effect. After reading the results it’s obvious that we have a long way to go. The ability to control their own futures was particularly stark and it would be great to do further work on mentoring and opening up opportunities to broaden their horizons – in the big world but also inside their own minds!!
We were delighted to take part in this project and would welcome further input – as this is a crucial area for children in the valley to develop.
Gwilym Lewis Jones
YGG Y Wern