This project was funded by the Safer Wolverhampton Partnership
What is it and who is it for?
In 2017 we adapted our Safe Hands core programme to design and develop a bespoke project which we delivered in three Schools across Wolverhampton.
What we did
Prior to delivery we worked with the schools to identify those pupils who would gain greatest benefit from participation in the programme as well as to explore generic issues faced by the school and locality. We based the programme contents on these conversations as well as biographies for each pupil to ensure it was tailored to their specific needs. In addition we adapted delivery and content throughout the lifespan of the programme to respond to concerns/issues raised by the pupils.
In the first year of delivery we worked with 3 groups of pupils. These were Years 5, 6 and 7, at three schools in Wolverhampton. Two were primary schools and the other a secondary school. The Year 5 and 6 groups were both boys and girls and the Year 7 group was an all boys group.
Each pupil was provided with a video recorder to use during the lifetime of the programme to capture their daily lives. This footage was converted to DVD format and issued to the pupils alongside their certificate of participation at the end of the programme.
We created a supportive, fun, respectful, non-judgemental and safe environment allowing the pupils uninterrupted opportunities to share their thoughts, fears and concerns.
Years 5 and 6
The 6 session programme, delivered over 12 weeks, used a range of creative techniques, e.g. crafting, quizzes, games, to ensure continued engagement and interest. We explored a wide range of topics which included risky situations/behaviours, keeping safe, as well as dealing with their anxieties around transition to the secondary phase. We shared mindfulness techniques with the groups and they created their own mindfulness galaxy jars to use at home to help deal with worries/anxieties and stress.
One of the significant outcomes of this work was the facilitators’ ability to gain the trust of the pupils to ensure the success of the programme. One of the primary schools commented that this programme had gathered more information from the pupils about their lives than any other programme they had participated in at school. This was possible because we gave the pupils a safe space to be themselves, listened to what they had to say and followed through where we had given undertakings to do so.
The 6 session programme delivered to the Year 7 all boys group also looked at risky behaviours, with a particular emphasis on the impact of being gang involved, decision making, the consequences of choices, relationships, worries and concerns, coping mechanisms, personal branding as well as ambitions and aspirations. The programme involved the use of short videos to stimulate discussion, creative activities e.g. artwork, spoken word etc., as well as activities to challenge thinking and choices which were moderated through peer and self-regulation.
One significant outcome from this programme was a positive shift in the perspectives of the pupils around the dangers to them and others of carrying weapons.