This project was funded by the City of Wolverhampton Council
What is it and who is it for?
This programme began in 2019 and to date, we have engaged 6 cohorts of girls, a total of 76 pupils. The nature and intensity of the programme means we can comfortably accommodate 12 pupils per programme though we have extended this to 14 in two of the schools we have/are working with.
What we do
We liaise with the respective schools to identify those participants who would benefit most from the programme which has at its core resilience building. We tailor the content to address a range of issues which includes self-esteem, body image, self-harm, gender stereotypes, personal branding, ambitions and aspirations, relationships, building and developing confidence, keeping safe in the real and virtual world, domestic abuse, sexual health, mental health and wellbeing. We also provide a safe space where issues additional to those outlined above can be raised.
All participants are provided with journals to capture amongst other things their thoughts and feelings using a range of mediums e.g. drawing, photos, text (prose, poetry), collage and so forth. These journals are their private property, though some share their entries which provides a springboard for wider discussion around the particular topic/(s).
For primary aged pupils we take a much more creative, crafting approach to ensure we maintain their engagement but also to make the experience fun and memorable.
The secondary aged pupils enjoy elements of creativity i.e a ninja activity to dispel negative thinking and behaviours and also engage in extensive debate, challenging not only their thinking and responses but those of their peers.
Both the primary and secondary school pupils engage in a significant degree of peer and self-regulation.
Some pupils ask for additional support in pursuit of their academic goals which we relay to the schools on their behalf. Others ask us to expedite pre-existing referrals to outside agencies which we do in partnership with the schools.
The feedback from the participants is extremely positive and especially so from those who at the start of the programme are suspicious about the reasons they are identified for the programme and concerned about the information we gather being shared with the schools. As is our practice we check their understanding of safeguarding at the start of the programme, explain what it means for us and the legal requirement to notify the school if any such issues came to light during the sessions. The development of trust is critically important to the success or otherwise of a programme of this nature and it important to deliver the programme in such a way that trust is developed and sustained early on.