We have now finished recruitment and are working with 84 schools across the United Kingdom
What is the purpose of the project?
Adolescence is a time of change and development. Learning skills that build resilience has the potential to help adolescents navigate these challenges during their time at school and build a platform to serve them throughout their lives. We will be exploring how we can prepare young people to improve resilience and manage their emotional health.
What will we do?
We are comparing existing, good quality social emotional learning that is already being taught in schools (known as ‘teaching as usual’) to a programme of study that is based on mindfulness techniques. Mindfulness is a way of being present to experiences as they happen, rather than worrying about what has happened or might happen in the future.
How have schools been chosen?
We invited mainstream secondary schools in the UK to apply to take part. We looked for a range of schools that are representative of schools in the UK.
You are part of the project – what does this mean?
This means that your school has been randomly allocated, using a computer programme, to continue either with ‘teaching as usual,’ or to provide the mindfulness programme alongside your current teaching.
For schools allocated to the mindfulness training programme, participating teachers take part in mindfulness training. This personal mindfulness training is followed by a four-day pupil curriculum training. Following this, between September and December 2018, teachers are asked to deliver the pupil curriculum in their school to a group of young people, who will not be research participants, to gain experience in delivering the programme. Teachers then teach the course again, as part of the research, between January and July 2019 to classes of Year 8 or 9 pupils.
The schools selected for the ‘teaching as usual’ group continue to teach their usual scheduled lessons. To maintain the integrity of the project, we ask these schools not to implement mindfulness training for pupils or staff during the three years of their involvement. These schools are, however, free to continue to develop their social and emotional learning (SEL) provision in other ways.
When will we visit?
In participating schools, all pupils in Years 7 and 8 were invited to take part in the project and complete a questionnaire about their thoughts and feelings. In the following academic year, a subset of these pupils go on to complete further questionnaires and again at three additional time points. The diagram bellows shows a pupil’s progression through the three years of the project.
Teachers who participate in the project are also expected to complete the questionnaires at the five time points. The diagram below shows a teacher’s progression through the three years of the project.