Students from Years 9 and 10 have mentored younger students in a series of self-awareness workshops led by humanutopia. The company specialises in programmes that help young people reflect on their behaviour and that of others. They are encouraged to talk about issues such as bullying, self-esteem and problems and are trained to resolve them by showing respect and communicating.
This is the second series of workshops that has been led by the London-based company and the feedback has been very postive. Over 40 students volunteered to undergo ‘Heroes’ training which then allowed them to co-facilitate workshop sessions with the younger students.
Vice Principal Mr Strickland said: ‘They are working with small groups of students about issues, problems and their futures. They give advice and guidance from their own experience so it is, in many respects, more powerful as it is students coaching students. The intention is that these bonds will continue and we are looking to roll this programme out next academic year with the new Year 7s and we will be training more heroes.
‘They have been very positive workshops with a mixture of tears and laughter. The students were really pushed to think about who they are, how they behave with other people and to talk about the situations facing them, particularly if they are being bullied or are a bully themself. It has forced them to think quite hard which is good.’
The days were led by humanutopia facilitators Steve Bicket, Ben Hooson-Jones and Lauren McCormack. Lauren said: ‘It has been a pleasure to work with this school. It is enjoyable because behaviour is great and all we are doing is bringing out personalities in students and really getting them to express themselves in a way they are not used to. It’s all about what the barriers to learning are, the barriers to being yourself.’
Ben added: ‘The students had great concentration levels and were incredibly well behaved. For me the message is find out and be happy with who you are, then you don’t need to rely on what anyone else says to you. It is having that self-confidence and belief in yourself.’ Steve said: ‘The Year 8s must be the best-behaved year group I have ever worked with. The heroes were phenomenal and they kept the students inspired and energetic.’