Charles Darwin Primary School is based in the centre of Norwich and is part of the Inspiration Trust. It is one of the first primary schools we started working with as part of our collaboration with the brilliant team at Norwich School Sport Partnership, who fund our ‘RISE Up’ early intervention mental wellbeing programme for all primary schools within their partnership.
In this case study, Charles Darwin’s inspirational Head of PE, James Tuthill, talks us through their intent, implementation and impact of the RISE Up programme in their setting.
‘Learning happens from the feet up’ - Mike Kuczala
‘One of our targets for Physical Education, School Sport, Physical Activity (PESSPA) this year was to widen the scope for improving the wellbeing of our pupils. Following an introduction through our local Norwich School Sports Partnership I investigated the ‘RISE Up’ Early Intervention Mental Wellbeing programme.
We initially set out by completing the School Wellbeing Scorecard back in October 2022, achieving a score of 48%. This was useful as the suggestions offered gave us scope to enhance our school offer.
Our SEN and PE delivering staff completed the ‘RISE Up’ online teacher training and then set out our aim to provide the programme to our pupils.
Our next stage was to highlight appropriate pupils to access the programme. Through meeting the SENCo we noticed that we had a collection of young people, who have suffered childhood trauma and are less engaged in school and who were yet to receive support due to the strain of staffing.
We created a list of pupils who could then attend a purposeful active intervention to benefit their mental health and class engagement. They took part in two terms of intervention where the learning content of sessions around self awareness, healthy habits, mental fitness and accessing the happiness chemicals were condensed to 15 minutes, to promote engagement followed by 30 minutes of active challenge through the RISE categories.
All of our pupils then accessed a Norwich School Sports Partnership event providing the pupils with an outlet for their positive relationship with physical activity and hosting a Day of Calm event with their staff which reinforced the importance of checking in on ourselves.
We attended NSSP Panathlon events and found they provided a perfect outlet of non-competitive active challenges for our young people who attended Bowling and Multi-Sport format events.
Following two terms of intervention, class teachers began to comment that they’re seeing behavioural improvements which prompted measurement via the strengths and difficulties questionnaire (SDQ) comparison.
The SDQ questionnaire is a short behavioural screening questionnaire for children aged 3 to 16. The questionnaire is used to assess children’s mental health, and can be completed by children and young people themselves, by their parents or by their teachers.
Every single pupil involved in the ‘RISE Up’ intervention showed a marked improvement.
Our SENCo highlighted that our ‘RISE Up’ programme had shown the most measurable impact of all interventions offered across the school with a string of noticeable positive impacts on previously concerning pupils.
These were some of the comments from our young people:
“This is the best lesson ever” Year 5 pupil
“My Ikigai involves people and food” Year 6 pupil
In June 2023, I revisited the School Wellbeing Scorecard. Our comparative mark rose by 44% to 92% demonstrating how far we have come in improving the provision for the wellbeing of our young people.
In the 2023/24 school year, we’ve planned to widen the impact of the ‘RISE Up’ content by attaching it to our 2 hours of PE across the school and continuing the Intervention group on a Monday morning to measure and contrast against attendance data.
Overall, the promotion of active learning and embracing Mike Kuczala’s quote of “Learning happens from the feet up” has transformed our staff and pupils' outlook on learning, school and their own lives.’
How we can help you
If you would like to join our movement of inspirational teachers, then the RISE Up online teacher training course guides you and your colleagues on how to reduce students' anxiety, build their confidence, and create a sustainable early intervention mental wellbeing programme within 90 days.
Easy to follow videos and a comprehensive set of editable resources will save you and your colleagues hours of time planning and creating resources.
To take the first step, take our School Wellbeing scorecard here:
We hope you found this week's blog insightful, we would love you to join our community of teachers committed to transforming the life chances of their children.
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