Partnership between UK Youth and the Paul Hamlyn Foundation
The Heads Up! toolkit was originally produced through a partnership between UK Youth and the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and draws on the experience of a five-year mental health programme run by the Mental Health Foundation.
Using our knowledge and expertise, Eikon developed this toolkit into a new programme for 2021/22 of eight one-hour sessions for children and young people to promote confidence, self esteem, and emotional wellbeing.
Initially targeted at children in Years 7 and 8, each Heads Up! session has a different topic which is explored through games and interactive activities; for example, one week they may learn about the signs and symptoms of anxiety or develop new skills like debating. The programme has also been adapted for use with Years 5 and 6 and children and young people from the LGBTQ+
Teacher at North West Surrey Short Stay School – supported by our Heads Up! programme
North West Surrey Short Stay School is a Pupil Referral Unit for learners aged 11–16 who have experienced difficulty maintaining a place in mainstream education. During the year, they worked with Eikon to take 10 students through the Heads Up! project. Two of these students went on to receive one-to-one support from practitioners and the school have asked us to develop a specific Heads Up! programme for their students.
“Due to various lockdowns and other restrictions over the past two years, the project was exactly what the students needed at this time. We have seen a huge rise in students with anxiety and mental health problems and a lack of confidence due to the pandemic. These sessions allowed the students to engage as a group, talking about their issues and listening to each other and understanding that it’s not only them who may feel the way they do.
We have seen an improvement in the mental and social health of all who have attended these sessions, and as such has contributed to four students being successfully reintegrated back into mainstream education.”
Teacher at Sunbury Manor School – supported by our Heads Up! programme
I have seen kids who are so shut down (due to anger) open up and ask for one-to-one sessions. I have seen students who never speak (due to their shyness) not only speak and engage but laugh and be carefree. I have seen new friendships grow and form. I have seen friends of these Heads Up! kids ask to be a part of the programme (some will be on the next course). It’s a beautiful thing when a child gives you their trust – and majority of the kids have!
I even saw a child who is normally so angry with life and shut down to anything or anyone open up and say something along the lines of,
“Believe the positive things that people tell you, they see things in you that you don’t see in yourself. Trust them.”
This is huge coming from this student.
We also have a student who has found her true identity. She wants to be identified another way, has had conversations with her mum, has had conversations with me and our pastoral team, and has chosen a new name and is happy.
I believe that Heads Up! has given all our students the internal strength and confidence to make these changes in their lives. I could tell you something positive about every child who was part of this programme.
I would absolutely recommend Heads Up! to other schools. I want them to stay with us here forever! The impact that it has had on our students is tremendous.