Resilience Zap

Resilience Zap

A resilience zap is an idea to try if you want to get the following going across the school community:

• A basic level of understanding about building resilience and what it involves
• Some shared language around disadvantaged pupils and support for them
• Building of commitment to really go the extra mile with pupils who need it
• Inspiring ideas based on evidence of what works

You will need:

• A big room
• Screen & projector, speakers & access to Power Point
• Refreshments to bribe people in
• A decent amount of time (half a day if possible, but doing a couple of hours is better than nothing)

We suggest you aim for an InSET session with as many of the adult school community there as possible (cooks, cleaners, support staff, teachers, technicians, etc).Of course we know  that this is a challenge and InSET agendas are pretty full. But from all the work we have done in schools we know the results are great and schools are really glad they have done it.

Can’t face doing this yourself?

If you get someone in to help, make sure they really understand resilience. They need to know how to get a resilience culture going across the whole school system.

When we have tried this with schools, there has been some resistance to the ‘all in a room and a decent amount of time please’ refrain, but it has definitely been worth persisting with. As one librarian said after a workshop

“We do a lot of things that we don’t realise are probably helping a child cope with life – it was good to have some time to really think about that more; and be acknowledged for our broader role.”

Suggested programme for the session

Details of timings will be up to you, and you might want to change the order, but basically you are looking for a process which goes along the lines of:

1. Introduce Academic Resilience and the context for promoting it within the school

• Why is this important to the school? (reminder of progress for disadvantaged pupils, Closing the Gap concerns, and recognition that some children face greater barriers to learning which the school can help with)
• Why bother with this? (it would be a good idea to prepare for this by reading What is Academic Resilience and familiarising yourself with the concept of resilience and the evidence based approaches which work in promoting it)
• If this is backed by the senior leaders in the school then tell people why

2. Presentation on resilience

Difficult to do if it’s not your area, so here’s one we prepared earlier. If you want to add to it or change it, feel free!

• Give people the opportunity to discuss and think about what this means for them in their role.

3. Show a film

There’s nothing like hearing it from the horses’ mouths so to speak. There are some short films on this website which promote resilience approaches in schools. These include a special school, a primary and secondaries.

Take a look at the film about young people who have been affected by mental health issues talking about how school was for them and what might have helped them more. It’s inspiration fodder to get people thinking about what you could do in your school for disadvantaged pupils.

4. Self assess strengths and areas for improvement across the whole school

• Use the opportunity to pool information on what the school does (or self assess) in relation to the evidence base for what builds resilience – and generate ideas.
• Use our audit tool for whole staff groups. This is designed to ask about some of the key ways in which resilience is promoted. Do this in mixed groups and get facilitators on each table to ensure everyone has a say. What are you already doing well, what could be improved and what needs improving?
• Would you like to take the audit further and gather much more insight about how well you are doing as a school?
• Then look at our suggestions for a whole load of ways to do this including focus groups and surveys. Again, you may want to get us in to help you with this if you need some support to do it.

5. Using the Resilience Framework; Trying the approach in relation to individuals?

• If you have time ask the staff to think about a disadvantaged or vulnerable child they know who they have spent time working with but with whom they feel a bit stuck. It might be a child they find particularly challenging.

Pyramid Of Need

• In pairs, use the Resilience Framework and discuss what they have tried with that child and see if the framework sparks any new ideas for what they might try.
• The Resilience Framework is a table which draws together all the interventions and strategies which have been shown to have some evidence behind them in terms of building elements of resilience in children. It provides a handy tool for thinking about individuals and can be used as an assessment tool as well as a planning tool. We’d recommend you read more about it and encourage staff to do the same!

To recap

Here’s a draft 2-4 hour programme for the session which you can shape to make your own:

Download the Resilience Zap session programme

The Academic Resilience Approach

Our resources help any school establish systems to build ‘resilience approaches’ that support disadvantaged pupils over time through a whole school approach, will benefit all pupils from a school-wide approach to increasing academic resilience and offer ideas to help everyone in the school community play a part.

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About the Academic Resilience Approach

There are many school resilience programmes which aim to narrow the gap between pupils who do well academically and those who don’t. A lot of them are very useful, so why have we put this information together? Resilience programmes can be expensive – we wanted to offer something everyone could access for free.

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Audit the whole school

A systematic approach to understanding your school and identifying where and what you might do to better promote resilience can help the whole school community to look through a ‘resilience lens’ in order to close the gap for disadvantaged pupils or those facing additional challenges.

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What is Academic Resilience?

What is Academic Resilience key points: Good educational outcomes despite adversity; We can spot the impact of academic resilience through individuals doing better than we might have expected; Promoting academic resilience will lead to better behaviour and results for disadvantaged pupils.

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How to use the Resilience Framework

The Resilience Framework summarises a set of ideas and practices that promote resilience. It is based on a body of research and practice development called Resilient Therapy developed by Angie Hart and Derek Blincow, with help from Helen Thomas and a group of parents and practitioners.

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Which pupils are we talking about?

All pupils cope with some adversity, and pupils who experience multiple disadvantages face greater challenges in schools. But all pupils will benefit from an academic resilience approach. There are many disadvantages and stressors that can have a negative impact upon pupils; these are called risk factors.

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What can schools do?

Focusing on just a few quick and easy activities can have an impact. A whole schools approach makes a bigger difference. Get a few things going, make sure you are doing them well and share them with the whole community. Evidence and practice based experience tells us there are a few key actions that you could take in school that would have impact.

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How can services support me?

We understand the idea of commissioning or buying in help from external services can be daunting and know that there are differences between commissioning and procurement. You can use this page to think about why schools need to buy in services, and how to ensure services are good enough.

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What about parents?

Every school knows that the more engaged a parent is in their child’s learning, the more learning is supported in the home. Some parents are dead easy to involve, eager to get your attention and are queuing up to talk to staff at every opportunity. But often the very families you would like to be involved more, can be the hardest to hook into school life.

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Academic Resilience resources directory

Here you can download the Academic Resilience Approach resources to help any school establish systems to build ‘resilience approaches’ that support disadvantaged pupils over time through a whole school approach. All the Academic Resilience Approach resources are free to download.

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