The mental health foundation recently estimated that 2 in 3 people will experience a mental health problem in their lifetime and 50% of mental health problems first appear before the age of 14. The number of children struggling emotionally is increasing with 90% of headteachers reporting a decline in children’s wellbeing over the last 5 years. Children growing up in the low socioeconomic areas are particularly vulnerable as they are 3 times more likely to suffer from a mental health problem. Poor mental health affects young people’s academic results, but in recent research headteachers admitted that the importance of hitting attainment targets was so great, that there is limited capacity for wellbeing interventions.
The Story Project has developed a programme that integrate the development of literacy skills and wellbeing, so that primary and secondary schools can support children and young people's academic and emotional growth at the same time.
How do we do this?
The Story Project does this through three stages.
1: A curriculum for wellbeing: The Story Project provides teachers and children with a clear outline of the skills that are needed to have a good level of wellbeing. These skills cover all the government statutory requirements and have been written with input from teachers and children.
2: Stories: Each skill is matched to a fiction book or extract from a book, so the teacher has a direct example of a character who is experiencing the wellbeing issue. In primary school these are carefully chosen, popular picture books and at secondary school these are texts that are part of the GCSE or KS3 syllabus.
3: Catalogue of resources: Finally teachers are provided with resources to accompany each skill and text. The resources follow the unique STORY structure, that ensures each lesson includes a mindful Settling activity, emotional vocabulary Training, a clear Objective, a carefully chosen story/ passage to Read and then an activity and opportunity to reflect on 'how does this story relates to You?'
The whole project has been devised from researching the best international practice in this field. This research was funded by the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust and a report on the findings can be found here.
Each teacher that takes part in The Story Project attends training to ensure they understand these three stages and the benefits of teaching wellbeing skills alongside literacy skills.