Team Heroes at Holy Trinity and St Silas Primary
“This whole school buddy system has transformed relationships across the school. It has enabled every child to feel a valued and cared for member of the school community and it ensures that every child has a voice beyond their class room.” Lorraine Dolan (Headteacher)
What were your reasons for doing this development work?
Our headteacher first came across humanutopia at the “Whole Education” conference in 2015. She met humanutopia’s ambassadors and was inspired by the impact of the programme on their confidence and happiness. She decided that this was a whole school approach that could help the children at Holy Trinity and S. Silas bring about positive change in their own lives and would benefit the wellbeing of the school community as a whole.
Who were the identified target learners?
The Heroes Journey approach is not just for primary schools. It has been used effectively in secondary schools and in workplaces with adults. At Holy Trinity and S. Silas our Year 5 and 6 children are trained as Team Heroes, and buddy younger children. This benefits the whole school.
What specific curriculum area did you intend to have impact on?
PSHE/ Mental Health / Emotional Health and Wellbeing/Behaviour
How were you intending to improve pupil learning?
- The Heroes Journey encourages children to challenge themselves, to do the right thing and to be a role model in their community.
- This leads to increased engagement in learning by raising children’s aspirations and improving motivation
What did you do - what teaching approaches did you use?
Team Heroes attend initial training from humanutopia where they learn essential life skills such as communication, team work, leadership and resilience. The workshops are designed to help children realise their full potential and break negative cycles. They provide the children with skills to resist peer pressure and deal problems. After the training each Hero then works closely with a group of younger children as a positive role model.
The Team Heroes are supported by the PSHE co-ordinator who co-ordinates the following activities:
Weekly meetings at lunchtimes, usually either:
- A workshop focussed on a wellbeing theme e.g. being yourself
- A workshop focussed on a school project e.g. designing a new playground
- Preparing for a mentoring session with younger children
Delivery of these weekly meetings is generally in groups of 30. The children mostly work together in smaller groups, with the PSHE co-ordinator rotating to support.
In addition to these weekly meetings, there are monthly mentoring sessions where Heroes meet with their younger ‘buddies’ and deliver key messages around wellbeing, as well as playing games to improve confidence and self-esteem. When Heroes meet with their buddies, they work in groups of 7-8.
humanutopia also visit the school termly to work with the children in different sized groups.
What specific teaching resources did you use?
Humanutopia provide a series of resources that can be used in assemblies, workshops and PSHE sessions to build on the key messages, but we have also developed our own resources
Outcomes and Impact
What has been the impact on pupil learning?
- Children have a real sense of purpose about being at school – because of their responsibility for their younger buddies and for the meaningful input they have into decision making.
- Behaviour has improved around the school as children have the tools to be able to reflect on their own and each other’s behaviour.
- Children understand how negative behaviours can impact on their learning and that they can do something to influence this. Hence they have high aspirations for their future and a belief that they can achieve them.
- Children relate better to each other and relationships have improved
- Sense of community has been strengthened as different year groups mix with one another regularly
- Less confident children have grown in confidence
Evidence of impact on pupil learning
Teacher observations, feedback in pupil questionnaires, feedback in pupil interviews, parent feedback
What is the crucial thing that made the difference?
Giving the children increased responsibility and care for the younger children. They plan and run a group every month for their buddies and this changes every time. This has encouraged them to think for themselves, be creative and has helped them develop greater self-confidence
What would your next steps be?
- We would like to develop more small group and 1:1 work for the Heroes who would benefit from this, most likely in additional lunchtime slots.
- We are also investigating the Heroes developing relationships with their ‘buddies’ further through 1:1 mentoring for children identified by teachers.
If another individual or school was attempting to replicate this work, where should they start?
Contact Rebecca Hall, PSHE coordinator at Holy Trinity S. Silas
Visit the humanutopia website for further inspiration