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Connecting resilience, mental health and learning behaviours in schools

Written by Simon Claridge, former Director of Programmes, Mentor.

The funding for Mentor to lead a national randomised controlled trial of an evidence-based primary school intervention is a notable endorsement of the gathering and important interest in prevention and early intervention.

With the publication of the Department for Education document Mental Health and Behaviour in Schools, it’s clear that behaviour is increasingly viewed in correlation with improved long-term outcomes for children and young people.

It is in this context that Mentor is keen to see what difference The Good Behaviour Game (GBG) can make to the lives of current primary school children, in terms of both their immediate attainment and achievement and longer term improvements as they transition into leading fulfilling adult lives.

“Our driving interest and ethos with this trial is finding out what works and how we can scale it to a national level,” says Simon Claridge, Director of Programmes at Mentor. “With GBG we are interested not so much in behaviour management, but how the activities of the Game can enable young children to develop positive learning behaviours within a pro-social classroom environment. We want to work with schools that share this interest and who want to work with us to invest in the futures of their pupils.”

Developing resilience and self-esteem, feeling confident in oneself as well as being able to call on others and knowing how to secure the resources to cope: these life skills are crucial to helping children build their resilience to risk as they grow up, and are important precursors to lasting mental health and well-being as adults.

Understanding the risk factors likely to impact on the well-being of children is central to the important part that school plays as a ‘protective’ counterbalance. Parental separation, lowered socio-economic status, poor parental health, including mental health, and poverty are interlinked and contribute to a state of amplified exposure to both immediate and longer term risk. Thus a healthy attachment to school results in increased protection against future problematic behaviours resulting from that exposure.

The Good Behaviour Game has an important function here: it facilitates the development of requisite life skills for children and young people to be resilient and to enable them to identify the resources they need to cope in an increasingly challenging world.

We want to see all children thrive and secure the brightest possible future. To do this we will work with schools to find out what works and how we can make it work for all.

Click below to read the DfE document:

DfE - Mental Health & Behaviour in Schools

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