We were delighted to welcome Gloucestershire Constabulary to school to work with our year 12 students to introduce them to the Boost programme. This pioneering work by the police is aimed at supporting students in developing their emotional intelligence and resilience, and their respect for themselves and for each other. The programme is described as ‘immersive, interactive and inclusive self-leadership’ and our sixth form students were taken through the programme to understand both how they can lead themselves but also preparing them to deliver the programme to our year 8 students later in the year. Through a day of fun activities, as well as some thoughtful moments of reflection, the students came to understand more about themselves, but also to have an awareness of supporting and safeguarding younger children.
Bethan Payne in year 12 reported: We talked about what happens when we get overwhelmed by emotions and ‘flip our lid’, which is when we stop thinking about our actions and react using our ‘primal brain’. I found this really interesting as it explains why sometimes we react in a way that is unlike us, and how this is because we often cannot control our actions once this point has been hit. We then did a fun activity where we shook a coke bottle, imagining minor inconveniences throughout a day which could build up into a ‘big emotion’. When the lid is taken off and the coke explodes out, this represents the loss of control but also how this can affect other people (as the coke explodes on them). To avoid this, we talked about grounding techniques such as box breathing, balancing an object, and noticing things around us. These take our minds off our emotions and help us relax.
We then briefly talked about building habits and thinking positively about ourselves, and we did a lovely activity where we had to write positive things about each other on a piece of paper stuck to our backs. The plan is to teach what we learnt to a group of year 8 students to help them take responsibility for their emotions and know how to deal with them. We also learnt some techniques to manage the group and encourage them to take part.
We are really excited about the second phase of this programme in the summer and look forward not only to the year 8 students developing their self-awareness and self-understanding, but also to building relationships between our sixth form and the younger students.