A successful bid of £10,000, from the National Lottery Covid-19 fund, will support valuable coaching skills to students and their families adversely impacted by Covid-19.  The award to Richmond School and Sixth Form College, for their Coaching for Change initiative, will fund the development of a positive behaviour coaching programme, in partnership with a qualified life coach, Karen Cruise of Flourishing Minds.

Recent research shows that the gap in learning differentials has widened in those children who were already disadvantaged. The funding will be targeted at students from Years 8 and 9, who have had a particularly difficult time with remote learning, or have been living in challenging situations during the Covid-19 pandemic. However, through additional staff training, the lessons learned from the project will help the whole school community and embed coaching techniques as part of school life so all students will benefit.

Under the leadership of Tom Braham, Acting Assistant Headteacher, the coaching will deliver tools and techniques for children and their parents and carers, to help them be their absolute best socially, emotionally and educationally. The isolation from friends, the lack of routine, the disruption to family life have all impacted negatively on children’s wellbeing. As well as improving their educational attainment the aim is to build students’ resilience, remove the barriers blocking their brilliance and generally help them accept to be happy with who they are.

Kath Lawson Director of Inclusive Support for YES@Areté Learning Trust, who submitted the bid for Richmond School, said ‘We are delighted to receive the funds from the National Lottery Covid-19 fund which will allow us to work with students and families who have been impacted by the global pandemic.

“Coaching is a powerful technique which ties in with the Areté Learning Trust ethos of ‘Being the Best We Can Be’. We aim to ensure that through staff training and awareness the money and project provides a legacy of support for current and future students across the school, and ultimately the Areté Learning Trust. This is our second successful bid for lottery funding and the ‘Activities for All’ project, which we used the first grant for, is now embedded as an inclusive provision for both primary and secondary students in the Richmondshire locality.”

The school is taking a collaborative approach to the project and is working with Flourishing Minds, an award-winning Social Enterprise who has worked with a number of schools and has a track record of helping young people to improve their social and emotional wellbeing and learning, before and during the COVID pandemic

The sessions will be delivered remotely with the flexibility of integrating face-to-face delivery once this can be conducted within socially distanced rules. Flourished Minds will provide individual coaching sessions to children using fun yet transformational tasks, quizzes and coaching models as well as having conversations with parents and teachers to review and manage the progress of children. They will also provide online training packages to support parents that they can access at their convenience.

Jenna Potter, Headteacher, said: “This is an excellent initiative that will support the school’s mission of ‘being the best we can be’.  Our aim is always to provide an environment in which all students can thrive and excel and this project will be an important part of this work.”

To find out more about the work of Yes@Areté Learning Trust visit https://www.yesataretelearningtrust.net/