Avon Valley School

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Project title




Project summary




This project is designed to improve the Year 11 students’ employability opportunities. The project will do this through: building self-esteem, increasing student awareness of self-concept and addressing mental health issues.


Over the years, there has been a significant rise in mental health issues and self esteem concerns both within boys and girls and this affects their attainment and ultimately their employability.  It is known in Warwickshire that secondary staff in schools believe that the biggest concerns relate to anxiety, depression, stress and self harm.


Statistics from ‘YoungMinds’ state:

  • One in Four (26%) young people in the UK experience suicidal thoughts
  • ChildLine (UK) has revealed that it held 34,517 counselling sessions in 2013/14 with children who talked about suicide – a 116 percent increase since 2010/11.
  • Among teenagers, rates of depression and anxiety have increased by 70% in the past 25 years, particularly since the mid 1980’s.

These statistics increase if a child is Looked After

Traditional support around counselling etc is not always meeting the needs of these students – innovative approaches are therefore required which we hope we can produce through the partnerships.


In 2016, students have less choice in terms of qualifications as vocational subjects have been reduced to meet current Government targets.  The Government has made a drive towards a traditional curriculum and EBACC subjects compulsory for 90% of students.  This leads to higher levels of stress as students who would historically have taken vocational routes are now taking subjects that they are not adept at. This significantly affects our school due to our demographic profile: Students are significantly below average on their Average point score on entry and many arrive 2 years or more below their chronological reading age.


To this end we want to work with Kokoro to develop sessions around building self esteem, managing stress and raising self awareness.  As part of the programme we also want to work with a trained actress, to look at improvisation work and from this build confidence and address some of the mental health issues that students have.


Alongside this we also want to provide opportunities for students to experience vocational activities that will give them a greater insight and inspiration into the world of work.


The methodology we used in a previous bid had high impact and provided good value for money with only 1 student NEET last year and all students achieving in line with expectations.  We want to build on this success to deal with the other significant issues that students face which currently are around their mental health.



Start date

1 September 2016

End date

30 June 2017

Type and number of beneficiaries e.g. volume and characteristics of young people to be supported,  number and type of businesses involved


All of our Year 11 cohort – currently 220 students and identified Year 10 students (around 50 students).


Many of our students do not start on a level playing field due to the selective system within the town our school is located in, as well as their own economic situation where high levels of deprivation are prevelant.  Included in this is their ability levels when they arrive at our school and the feeling of failure that is evident in those that have applied for, but failed, the 11+.

The schools profile is that:


30% of students are PP

315 are classed as deprivation Pupil Premium

13 CLA (Some of which are in the deprivation bracket)

1 Adopted From Care

4 Service Children

222 out of 1100 are SEN – of which approx. 50 have EHC plans


We have an increasing number of students who have mental health issues, self-harm, have eating disorders and/or a diagnosis of depression.  We work closely with CAMHS on a regular basis due to the extremes that some students face.    There are a number of reasons behind this but one contributory factor is the increasing stress that students are put under to achieve.  We want to address this area as it is a growing challenge.


Another reason for mental health issues becoming more prevalent is the increasing levels of substance misuse within the community.


Our aim is to deliver a holistic approach to improving mental health in our school.


We currently have a high number of students in the school under CAMHS (30), Ill health Team (4) or hospitalised in Birmingham (2) – all due to mental health issues.  This is a growing problem within our school and although we know it is a national concern we have concerns over the high level of students who are self harming or who develop eating disorders, some significantly - to the point of being taken into hospital for long periods of time.  The self harm issues, which occur within all year groups, noticeably increase in KS4 as students start to feel the pressure of GCSE’s and making post 16 choices. The anticipated impact in Year 11 is a reduction on the high level of mental health issues that are currently evident within Year 11 each year.


Key milestones








October 2016 – Careers Venture 2

November 2016 – Mock Interviews

On-going ‘No Labels No Limits’ programme with Year 11 students including:

-       workshop

-       bitesize sessions on practical tools

-       exam preparation session


Vulnerable children programme for key students in Year 10

Mindfulness Programme for students and staff by March 2017

Mentoring programme – summer 2017

Dare to dream inspirational vocational experiences programme of events



Other outcomes - please quantify where possible


The outcomes will be:


The ‘No Labels, No Limits’ programme is designed to deliver a sustainable change in mind-set and ultimately improve the life choices being made, by changing the perceptions students have of themselves.


The aim is also:

·         To give the students skills, knowledge, confidence and motivation to make the changes they need to make to ensure their employability for the future.


·         To reduce the number of students who exhibit self-harming issues.  To increase awareness of mental health issues thus enabling students to seek help without judgement.


·         To provide students with real life experiences of the world of work


·         To enable students to remove themselves from unhealthy relationships, improve school attendance and maintain level of NEETs for 2017.  Improved employability skills and self-image, as well as social skills and confidence are also some of our outcomes.


The programme will resource each student with practical tools and techniques that they can use throughout their life. Specifically they will help in the exam period.

All outcomes will be measured using ROI methodology – both quantative and qualitative measures will be used. Surveys will be done with all students to measure impact. A pre and post questionnaire on mental health will also be used.

Sustainability of project


The format adopted for this project can be used in any school/educational establishment for young people.  The formula can be transferred into the school and business/training environment and has positive scalability.


This programme is about raising and changing the perception and stigma of mental health with employers.   Addressing mental health issues and making this more widely addressed will reduce the stigma of this, and help raise awareness of this illness on a student’s personal development and attainment.  This can be life-changing for an individual and be the means of enabling them to face the challenges of the world of work in a more positive and confident manner.


The programme aims to reduce the amount of time taken by staff members dealing with these issues.  Currently this is a daily occurrence.  Ultimately, this will reduce the drain on resources that are used by NHS and school to meet the needs of these children.  We recognise that there is not enough support in this area and therefore a change of method needs to be introduced.


The staff will be equipped to learn the techniques and will therefore be able to deliver the majority of the project in-house over the coming years, therefore reducing the cost implications.


The students having experienced this programme can then be used as mentors to other students, therefore cascading the learning and not only having an impact in school but in their community and family life.


The work we are doing around building capacity in school is to train our staff to take on some of the roles mentioned in our bid.  Some staff have attended workshops around mental health and work has been carried out with CAMHS to identify ways in which we can support more.  The Headteacher and I are also working with CAMHS on their procurement process to identify areas where CAMHS can more effectively support the mental health of young people in schools. As can be seen in the bid there are several areas where Kokoro staff will provide training to Avon Valley staff, thereby enabling the school to be self sufficient in delivering the programme in future years.










NO LABLES NO LIMITS Programme overview



1 EMPLOYABLE ME WORKSHOP 2 Year 11 31st October
2 MOCK INTERVIEWS Year 11 22/23 November
5 NO LABELS NO LIMITS WORKSHOP Year 10 – c 50 13th February




Year 10


Summer term
11 DARE TO DREAM Vocational experiences Year 11 Ongoing



The aim is to create a pool of resource within the school to enable the programme to be continued after the initial project has been completed. The programme will work with a specific group of staff to “train ‘ them in the programme content and techniques. It will also offer a mentoring ILM qualification ( voluntary option) to support the students who will be the No Labels No limit mentors .

The programme will consist of a series of sessions as show n below and will be supported by 121 sessions if required.

Induction Get to know who is on the programme

Understand the bid and its objectives

Understand Kokoro and the NLNL programme

Find out the challenges being faced by the students and the TA’s

Identify any ideas/opportunities /best practice

Identify what skills and knowledge already exists in the group

Identify what development is required

NL NL STUDENT SESSIONS To allow an opportunity to experience the sessions

* we need to think about how this is managed



Input day on NLNL content and techniques and mindfulness programmes


Mentoring Qualification Input day on mentoring competencies


Mindfulness Programme Introduction to mindfulness programme – to be completed throughout the programme and assessed at the end of the programme