Kindness is best lesson for Blackpool students

Pupils at Highfurlong School who are taking part in the HeadStart scheme
Pupils at Highfurlong School who are taking part in the HeadStart scheme
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Kindness is helping a Blackpool school improve mental wellbeing.

Highfurlong School hands out rewards, ensures people are complimented for their actions and has introduced a weekly joke slot in order to build resilience among pupils.

The changes are part of work with HeadStart, a Lottery-funded programme to improve mental health among young people in Blackpool.

And the work has already attracted the attention of Prince Harry, whose office sent the special school a letter thanking them for sending some resilience gifts produced by the enterprise business team.

Pupils have formed their own committee to come up with ways of making the school a happy place to be.

Teacher Joan Lambert said: “I think resilience is really important. These students have a lot to face in their daily life, and I think if we can nurture the resilience they already have, then it will build confidence and help them with their future. Anything we can do to help is a huge positive.”

Initiatives include the pupil reward scheme whereby the pupil of the month receives a rosette to wear if they have been particularly helpful towards others.

Compliment cards written by pupils for teachers and other support staff have also been introduced as well as a joke of the week board which is positioned at the entrance of the school for all pupils, staff and visitors to see.

HeadStart’s youth engagement leader Nathan Parker said: “The impact this has had on the students involved, the genuine ownership of the group, the presentation and how hard the school are working to facilitate these opportunities for their young people is incredible.”

HeadStart is a £10m Lottery funded five-year programme tackling mental health issues.