Worksop: Priory School pupils Take Five to showcase new national scheme

Dr Jas Bilkhu, High Sherriff of Notts, with pupils from Worksop Priory School who have been taking part in the Take Five scheme
Dr Jas Bilkhu, High Sherriff of Notts, with pupils from Worksop Priory School who have been taking part in the Take Five scheme

Children from Worksop Priory Primary School who have been taking part in the Take Five programme – a new national pilot which helps them feel calmer, more focused and more in control – got a chance to showcase their skills during a high-profile visit from VIPs.

Take Five has become a daily part of the school day since Worksop Priory decided to become part of the Take Five’ national pilot, with support from the Home Office Innovation Fund, which is funding a range pilots aimed at preventing demand in Notts.

Children were able to show how they had benefitted from taking part in the programme at an event attended by a range of distinguished guests, including: Dr Jas Bilkhu, High Sherriff of Notts, Councillor Glynn Gilfolye, chairman of Notts County Council’s Community Safety Committee and funding bodies and officers from Bassetlaw Council and the county council.

Take Five is a skill set, delivered by community interest company, Each Amazing Breath.

It uses breathing, grounding and awareness techniques that can be used in very short periods of time, from between 30 seconds and five minutes.

The techniques help students in a variety of ways including helping the young people feel more confident, more resilient, better able to concentrate and better able to get on with each other.

“The school is proactive and incredibly focused on meaningfully supporting each child to be as resilient as possible, so they can personally access their learning and meet their potential,” said Phil Abbott, headteacher at Worksop Priory.

“In today’s educational climate, it would be easy to place all our efforts on academic achievement rather than embrace the whole child.

“We believe the key to achieving academic success lies in our ability to make brave decisions and explore innovative ideas that research is beginning to point to as a possible means to improve outcomes for children.

“We are delighted by the way Take Five is helping us to achieve this.”

Take Five has been part of the daily routine for the Year Six class at the school since February.

The practices are used at least twice a day for a couple of minutes, often first thing in the morning, when the children arrive in school, and again after the lunch break.

The children said it helped clear their brain from problems.

The class felt quieter afterwards ad it got them ready for the next lesson.

Class teacher, Lesley Howard, who is also the pastoral care lead for the school, worked closely with Each Amazing Breath to bring the practices alive in the school.

“Children ask for the practices in a variety of settings, including before their Stats exams and before, or after, sport,” she said.

“They self-apply them when they are feeling tense or upset in the playground and that they are also sharing them with their families.”

Year Six got on so well with the Take Five practices that they asked if they could be taught how to teach the practices in other classes in the school.

As a result, 16 students were trained as Take Five Ambassadors, and all received Certificates of Achievement from Dr Bilkhu

“It was a real privilege for me and my health and well-being ambassador Sue Cooper to visit the school and witness at first hand the way the children and staff have embraced the Take Five project,” said Dr Bilkhu.

“They were keen to display the skills they had acquired and how it had helped them and their peers to keep calm and help their studies.

“The project very much chimes with my own theme of Health and Wellbeing for my High Sheriff year.

“I very much hope that the Priory school will act as a shining example and inspire other schools in the Notts area to adopt this important life skill.”

“Sometimes we all need to stop and take a deep breath before we say or do something out of character,” added Coun Gilfoyle.

“This technique has given these young people the skill and ability to identify that moment and deal with it.

“It’s also given them the confidence to be able to deliver the training themselves throughout their school and has been a key asset to changing behaviours for the better not just of the young people involved but also the adults.”

For more information about Take Five and how this national pilot has been rooted and developed in Worksop visit www.eachamazingbreath.org