In this section of the website you can see what we have been getting up to in the day to day life at Positive about Young People...
Thursday 23rd November 2017
As we are beginning to reach the end of November, the nights are drawing in and Christmas is fast approaching. The young people are already beginning to discuss their plans for Christmas and what high tech gadgets they would like.
As a centre we like to create a happy environment over the Christmas period and encourage the young people to participate in activities in the lead up to the holidays.
The young people during art/crafts this term, are in the process of creating Christmas baskets. These baskets are being made for the young people to take home to give to a member of their family, carers or friends.
This ongoing activity has been fantastic in engaging young people and we have been blown away by the amazing ideas they have put into this project. The young people have felt a real sense of ownership over their creations knowing that they are making them for someone special in their lives.
Christmas sadly is not always a happy time for everybody. Many people may have suffered loss and trauma throughout the year. Christmas can be a reminder of the year we have had, be that good or bad.
This is why it is important for us at Positive About Young People to ensure we create a positive, homely and warm atmosphere for all students.
We strongly believe that by doing this we are helping their mental and emotional state and engaging them in educational sessions throughout this time of year.
Tuesday 7th November 2017
Words Behind the Wheel
On Monday evening myself and a friend took a drive to the supermarket. An innocent enough act.
But as my friend pulled up at the traffic lights, which had just turned red, she put on her handbrake and reached slowly down to her phone, picked it up and started to scroll through Facebook.
We’ve all been there haven’t we. Stuck in traffic and bored, handbrakes on, feet are off the pedals. Surely it isn’t dangerous to check your phone or text your friend to tell them you’re on your way.
Well yes actually. After doing a bit of research, I found this statistic. “Each year, over 330’000 accidents caused by texting while driving have led to severe accidents.” This is a shocking number for something so simple! Just don’t pick up your phone!
I mentioned this to my friend, and she didn’t take me seriously.
Now I could have acted in a number of ways.
a) Let it go – surely it won’t happen to us! We are being safe.
b) Get out of the unsafe car; that will keep me safest.
c) Educate my friend and tell her what I know.
I decided to go with C. I showed her two videos that had a huge impact on me.
Why don’t you have a look and see how you feel about texting behind the wheel.
These videos had a huge impact on my attitude to “words behind the wheel”, and once I had shown them to my friend she was able to see how something so simple as not looking at her phone can make such a difference.
So why don’t you show one of these video’s to someone who uses their phone behind the wheel. You could save them getting a fine, losing their licence, and harming others or themselves.
Tuesday 17th October
As the nights get longer, and the days get shorter. We celebrate the wonderful festival of light!
On Sunday the 15th October, Positive about Young People staff, along with the excellent support from Coventry Leo’s, headed over to Longford Park in Coventry to volunteer at a family fun day to celebrate Diwali.
Coventry Leo’s president Karan Minhas announced Positive about Young People as the chosen charity of in September this year.
“For those of you that do not know, our chosen charity for this year is one very close to home for some of us: Positive about Young People. An excellent organization providing educational and developmental services for young people experiencing difficulties in mainstream school as well as enabling them to stay in education. Education is a huge key to success and this is a charity we all feel very passionate about.”
Check out the photo’s in the gallery! Karan even met the major of Coventry!
Staff and the Leo’s Club members ran three stalls. Face painting, tombola and beat the goalie. Along with this were; food stalls, homemade gifts and live music, all of which were excellent fun. We raised a total of £715!!
Over the next year the Leo’s will be doing more events to raise money for Positive about Young People, and we cannot be more grateful.
Without the continued support from volunteers, and organisations like the Leo’s Positive about Young People would cease to exist.
If you interested in supporting us at our next event, please do not hesitate to get in contact, firstname.lastname@example.org.
On a finishing note, we are fast approaching the Half Term Holiday. Positive about Young People will be taking a well-earned break from Monday 23rd-27th October. We’ll be back to school as normal Monday 30th October.
Tuesday 10th October
Thriving not Surviving
It mental health awareness week. Over the past few years there has been significant change in peoples view of mental health, what it is and how it is dealt with.
If I look back to when I was 14 (the most common age for diagnosis), I think I knew of about 3 different types of mental health problem; depression, anorexia, and self-harm. But now there are lists upon lists of specific and quality diagnosis’ that can give people specific help and treatment.
So, what are we doing? Over the course of this week and over the next awareness week in May, Positive about Young People we will be looking at different aspects of mental health through discussions, science lessons and PHSE.
Did you know that 10% of children and young people (aged 5-16 years) have a clinically diagnosable mental problem, yet 70% of children and adolescents who experience mental health problems have not had appropriate interventions at a sufficiently early age.
It is for this reason that it is so important that our young people have the tools available to them to know when to ask for help and more importantly where to go to find it.
There are some amazing organisations that are around to offer support for young people in times when they may feel they have nowhere to turn.
YoungMinds – this organisation exists to give young people who are suffering with a mental health issue the loudest voice possible. Working in an outside of schools, communities and along side the NHS they are supporting young people through their difficult times by raising awareness, offering programs for families, and offering emergency support. https://youngminds.org.uk/ OR 0808 802 5544.
Samaritans – offering a safe place to talk, any time of day, and time you like. Helping young people and adults find alternative solutions, problems solving or just being there to listen. https://www.samaritans.org/ OR Tel: 116 123
Time to Change – are a growing movement, that are out to change attitudes towards mental health issues, as many sufferers are on the receiving end of a lot of discrimination. Through advertising campaigns, truth busting and educating, people are becoming more aware of how it can feel to live to mental illnesses. https://www.time-to-change.org.uk/
Whilst there are many different external organisations that can offer support to the young people that we work with, commonly young people talk to teaching staff as a first port of call. Or teacher may notice. Our staff know when something is not quite right, and seek to support the young people in the best way possible.
“It’s okay to talk”, I say this to teens who are angry, sad, crying, happy, worried, silent. I am no doctor or physiatrist. But I have ears and compassion, if you are the same. You can help too by simply listening. By listening and having the tools to point people in the right direction; to the GP, or another service, we can all help people who are simply surviving start thriving in their lives.
Tuesday 3rd October 2017
When I was a child, it was a rare thing that our news would be filled with disasters, terrorism and war crime. But for our young people, these have sadly become regular part of their day to day lives.
This week in the news we saw awful reports of a mass shooting in Texas. During the month of September news was filled with Earthquakes in Mexico, Hurricanes in the USA and Caribbean.
Many Young People are not a generation that read the newspaper, or watch the television. With the power of technology their news is through Facebook, Snapchat and other forms of social media, it is often distorted and watered down
The students, have had discussions with staff about these events, and we challenged misconceptions and give the students FACTS. It is by chance that within the Geography project, students are looking at Natural Disasters, and in PHSE looking at discrimination and how split-second judgements of people should not be generalised. We are (sadly) lucky that we chose such relevant topics.
But how do these awful acts of terrorism and disasters affect our young people?
“Are we safe?” a common question that is asked now. Last Summer when the Coventry City Godiva Festival was approaching, many young people who attended here talked openly about their concerns of there being a terrorist act at the music event. Having discussions with the young people about safe behaviours and how they would deal with a situation if it arose (not something I had ever planned on having to teach!), calmed them and helped the realise that if they are constantly not doing this because of fear, they will never experience anything.
Living with Social Media is within easy reach, it is so easy for young people, now, to not switch off from real-time posts that can shock, sadden and scare us.
But young people are resilient, they should not be afraid to live their lives, and with the within the work at Positive about Young People we strive to create an environment where students are focusing on their future rather than the fear of the present.
Tuesday 26th September 2017
When I was a child and bored at home my mother would tell me to cook the dinner. At the time, this was excellent because I was in charge and I would be congratulated my family, for my hard work. Even if the food was, mediocre at best.
My love for cooking as a child disappeared in my teenage years when cooking became a school lesson, Food Technology, now known as Catering. This turned my love for cooking into a hard slog of cooking a basic biscuit or making a salad. It disappeared when I became a student, cooking pasta every night for 3 years destroyed my cooking confidence, and truly I forgot how to do it.
I know I am not the only person that this is true for in our staff body. This is why our staff at Positive about Young People are passionate about teaching our young people the life skill of cooking, and not just brownies, cupcakes and cookies. Real food that you can take with you into your adult life.
Recently The Guardian reported that nearly 60% of 18-25 year olds are leaving home without the ability to cook 5 simple dishes. In an age group that has been labelled “the generation that forgot to cook”.
No surprising with easily accessible take out, cheap frozen food and the expansion of Greggs Bakery.
In response to this we have introduce cookery to our Friday timetable, where young people cook their own lunch. This term our young people have cooked, Pizza, Fajita’s, and Burgers**.
Although not all student like cooking the quality of the food has been excellent. Our goal being that young people will learn to cook and prepare food well and take this skill home to their families, and be able to take this through to adulthood.
Had my schooling allowed me to cook more exciting items than sponge cake, biscuit and salad, I may not have learnt to survive on Pasta for 1000 days as a university student.
I eagerly await the next food creations that our young people embark on. If you’re a have children – be brave and get them to cook you one of the meals we have made at school, you will find yourself pleasantly surprised!
(Are you an expert in a skill that young people may have forgotten but it’s easy to do? Budgeting, Sewing, Decorating or Gardening? You might be able to help us! Contact Catherine Goulding-Huckle – email@example.com, if you think you can help!)
**Take a look in our gallery for photo’s of the food that young people have been preparing over the term so far.
Tuesday 19th September 2017
Internet, is it a problem?
Over the course of the last week, I seem to have been glued to the computers in both Warwick and Bedworth sites. After the first week of Online Lesson (what online lessons?? Take a look at the different projects we run in the “Programmes” section of our website), I have been updating, re-blocking and ensuring we are 100% safe for our students to be online.
It never seizes to amaze me the vastness and essentialness of the internet in our lives now. Gone are the days that we will sit and discuss, for hours, what actor played that character one time. We will simple pull out our smart phones and google it.
The internet is a way of life now, but it is also scary. Online bullying and grooming is fast becoming one of the biggest issues that teenagers face.
1 in 3 children use the internet on a regular basis.
1 in 4 children have experienced something upsetting on a social media site.
1 in 3 children have been a victim of cyberbullying.
In 2016, the Internet Watch Foundation identified over 54’000 URL’s that containing Child Sexual Abuse Images.
I find it harrowing that such a wonderful tool for our lives can be so unsafe for our children and students.
What can you do if you are worried? As a parent or a victim, its important to speak up.
There are numerous support networks around to help and support children who experience online bullying, or grooming.
CEOP – Child Exploitation and Online Protection command. If you are worried about online abuse or the way that someone is communicating online, let them know. www.ceop.police.uk
Childline – Online, on the Phone at anytime. They can offer advice, support and how to protect yourself and others. 0800 1111
Talk about how you use the internet. Use the Privacy settings on social media sites, and report people who are making you feel uncomfortable online.
Whilst the tools are there, and e-Safety remains a priority. The internet is an evolving tool, that we’ll always be playing catch up with. Our ultimate concern is that whilst attending Positive about Young People, students are able to use the internet in a positive way enhancing their education.
(We do all our IT ourselves. We aren’t experts, but we manage. Are you an expert? Could you spare a few hours week to support in keeping our children safe?
If this sounds like something you are able to do, contact
Catherine Goulding-Huckle – firstname.lastname@example.org)
Tuesday 12th September 2017
Has it really been one week since coming back?? But really, it’s been an suberb one.
As we have moved back in to lessons and new project work (want to know what projects we are doing – see last week’s post), staff have been focusing on PRAISE!
It is so easy working in this field to focus on the bad, students do it, staff to it, I do it! So, this week and for the next 3 coming weeks we are focusing on praise. We want to celebrate small and large achievements in out lessons, classrooms and break times!
From what we have seen so far, this has been a brilliant for students to strive to do their best, and take pride in their work.
Boosting students’ self-esteem is a key factor within any school, but for students at Positive about Young People it is vital. The young people who we work with are often low in belief they can integrate into the school environment, have little confidence in the work they are completing, and sometimes have experienced failure in their previous schools.
We want our students to want to be successful in their school journey. By adapting a mentality that “we do not believe in giving up, or not trying. Not bothering is unacceptable” helps our students realise that we believe in them, and they start to try harder.
Over the past week, staff have reinforced the praise of good work to students, left praise notes on whiteboards, given out star stickers, made positive phone calls home, enjoyed cookery and craft workshops and written notecards to parents with good news. As much as we do these things for the students, it’s a fantastic bit of our working day too!
Long may this continue! It’s certainly making my working day more cheerful and enhances student wellbeing.
Tuesday 5th September 2017
After a long summer of holidaying, resting and catching up with friends and family, there may have even been a little bit of sun too!
We were pleasantly surprised with the positive exam results that our previous year 11’s achieved. It was a tough year for most, trying to work with the new syllabus and marking scheme. We know that they will go on to achieve good things!
But! Positive about Young People is ready to roll into the autumn new term.
For myself, I have always been a lover of September. For me September is about fresh starts, new pens and pencils and a mindset that this will be a better year! This is my hope for each student who walk through the doors this academic year.
We have invested time (and the boss won’t forgive me for not saying, money), in our buildings. With fresh coats of paint and new carpets we feel as much as look ready.
New to Positive about Young People this term is a real focus on project work. Looking at specific topics for a greater length of time, and being creative in how we teach them. For this coming half term, we’ll look at Natural Disasters, and Fantasy Writing (how to write about fantasy topics). Cookery and Craft is also a focus this half term. Whilst book learning is typically what we expect from school, we want also to be able to teach skills. Students will cook themselves lunch once a week, with minimal assistance from staff. Focus group trials of this in the previous term really showed how young people have an aptitude for cooking and making things. Not to mention the delicious results!
So, the walls are painted, the displays are up, the folders of work are sitting eagerly waiting for students to work in. All that remains to be said is, after a terrific year at Positive about Young People we are anxious to see what this year has in store for students, staff and parents alike!
Good luck for the year!
Interested? Or want to be involved?
We are always looking for donations of equipment for craft and cooking activities. Or if you have a expertise in something and think that you could share this with young people then please get in touch with Catherine, by dropping an email (email@example.com).