Birkenhead Sixth Form College's life-skills programme, 'BePART', has been praised by a BBC report for tackling students’ stress levels ahead of the crucial exam period.
The unique scheme, which stands for being Positive, Ambitious, Resilient and Thoughtful, was devised by Psychology experts within the College staff and aims to help the mental health and wellbeing of their students through scientifically-proven methods and techniques.
The BBC’s ‘Health: Truth or Scare’ programme, hosted by Angela Rippon and Kevin Duala, investigated the growing concerns over teenage stress and some of the devastating health impacts that affect young people facing studying and exam pressure.
"It actually changed a lot in my life. I know now that if I’m stressed that I can go and calm myself down and then get back into the swing of things. It works at home but it’s the same with revision and exams too."
Ben Harding, first year
The College’s scheme was highlighted as ‘BePART’ is at the forefront of addressing stress-related problems at source and equipping the A Level students with tools to cope with the demands of both academic and home life.
The six-week programme includes sessions on using gratitude to build resilience, the importance of sleep and diet, and meditative relaxation techniques to help with calmness and focus.
'BePART' creator, Roy Owen, instructs a session on camera
Reporting from Birkenhead Sixth Form College after interviewing students, BBC presenter, Kevin Duala, said: “It was so lovely to meet the students and so refreshing to see their approach to exam pressure and for them to be so determined for it not to get the better of them.
"The College’s programme is clearly working."
Liverpool John Moores University’s Faculty of Education has been helping the College to analyse the results of the programme and give verified feedback to help the scheme evolve.
The LJMU report, led by Professor David Putwain, said: “BePART is an effective inclusive programme for supporting the emotional and physical wellbeing of students. Following participation in the programme students reported themselves to be more ready for the rigours of their academic studies, to deal with setbacks in a positive and constructive fashion, and able to effectively cope with the demands placed on them.”
First year, Ben Harding, 17, is among the A Level students reporting tangibly positive results from undertaking the programme and was interviewed by the BBC.
After initially being sceptical about taking part in a holistic scheme like ‘BePART’, Ben said: “It actually changed a lot in my life. I know now that if I’m stressed that I can go and calm myself down and then get back into the swing of things. It works at home but it’s the same with revision and exams too.”
Spearheading the creation of the ‘BePART’ programme was Birkenhead Sixth Form College psychology teacher, Roy Owen. Having had support from MP for Birkenhead, Frank Field, among others, Roy believes that ‘BePART’ could be implemented across the country in the future to help more teenagers in the fight against stress and poor mental health.
Roy said: “BePART is truly unique and only in its infancy, but we hope that people can recognise its importance in tackling an issue like mental health and wellbeing, that is only becoming more prevalent amongst young people. We’re putting ourselves at the forefront of that battle by actively addressing the problems and using carefully selected psychological methods to help combat those issues at the source, rather than leaving teenagers to fight them alone.”