The Mindfulness Foundation
Mindfulness in Schools - as important as sport and as politically relevant as health
12 February 2018
Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care hosts a webchat with a panel of experts on the Green Paper on Children and Young People’s Mental Health.
LORD RICHARD LAYARD, speaks on the issues: mindfulness, mentally healthy schools, wellbeing and resilience.
THE DUCHESS LAUNCHES HEADS TOGETHER’S NEW MENTAL HEALTH PROJECT FOR YOUNG CHILDREN
Today, 23 January The Duchess of Cambridge gave a speech at the launch of ' Mentally Healthy Schools' designed to help every primary school in England better support their pupil's mental wellbeing. It is a free & easy to use website for teachers, where they can find reliable & practical resources to help support their pupils' mental health. We will be piloting Mentally Healthy Schools in selected primary schools over 2018, and it will soon become available to all junior schools in England, expanding to Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland in due course. Visit www.headstogether.org.uk/schools to find out more.
BBC News: Can mindfulness improve pupils' concentration?
So can mindfulness meditation really help pupils concentrate amid the distractions of 21st Century living? A group of BBC School Reporters from Connaught School for Girls in Leytonstone, east London, decided to investigate for the project's 10th annual News Day.
Mind With Heart will be working with 400 teachers on mindfulness for staff wellbeing in 20 Australian schools... research components include cortisol tests and classroom observations... We have designed a new course called Reconnected to do this, using evidence-based tools to help teachers reduce stress and increase wellbeing through mindfulness and compassion. In October and November 2016, we trialled this new course in four schools in partnership with Teachers Health Fund, the Queensland and New South Wales’ Dept. of Education and the Learning Sciences Institute Australia,
25:40 "Treatment is only part of the answer. We must look at what more can be done to prevent mental health problems, and work with you to capitalise on the crucial role civil society has to play in helping young people – and indeed people of all ages – build resilience."
We know from the research "mindfulness" is a powerful contributor to "building resilience in children."
MYRIAD: Mindfulness and Resilience in Adolescence
This £6.4 million 7 year research programme, funded by the Wellcome Trust, is being carried out by teams at the University of Oxford, UCL (University College London) and the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, in collaboration with King’s College London and the University of Exeter.
In Health, it recommends expanding the opportunity for people who experience recurrent depression to take a course of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), as well as funding the training of competent teachers to deliver those courses.
In Education, it recommends designating schools to pioneer the further development of mindfulness training for teachers and young people.
In the Workplace, it urges government departments to take a lead by training their own staff in mindfulness, and encouraging examples of best practice and quality research.
And in the Criminal Justice System, it invites consideration to be given to offering mindfulness training to offenders with depression.
The Report is available here: www.themindfulnessinitiative.org.uk/mindful-nation-uk
Mindful Nation UK Launched in Parliament, 20th October 2015
"encourage the flourishing and wellbeing of a healthy nation."
"Mindfulness is one of the most promising prevention strategies."
Education Secretary Nicky Morgan, one of three ministers at the launch, supported the creation of an education policy that acknowledged the long term importance of wellbeing.
She said: "I want to make it very clear that of course academic achievement is important, but so too is turning out well-balanced young people who are able to fulfil all of their potential. I'm not just on this stage [saying this] as Secretary for Education, but also as a mother and also somebody who has had family experience of mental ill health. It's really a no brainer for me."
The All-Party Group’s recommendations are practical, based on a summary of existing evidence for mindfulness:
ACTION POINT 6. MEASUREMENT:
Schools should measure pupil wellbeing regularly. Schools need an ethos that promotes children’s wellbeing and identifies children who are languishing; but they should also devote at least an hour a week to education in life skills. Children and young people need to learn how to understand and manage their own emotions, understand others and care for them, manage their sexual relationships responsibly, eat and drink sensibly and avoid drugs, understand mental disorders and what can be done about them, understand parenting, manage their responses to modern media and choose positive life goals. There are now hundreds of programs that have been developed worldwide to address one or more of these issues. Many of these programs have been rigorously evaluated on the whole age cohort in a school and been found to produce good results, at least in the short run. This was the finding of Durlak et al that we quoted earlier,67 and it related to impacts in the first six months after the programs ended. But, in the few cases where children have been followed up over a longer period, the effects have often been found to fade over time and, in many cases, to disappear.68 This is not surprising given that the programs typically average 20 hours. We should also note that many quite famous programs have had at least one trial which found no effects.69
This leads to two important conclusions. First, if children are to develop good life skills, they need more than one or two 20-hour programs: they need a whole curriculum of life skills, at least once a week throughout the school life. As Aristotle observed, good habits are learned through interesting repetition in varying contexts. Second, this curriculum should be evidence-based and depend as little as possible on inspired improvisation by the teacher. It is universally found that the best results follow from using detailed materials accompanied by a good manual on how to use them and some explicit training of the teachers70 (this is not so different from what is needed for a good surgical operation.) And the best results always come from offering a positive vision rather than warnings about what not to do.
On Friday 25 September 2015 the United Nations marked its 70th anniversary with the largest gathering ever of world leaders Prime ministers, Presidents and the Pope in New York and launched the 2030 Global Goals SDG Agenda. With Global Goals London we are exploring the role of Mindfulness in the SDGs.