28 April 2011
UK resilience programme evaluation
Department for Education


There are increasing concerns about children’s well-being in the UK, their behaviour, and the low academic attainment of a large fraction of the population.1


The Every Child Matters agenda stressed schools’ potential and duty to promote pupils’ well-being. In September 2007, three local authorities (South Tyneside, Manchester and Hertfordshire) piloted a programme with Year 7 pupils in 22 of their schools, with the aim of building pupils’ resilience and promoting their well-being.

The Penn Resiliency Program Curriculum 

The Penn Resiliency Program (PRP), designed by our research team, is a group intervention for late elementary and middle school students. The curriculum teaches cognitive-behavioral and social problem-solving skills and is based in part on cognitive-behavioral theories of depression by Aaron Beck, Albert Ellis, and Martin Seligman (Abramson, Seligman, & Teasdale, 1978; Beck, 1967, 1976; Ellis, 1962).


Central to PRP is Ellis' Adversity-Consequences-Beliefs (ABC) model, the notion that our beliefs about events mediate their impact on our emotions and behavior. Through this model, students learn to detect inaccurate thoughts, to evaluate the accuracy of those thoughts, and to challenge negative beliefs by considering alternative interpretations. PRP also teaches a variety of strategies that can be used for solving problems and coping with difficult situations and emotions.


Students learn techniques for assertiveness, negotiation, decision-making, social problem-solving, and relaxation. The skills taught in the program can be applied to many contexts of life, including relationships with peers and family members as well as achievement in academics or other activities.