Staff and pupils of Ballyclare High School with gratitude journals from the Itty Bitty Book Co

Ballyclare High School taking a mindful approach

Ballyclare High School is one of two schools in Northern Ireland that are involved in the Myriad trial funded by The Wellcome Trust. This trial involves a total of 84 schools across UK.

The primary aim of the trial is to evaluate the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of a mindfulness training (MT) programme to enhance mental health, wellbeing and social-emotional behavioural functioning in adolescence.

Nine staff members at Ballyclare High School have completed a personal eight- week MBCT (mindfulness based cognitive therapy) course to encourage staff to develop a routine of frequent mindfulness practice.

Four of these staff were then selected to become ‘.b’ trained teachers. This is a programme developed by the Mindfulness in Schools Project to teach secular mindfulness to teenagers with the aim of helping them to recognise worry, manage difficulties and cope with exams. By developing a more mindful awareness this helps young people to appreciate what is going well and helps them to flourish.

Ballyclare High School is currently delivering the .b programme to a number of Year 9 and 10 pupils.

Mrs Nikki Craig, Senior Teacher for Staff Development, Ballyclare High School explained why the school is taking part in the Myriad trial.

"At Ballyclare High School we understand that our pupils can only fulfil their academic potential if their wellbeing is also being cared for”, said Mrs Craig “We hope that by completing the .b course, the pupils will be provided with the skills to deal with times of difficulty, both inside and out of school as well as appreciate all of the positive things in their lives.”

As part of the work on mindfulness, Ballyclare High School has taken delivery of gratitude journals produced by the Itty Bitty Book Co.  These journals challenge you to focus on what you are grateful for on a daily basis and so promote a more positive mindset.

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Staff and pupils of Ballyclare High School take delivery of gratitude journals from the Itty Bitty Book Co as part of its work on mindfulness.