Innovative breathing techniques boosting the wellbeing of thousands of Notts pupils

11 July 2018

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Children at three Nottinghamshire schools are preparing to champion an innovative programme which helps them focus on their breathing to boost their resilience, health and wellbeing and learning.

The Take Five at School Programme organised by Nottinghamshire County Council in partnership with the independent not for profit organisation Each Amazing Breath CIC and communities in Worksop and Newark and Sherwood – has been a tremendous success since being piloted in 2015.

Around 8,000 pupils across the county have learnt the breathing techniques which bring calm to the classroom and help them build resilience.

On Friday morning at 11am, ten children from three schools in Bassetlaw will represent their peers and demonstrate these skills at an event in the Civic Suite at County Hall, meeting Councillor Stuart Wallace, Committee Chairman for Adult Social Care and Public Health, at the county council, and Chairman Councillor Mrs Sue Saddington.

Also in the audience will be Police and Crime Commissioner Paddy Tipping, members of Bassetlaw CCG and other partners from across the county with the ten pupils keen to promote their skills to decision makers in the hope that the scheme can be further extended to other areas of the county.

The children aged between 8 and 11 years old, from St Edmund Hillary Primary and Nursery School, Worksop Priory Church of England Primary Academy and Sparken Hill Primary Academy, will receive certificates for their work on the project.

Friday’s event has been funded by the county council, the Police and Crime Commissioner, the Fire Service and Nottinghamshire Community Foundation.

Project leaders say calmer breathing helps to control emotions and physical reactions to the external environment – with pupils learning how to focus on their breathing for up to five minutes before and after classes and assembly at school – and encouraging them to lead sessions in class and take the technique home to try with their families and friends.

Councillor Wallace said: “As a county council we have commissioned the Take Five project in a number of schools in the county and it has had a real impact in helping children to build their inner resilience. These are simple breathing techniques but they have a real benefit in all aspects of these children’s lives and we are looking forward to meeting these pupils as they demonstrate first-hand what they have learnt.”

A research study into the programme’s effects at two of the pilot schools - Worksop Priory CE Primary School and Sparken Hill Primary Academy - found the following benefits among pupils over a nine-week period have been reported:

· 88 per cent indicated a decrease in stress levels following the end of the nine week study

· 77 per cent of students reported an improvement in concentration levels

· 74 per cent indicated an increase in the level of calmness.

Phil Abbott, Headteacher, at Worksop Priory CE Primary School, said: “The Take Five concept is one that children find far easier to understand the benefits of than quite a few adults. This included myself in the early days. I think that from here the important factor in moving forward is that we give the children the opportunity to educate adults from their point of view, directly talking and sharing their experiences, so that decision makers and people in authority - or people who can help develop this plan further and more widespread - can truly see how children's lives have been impacted in a positive way.”

ENDS

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