A BBC programme are to feature the unique Birkenhead Sixth Form College life-skills scheme, ‘BePART’, on Friday.
Hosted by Angela Rippon, ‘Health: Truth or Scare’ will air at 9:15am on Friday morning and will be highlighting ‘BePART’, which stands for being Positive, Ambitious, Resilient and Thoughtful. The BBC chose to film in the College as they are ‘exploring the devastating impact exam stress can have on teens, visiting a college that is leading the way in helping students cope with the most stressful time of year’.
Each new student at Birkenhead Sixth Form College goes through the bespoke six-week ‘BePART’ programme as part of their pastoral support, which includes sessions on the importance of sleep and diet, relaxation techniques and using gratitude to build resilience.
"Eating more healthily and being more aware of the importance of sleep has meant that I’ve gone from getting six hours sleep a night to eight."
Eleanor Adams, first year
Borne out of scientific evidence and research, Psychology teacher at Birkenhead Sixth Form College, Roy Owen, devised the programme with help from his colleagues in the department, and it has already received support from the Member of Parliament for Birkenhead, Frank Field.
The Labour MP, who has represented the constituency for nearly 40 years, said: “I’ve not seen anything like it before; it’s a real innovation.
“It’s a project that’s got legs and one that should be pursued. It’s brilliant that it’s actually started here in this College. Roy’s made a real case about the ‘size of the market’, to use that term, and that it’s actually growing.”
Students at the College have been reporting of measurable benefits after taking part in the programme, which is being supported by Liverpool John Moores University’s Faculty for Education, who are helping to analyse the results.
Seventeen-year-old Eleanor Adams said: “I’ve found it really therapeutic. It’s helped me with stress levels and eating habits – I’m much more aware of what I consume. I’ve struggled with anxiety before, especially around exam time, but this has made me take a step back and assess what I’m doing which makes things a lot easier and calmer.”
Eleanor highlighted that her sleeping habits have been measurably improved already, and what she found out from her fellow students about their lifestyles surprised her: “It’s been amazing to discover that some people my age are only getting four hours sleep a night or less, and not looking after themselves. Eating more healthily and being more aware of the importance of sleep has meant that I’ve gone from getting six hours sleep a night to eight.
“This kind of programme is so important. You may have the ability to get good grades but you’re never going to achieve that if you’re burnt out.”
‘BePART’ creator and psychology teacher, Roy Owen, 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.”