Building resilience in learners

Sidmouth College will be working with six schools to deliver and evaluate a six-week course based on cognitive behaviour therapy principles to Year 7 pupils who have been identified as having low attendance, achievement, poor behaviour and attitude to learning. Their evaluation will test whether interventions are effective in improving pupils’ wellbeing and resilience so that they feel settled in the classroom and are ready to learn.

The challenge

When pupils do not have the coping strategies to deal with difficult emotions or times of stress and anxiety they will often avoid lessons. This, we know, has a significant impact on pupil outcomes so this research seeks to find a way of improving pupils’ ability to manage their emotions and remain in the classroom.

The innovation

My Big Life is a six-week course based on cognitive therapy principles. Each session lasts for one hour per week and is delivered as a life skills lesson to a class of 25.

Year 7 pupils will be scored based on being identified as having low attendance, achievement, poor behaviour and attitude to learning, and the 50 lowest scoring will be randomly allocated to either cohort 1 (LLTTF) or cohort 2 (no intervention).

Pre- and post-test data will be analysed to determine outcomes. Data will be taken using objective measures like the Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well-being Scale (WEMWBS), attendance, number of times exit cards are used, and time spent in student support.

Lead school

  • Sidmouth College

Schools involved

  • Honiton Community College
  • The Kings School, Ottery St Mary
  • Clyst Vale Community College
  • Axe Valley Community College
  • Holyrood Academy


  • 6 months – report due autumn 2017

Download the protocol document