Inclusion Matters 2016: Resilience

On Friday 25th November around 100 adults with an interest in education gathered at Gorton Monastery to consider what "Resilience" means for children and young people.

During the day we reflected upon the need to nurture our own wellbeing before we can look after others; considered the importance of enabling children to be active, curious and reflective learners; thought about the value of play and being outdoors; understanding the whole child, knowing that emotional needs must be met before learning can take place; and reminded ourselves of the necessity of developing resilience both in ourselves and in the young people we work with. 


We were proud to host the premiere of a specially commissioned film by the young film-maker Meg Houghton Gilmour. Starting with an exploration of ways in which media images affect children's levels of anxiety, the film shows us how the emotional curriculum in schools can support and sustain protective factors. This creative documentary features interviews with  teachers, parents and educational psychologists in the City of Manchester together with images of children working in Manchester schools, bringing a unique local, community focus to this work.

Morning sessions: Resilience and Personal Growth


Professor Nicola Whitton: The importance of failure - playful learning for all ages

[email protected]


Nicola illustrated the importance of learning to fail and how to reframe 'failure' as learning to succeed in 1000 tiny steps. 

One of our delegates captured the essence of Nicola's presentation in an inspiring blog: Impact of Failure

Nicola's presentation cannot be reduced to a single handout, but you can view edited highlights here....

Following on from her presentation, Nicola went on to facilitate a seminar discussion on "Providing opportunities for non-critical failure".

...and if you enjoyed this new approach, you might be interested in attending the Playful Learning conference in July at the Manchester Metropolitan University.


Mylene McGuire and colleagues from St Mary's RC Primary School: Learning to Learn - Growth Mindset in Practice

 "Two years ago as a Senior Leadership Team we read “ Growth Mindset” by American professor Dr Carol Dweck. This promoted discussion around the barriers to learning that some of our children experienced – often around developing resilience. We set up a small cross phase working party led by two Assistant Head Teachers, to trial approaches that would work for our pupils. The working party was intended to run for a year, but the impact on attitudes to learning in the classes where the approaches were tried was so evident that we moved quickly to whole school implementation. This is now embedded into all of our work including our behaviour system. In our Inclusion Quality Mark assessment visit in July 2016 the assessor commented that;

During the visit I was able to see the school at work and was able to experience the unique culture and ethos that is ingrained in everything that happens here. A Growth Mind-set approach to learning is embedded across the school from Nursery to year 6 to foster the growth of a 'can do' attitude for all learners"

In this popular seminar, Mylene and her colleagues shared the journey they have taken to ensure this approach is embedded in to the daily life of their school.

The conference presentation will be loaded onto the school website, so keep a look out for it here.

In the meantime, St Mary's have provided information about their bespoke 'Learning Powers' here.


Thaley Clough and colleagues from Broad Oak Primary School: Forest Crew - Our Saplings Bend But Don't Break"

This seminar provided information about how Broad Oak is using Forest Crew sessions as part of their universal offer for character education at Broad Oak Primary School. 

The presentation, and the accompanying film, are available on the school's website here: "Broad Oak's Forest Crew is famous!"

The school has also provided an article for the Parliamentary Review, that articulates how the Forest Crew provision enhances the curriculum offer at Broad Oak. You can read the full article here.


Dr Catherine Kelly: The Value of Play in Promoting Resilience

In another popular seminar, Dr Kelly reminded delegates of the importance of play in the early years in developing resilience, starting with this definition of a resilient child: "the child who works well, loves well and expects well, notwithstanding profound life adversity" (Werner and Smith, 1982).

You can view Catherine's presentation here, and a list of references here.


Linda Goodacre, Catriona Martin and Laura O’Grady: Building Resilience and Supporting Independence Using Social Stories and Talking Mats to Facilitate Inclusion for Children with Sensory Impairments

This practical presentation arose from work undertaken by Laura and Catriona as part of the accredited course “Applied Psychology in Education”. Laura and Catriona described how they have used Social Stories and Talking Mats in their practice as communication tools to help build resilience with children who have significant sensory impairments. Participants had an opportunity to consider, through discussion with experienced practitioners, how these tools and strategies can be used flexibly with children who experience a range of barriers to learning and participation.

Further information about Lancasterian Sensory Support Service can be found here.

Afternoon sessions: Resilience and Emotional Health and Well-Being

Zoe Woodworth: Five Ways to Well-Being

The morning seminars and presentations gave rise to the concept of 'ordinary magic' - raising our awareness that our own resilience is enhanced when we take care of our own well-being, but understanding that this does not have to be difficult or time-consuming. This theme was continued in the opening presentation for our afternoon session.

Zoe's presentation can be viewed here.

Additional resources:

Action for Happiness: Ten keys to happier living

Action for Happiness: Putting the science of well-being into practice

Rebecca Wright, Trainee Educational Psychologist, has written a reflective account of Zoe's presentation here.

Adrienne Green, Director of Nice Work Consulting Ltd.: Building Resilience to Maintain Mental Well-Being

In this short session Adrienne explored the nature of resilience, and presented the 2 key psychological drivers that undermine resilience. Once people understand why they sometimes lack resilience then they can work out how to interrupt those undermining psychological processes, and allow their resilience to grow.

Adrienne's presentation can be viewed here.

Additional information from Adrienne about the underlying causes of stress (and how to avoid it) can be found here.

Yvonne Monaghan, Head of Consultancy for the Nurture Group Network: Nurture and Resilience: How an understanding of the Nurture Principles can improve your own resilience along with your pupils

This seminar considered the Six Nurture Principles and how they can improve Resilience along with your teaching and learning skills.

Yvonne provided a great deal of information for delegates. Further information about the Nurture Group Network can be found on their website here.

Yvonne's presentation can be downloaded here.

Yvonne also provided a transition pack for young people moving from primary to secondary school. This has a focus on young people with developmental co-ordination disorder, and can be downloaded here.

Dr Paula Muir, Catalyst Psychology: How2Relate – understanding the psychology behind perpetrator prevention work for primary and secondary aged children aimed at reducing reduce relationship violence and abusive behaviour

How2Relate is an intervention under development that will target five core areas associated with reducing relationship violence perpetration. This seminar introduced the psychology and research behind why some children use violence and control within their early friendships and then teen relationships.  

Paula's presentation is available here.

Further information about the development of our pilot project is available from Paula: [email protected]

Zoe Woodworth, Mental Health Awareness Trainer, Charlie Waller Memorial Trust: Developing a Mental Health Policy for your school

In this seminar Zoe looked at an example policy and guidance and resources to help write an effective  positive Mental Health Policy for your school or college. Following the seminar, Zoe provided a number of additional resources to download:

Mental Health and Well-Being Policy: Example Policy and Guidance

Retaining Pupil Trust without Promising Confidentiality: Guidance for Staff

Preparing to Teach about Mental Health: PHSE Guidance for teachers

For employers: A Line Manager's Resource (Mental Health First Aid)

Mental Health conversation starter

Stress bucket

Developing a mentally healthy school: free training from the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust