Developing Healthy Minds in Teenagers

‘How to Thrive’(a unit of Hertfordshire County Council) is working with academics at the LSE to implement several programmes which use cognitive behavioural therapy to improve pupils’ wellbeing, resilience and motivation. The programmes run consecutively, each lasting 10-15 weeks, so that participating pupils take part in the project for four school years from Year 7 up to GCSE. The programmes take about one hour per week and replace schools’ current Personal, Social, and Health Education lessons.

Why are we funding it?

There is a great deal of evidence which suggests that non-cognitive skills are as important as cognitive skills in determining academic results, and that children from poorer backgrounds tend to have weaker non-cognitive skills than their better-off peers. A recent meta-analysis suggested that programmes aimed at promoting pupils’ resilience and wellbeing could have a significant impact on academic achievement. This project is therefore a promising solution to what appears to be a major problem for disadvantaged pupils.

How are we evaluating it?

A team from the National Institute for Economic and Social Research, led by David Wilkinson and Heather Rolfe, are evaluating this programme using a randomised controlled trial across thirty schools. The treatment schools began the programme in Year 7 in September 2013 and the control schools will begin the programme with Year 7 in September 2014. This means the Year 7 children in the control schools in 2013 will act as a permanent control group.

To view the project's evaluation protocol click here.

When will the evaluation report be due?

The evaluation report is due in Spring 2017.