PHE launches Rise Above for Schools programme

New schools programme to equip young people with coping strategies for modern life.

Dynamic new resources for teachers will help build crucial life-skills for young people to boost their resilience and improve their mental health and wellbeing, as part of a new evidence-based programme for schools unveiled by Public Health England (PHE).

With around 1 in 5 young people experiencing cyberbullying and 1 in 3 reporting that their body was “too fat”, pupils aged between 11 and 16 will be taught how to cope with some of modern life’s most challenging issues, equipping young people with resilience skills that will help them throughout adulthood.

PHE has developed a series of new resources for secondary school teachers to use in their lesson plans as part of the Rise Above for Schools programme. The resources will help teachers to engage pupils with coping strategies about ‘traditional’ health issues, like smoking and alcohol, while also addressing some of the most challenging pressures young people face today in an ‘always on’ social media generation.

The 7 Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education (PSHE) lesson plans have been accredited by the PSHE Association and piloted with teachers, ensuring they are robust and of the highest quality. The resources include a range of techniques for teachers to employ to enable pupils to safely learn, explore and discuss coping strategies for dealing with issues, such as:

• bullying and cyberbullying
• alcohol use and smoking
• positive relationships and friendships
• exam stress
• online stress and social media
• body image in a digital world

The launch comes as new analysis by PHE shows that a supportive learning environment in schools, including good quality PSHE provision, is associated with improved health and wellbeing. Growing evidence also suggests that the skills and qualities acquired through PSHE have a significant impact on students’ academic achievement, employability and future life chances.

Launching Rise Above for Schools at PHE’s Annual Conference, Prof. John Newton, Director of Health Improvement at PHE said:

"As natives of the social media world, young people have to navigate a minefield of challenges while enjoying the benefits of technology.

"The new resources will help young people develop coping mechanisms and life-skills to deal with diverse challenges, from cyberbullying and exam stress to body image, in a digital world.

"Rise Above for Schools uses relevant content in creative ways, tapping into inspirational video from vloggers and YouTubers to get young people talking about the things that matter to them, helping build a foundation of healthy behaviours that last into adulthood."

Jenny Fox, PSHE Association Subject Specialist said:

"Young people today face a range of new pressures that can potentially harm their emotional and physical wellbeing. By addressing these key issues, resources from Rise Above for Schools support the important role PSHE education plays in helping young people to make positive, informed choices throughout their lives.

"The lesson plans provide opportunities for students to engage in active learning and to discuss and reflect upon the social and emotional aspects of issues they face on a daily basis. The lessons are consistently well matched to the needs of young people and enable them to demonstrate progress as their understanding and skills develop."

Rise Above for Schools is inspired by Rise Above, a youth campaign and online hub where young people find and share inspirational content.

Teachers can use the exclusive video content from well-known influencers and positive role models to facilitate open and informed conversations on a range of important issues.